US strategy in describing Taiwan Strait as an “international waterway”

2022/07/05 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online—Interview: An expert of the Presidential Studies Center stated that the American strategy regarding the issue of "One China" has changed, adding that "the United States has countered the policy of "One China" by calling the Taiwan Strait waterway international.

Hormoz Jafari in an interview with the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations pointed out China’s anger at this American action and the reasons for the decision of the United States to call the Taiwan Strait “international”, and noted that the United States is bipartisanly trying to define its policies in a way that challenges China’s progress and in this regard, it also uses Taiwan’s position to put pressure on Beijing. America’s desire is that if it cannot stop China’s progress, at least it can delay its competitiveness as a new pole in the structure of the international system.
He reminded that in all the national security documents of America and in the field of regulating relations with great powers, a special place has been considered for China.
The US seeks to give recognition to continental shelf waters for Taiwan
He said that what the US is looking for is the recognition of continental and international waters around Taiwan, and this policy is opposed to the “One China” policy, which considers Taiwan a part of China’s territory.
“Of course, China also pursues the issue of maritime border recognition which fully secures its interests, especially in the South China Sea, and puts pressure on China’s regional competitors in East Asia and international competitors.
Jafari pointed to the recent visit of the US President to East Asian countries and his emphasis on not surrendering on the issue of Taiwan and military intervention if needed, and added that although the White House adjusted these positions after that, the strategy of the US is to question the issue of “One China” which they had accepted before, and China is trying to emphasize on “One China”.
Stating that American, Canadian and British warships frequently pass through the Taiwan Strait, he clarified regarding the prospect of tensions in this region that “when we theoretically enter into the discussion of great power competition, we always see there is tension regarding the issue of power transfer in the structure of the international system.
“A new country wants to take power, exert influence, and demands a greater role and presence. In this situation, the former power tries to delay its increase in power to deal with it. These conditions cause tension, division and confrontation.”
China still wants to control tensions
This expert of the Center for Presidential Studies said that based on its foreign policy macro strategy, China tries to keep the areas of tension to a level that does not get out of control. Regarding Taiwan, the Chinese do not believe in the discussion of military conflict, and besides showing their critical positions and sometimes verbal threats, they move forward in such a way as to avoid military confrontation while achieving their goals.
Referring to the internal politics of Taiwan and the positions of the parties in this country in relation to China and the United States, Jafari said that in Taiwan, the “Progressive Democratic Party” follows the independence debate and the strategy of being on the western front led by the United States, but the Nationalist Party that is not in power does not agree with this policy.
“In fact, there are gaps in this regard in Taiwan as well, and the two main parties in this country, while believing in interaction with China, do not want confrontation; However, America is trying to use this opportunity to put more pressure on China”.
He explained that if the “One China” policy is implemented, in particular, the power of naval maneuvers for the US and its allies in that part of the world will be greatly weakened. This region is of strategic importance for the US, and this part of the world, based on power equations, in terms of military, economic and even population power, will shape and determine the structure of the coming century.
Jafari emphasized that the US knows that if it backs down on the issue of Taiwan and the policy of pressure on China in East Asia, its allies in this region will hesitate towards the seriousness of the United States of America and adjust their policies. In this situation, the United States is worried that its historical allies will gradually turn towards China and the influence of the United States in that region will be affected. For this reason, they try to put pressure on China in different ways. At the same time, they know that if they cross a border, a military conflict may arise and China will not shy away from its red lines.
This expert of US affairs reminded that the US is also aware of the fact that China’s situation is not the same as that of Russia. China is a country with a GDP of 17 trillion dollars and a large economy. It has more economic, population and diplomatic power compared to Russia and cannot be easily confronted. Sanctions imposed on Russia cannot be easily implemented on China. Therefore, what the US pursues in relation to Taiwan and its strait waterway is more pressure and playing cards.
Stating that historically, Taiwan is undoubtedly a part of China, regarding the possibility of taking advantage of border disputes and creating a proxy conflict by the US around China with the aim of involving this country, he said that it seems that none of the parties is going towards this option because all sides realize the terrible costs of this conflict. For the countries of the region, the costs of a possible conflict with a country that is a world superpower that also has nuclear power are already clear. So these tensions are managed, but they try to limit China’s power as much as possible and not allow further influence.

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