Photo taken from Xiangshan Mountain shows the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan, July 21, 2019. /Xinhua
Editor's note: Keith Lamb is a University of Oxford graduate with a Master of Science in Contemporary Chinese Studies. His research interests are China's international relations and "socialism with Chinese characteristics." The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
Let us be clear, the Taiwan region is lawfully part of China as recognized by the UN and all major powers, including the UK and the U.S. Due to historical meddling, the Taiwan region, much like Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, has a "separate" system. Nevertheless, the tide of history is moving in the direction of unity under terms decided by those on both sides of the Taiwan Straits - not outside powers.
Considering the inequity of Britain's historical carving up of China, juxtaposed with a current rising China, which represents the hopes of a global democratic multipolar order, it is a tragedy to see the former British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, supporting Taiwan separatism with her visit to Taiwan.
Truss represents a failed politician that is supporting a cause that can only fail. As the shortest-serving Prime Minister in UK history, she is widely blamed for bringing Britain to the brink of a recession. The Guardian blamed the spiralling pound under Truss' watch, which hit an all-time low to the dollar, due to her "radical economic agenda" which favored tax cuts for the rich.
Truss' class war now continues on the international stage. Enthralled by neo-colonial ideology, Truss has described Taiwan as "an enduring rebuke to totalitarianism." Here, she sees systems which don't conform to the West's totalitarian definition of democracy as ripe for attack. Never mind that the fruits of China's system have led to unprecedented democratic outcomes, such as the elimination of extreme poverty. As long as China doesn't have a Western-style democracy, where parties and politicians can be bought, Truss will describe that system as "totalitarian."
While we're on the subject of democracy for sale, Truss, who was never voted in by a general election, is being paid handsomely for her anti-China speech. Truss, like Mike Pompeo, who reportedly took $150,000 for his speech in the Taiwan region, provoked China's red line all in the name of earning a buck and trying to stay relevant. A journalist in Taipei, Andy Lee, has reported that the Prospect Foundation, made up of Taiwan separatists, is paying for Truss's trip and speech, for which she will probably be paid tens of thousands of dollars.
Former Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers address to the nation outside 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, September 6, 2022. /Xinhua
Attempts at "Taiwan independence" will only fail in the long run. Despite the well-funded media war against the people in the Taiwan region, serviced by the likes of the Prospect Foundation, the majority of Taiwan residents people do not support independence. A Taipei Times poll, in 2021, found that a mere 7 percent supported independence while 85 percent supported the status quo.
The Taiwan region is dependent on the Chinese mainland for trade and will remain so. This makes independence a fools wish. In 2022, 42 percent of the Taiwan region's exports went to the Chinese mainland. There are hundreds of thousands of people from the Taiwan region working on the Chinese mainland and the cultural and family bonds cannot be broken. China's continued success will only diminish independence forces - hence the desperate push now to invite even failed politicians to a nonsensical cause.
Truss will have no effect on the Chinese mainland either. Beijing will not be lectured to by what is considered by many, including the British public, a failed British Prime Minister on democracy or anything else. Truss' rhetoric of standing with people in the Taiwan region and casting it as a bastion of democracy is merely window dressing for neo-colonial hegemonic interests which are on the wane.
The neo-colonialism we have today is one where the former European colonial powers are now colonized by the U.S. Many European states, some of which host the U.S. military, have no independent foreign policy. This means they have no democracy as they must march in lockstep with U.S. interests which has sparked a war in Europe and seeks to do the same in Asia. Truss is representative of this U.S. imperial mission.
Truss' visit at best will be destabilizing and at worst could be another step on the path to igniting a hot war as the U.S. seeks to undermine the development of the whole of Asia by sparking a conflict between the Chinese mainland and the Taiwan region. This would undermine the years of integration across the Taiwan Straits that has enriched both sides and scupper peaceful reunification, which is in the interests of China and the world.
Should war break out, the consequences for the world, the Chinese mainland, and the Taiwan region would be dire. The global economy would nosedive and with escalation there risks the possibility of nuclear war.
Considering the revelations about the Nord Stream pipeline, the U.S. would probably make good on Robert O'Brien's, the national security advisor in the Trump administration, words that the U.S. would destroy the Taiwan region's semiconductor factories, meaning humanity would be at a loss for many of the basic chips that make modern life possible. Such terrorist activities, real and potential, obviously raise questions about who the world needs greater independence from.
Coincidently, according to Al Mayadeen, the Nord Stream terrorist attack happened on Truss' watch and some believe her "it's done" text to Antony Blinken implies she was in on it. So much for democracy! If Truss cares about democracy, she should be fighting for British "independence" from the U.S. rather than being concerned with matters on the other side of the world that have nothing to do with her.
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