The Island of bad Luck
Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The visit of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan may be a turning point in Sino-American relations So, Pelosi went to Taiwan. Now many commentators are puzzling over why this visit was needed. As it turns out, there is no use from him to Taiwan: no additional weapons, no money, only moral support for the so-called "independence". At first glance, the visit was intended primarily for domestic consumption: on the eve of the midterm congressional elections, to correct the image of the Democratic Party. Also– to show the allies, and the whole world, that the United States is still "doing what they want", despite the risks, warnings and persuasions. A kind of gesture of a decrepit ruler, striving to retain power by any means. Of course, Washington would very much like to provoke China into a war with its blood brothers on the other side of the Taiwan Strait, which would undermine the image of the PRC as a peacemaker offering the world a negotiated solution to problems and the concept of a "common destiny of mankind." However, it is unlikely that the US secret services, the defense department and analysts have weakened so much that they do not calculate that China will not succumb to provocation. The Americans cannot fail to calculate how sensitive the Taiwan issue is for the Chinese and what a slap in the face they are inflicting on the leadership of the PRC, with whom, as follows from official statements, they would like to maintain stable, business relations. But, apparently, this staged provocation has much more far-reaching plans. Washington's childish references to the separation of powers should not be taken seriously: the visit was long and carefully planned with the participation of President Biden, who, as Commander-in-chief, of course, could have stopped it. Apparently, the White House and the surrounding area decided that it was time for more decisive action in the Chinese direction. Judging by Beijing's first reaction, it can be assumed that the visit will be a watershed in Sino-American relations: before and after. Actually, it was clear before that the separation of these two superpowers is inevitable and will precede their clash in one form or another. There was only one question– when? All of Beijing's policies and official statements were aimed at at least delaying this process, and at most – to carry out as much as possible with the least possible losses. And Americans see their interest in the opposite. For them, conflicts are a way to maintain their global dominance, and a conflict involving China also allows them to create problems for their main competitor. Ideally, another "proxy war". But if it doesn't work out, then there is a global divorce and a hybrid war in all directions. And where the curve of confrontation will steer. A hot war will also do, because, from Washington's point of view, we are talking about world domination, including an American-centric system of peace built on the power of the dollar and American bayonets. Putting a billion or two lives on the line is worth it. According to the idea of the United States, if there is a conflict, the sooner the better, until China has turned into such a dragon that even American superheroes cannot cope with. And so Biden decided to start first. Strictly speaking, the first was Trump, who unleashed a trade and economic war with China. Biden transferred it to the military-political and ideological plane. Judging by the signals from Beijing, there are no illusions left about Washington's sincerity and the correspondence of his words and real policy. This is evidenced by the consistency of the statements of various Chinese departments and their tone. "This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three Sino-American joint communiques, a serious undermining of the political foundation of Sino-American relations, a gross encroachment on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, which will harm peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait area, sends a purely erroneous signal to separatist forces advocating the so-called "Taiwan independence", – said the Chinese Foreign Ministry. And here is what is said in the official statement of the Office for International Affairs of the CPC Central Committee: "The attempt of separatist forces to achieve "Taiwan independence" is the biggest obstacle to the reunification of the Motherland and a serious potential danger to the revival of the Chinese nation. The administration of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) stubbornly defends the erroneous position aimed at "Taiwan independence", voluntarily serves as an instrument of anti-Chinese forces in the United States to contain China and even more brazenly commits provocations in an effort to achieve "independence". This is an absolutely incorrect judgment about the situation and a miscalculation in its relation. In its selfish interests, this administration stubbornly defies the "one China" principle, refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus, foments confrontation between both sides of the Taiwan Strait, fixating on achieving so-called "independence" based on the United States. The actions of the DPP administration aimed at achieving "Taiwan independence" and its collusion with the United States, betraying China's national interests, will only plunge Taiwan into the abyss of disasters and bring deep suffering to Taiwanese compatriots. The reunification of the Motherland and the great revival of the Chinese nation have entered an irreversible historical process. The motherland must be and will certainly be reunited." Just a few days before Pelosi's visit, Biden once again swore to Xi Jinping in a telephone conversation that he was committed to the "one China" policy. But the visit itself showed the opposite. In fact, Pelosi visited one of the provinces of China without Beijing's knowledge, and this is about the same as if Vladimir Putin, without Washington's consent, came to the American Indians demanding the return of their ancestral lands. Now the Taiwanese are not to be envied. They and their desire for American democracy will become a bargaining chip and a starting point in this disengagement. It is on them that Beijing's anger will be primarily directed. "The People's Liberation Army of China, being on high alert, will take a number of targeted military actions to counteract this, will resolutely defend state sovereignty and territorial integrity, resolutely prevent interference by external forces and attempts by separatist forces advocating "Taiwan independence," the official representative of the Ministry of Defense of China said. Since August 3, a large-scale battle has unfolded around Taiwan, so far a training one: the People's Liberation Army of China is conducting maneuvers, the scenario of which is very similar to a naval and air blockade. Chinese warships, including aircraft carriers, practice combat maneuvers near the Taiwanese coast, and combat aircraft patrol in Taiwan's air defense zone. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi canceled scheduled talks with his Japanese counterpart because of Japan's position on Taiwan. And these are just the first flashes of this battle. Against this background, hardly anyone paid serious attention to the message that, as a first step of influencing separatist forces in Taiwan, the PRC banned the supply of ordinary fossil sand to the rebellious island. Despite its apparent simplicity, this news shows how serious the consequences of the visit are and how firm Beijing's intentions are. After all, 90% of the sand, without which the entire construction industry will stand up, is supplied to Taiwan, as well as to Hong Kong and Macau, from mainland China. There is no concrete without sand, and without concrete you cannot build high-rise buildings that prevail on an island with a population of 23 million people, an area equal to one of our small regions. But this is not as painful as the possible shutdown of the famous Taiwanese semiconductor industry, which provides almost half the world with its products. After all, the basis of semiconductors is silicon, which is also extracted from ordinary sand. And fiber optic cables and many other things that can not do without silicon. Of course, sand can be brought, for example, from the USA, if there is no blockade of the island. But then the sand will become golden, and semiconductors are even more expensive… And this is just the beginning. The total trade turnover of China with Taiwan is about 380 million US dollars, twice as much as with Russia. There are thousands of Taiwanese companies operating in China, using cheaper Chinese labor and China's simplified tax regimes. For many years, China has been building close economic ties with the island, hoping thus to return Taiwan "to the bosom of the motherland." But now that it has become clear that, despite all the warnings, Taipei likes American democracy, which, in fact, offers nothing but war with the mainland, the Taiwanese will have to overestimate the benefits of ties with the PRC, and perhaps find out their real cost. Author: Mikhail Morozov, columnist of the newspaper "Trud"