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US National Defense Authorization Act undermines China-US strategic mutual trust

( Source: China Military  )         2016-December-28 16:58

BEIJING, Dec. 28 (ChinaMil) -- The US President Barack Obama on December 23 signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. By raising the levels of military exchanges between the US and China’s Taiwan Province, thus opening a window to facilitate their military cooperation, the Act severely violates the spirit of the three China-US joint communiques, runs counter to the one-China principle and undermines China-US strategic mutual trust.

The one-China principle is a prerequisite for the normalization of China-US relations, as well as the core content of the three China-US joint communiqués. It has laid the foundation for maintaining a healthy and stable development of the China-US ties, which have witnessed significant changes since the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries more than 40 years ago.

In 2015, bilateral trade neared $560 billion, while the two countries established more than 90 high-ranking dialogue mechanisms, cemented 46 friendly partnerships at provincial (prefectural) level and 212 at city level, and registered personal exchanges involving 4.75 million people.

The Taiwan issue is the most important and sensitive issue that will have an impact on the China-US relations. The moves pushed by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 to raise military exchange levels between the US and Taiwan are detrimental to the one-China principle, which serves as the political foundation of the China-US ties, and will hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.

For a long time after the founding of New China, there always has been this consensus concerning the one-China principle, with both sides recognizing that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China, despite political differences across the Straits. Such consensus has helped maintain long-term peace and stability in cross-Straits ties.

Facts showed that, when the Taiwan authority recognized the one-China principle, the cross-Straits ties would see constant improvement and development, bringing huge benefits to the Taiwan people, and that, in contrast, when it ran counter to the one-China principle and advocated “one country on each side”, "one China, two governments" or “secession and independent governance”, the cross-strait ties would experience tension and instability.

The Taiwan question concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and involves China’s core interests. In March 2005, China's National People’s Congress passed the Anti-Secession Law, which proclaimed that China shall never allow the "Taiwan independence" separatist forces to split Taiwan from China under any name or by any means.

The US National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 blatantly breaches the well-established framework of US-Taiwan relations in the form of law, which renders support to the "Taiwan independence" separatist forces and will harm regional peace and stability. Such a “playing-with-fire” Act is destined to be strongly opposed by the Chinese people and shoot itself in the foot.

As Confucius said, “I do not know how a man without truthfulness is to get on.” The US government has made promises concerning the Taiwan issue to the Chinese government and the Chinese people. Regretfully, it has repeatedly failed to honor its own words.

Soon after the establishment of diplomatic ties with China, the US adopted the Taiwan Relations Act, which hampers the development of China-US relations as it violates the spirit of the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and interferes in China's internal affairs.

Moreover, the US has used it as an excuse for continued arms sales to Taiwan on a large scale. On August 17, 2016, the two countries issued a joint communique on gradually resolving the issue of US arms sales to Taiwan.

In the communique, the US states that “it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, that its arms sales to Taiwan will not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those supplied in recent years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, and that it intends gradually to reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution”.

However, the US has repeatedly breached its promise and continued to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan, resulting in suspension of China-US military contacts several times. The US should understand that failing to honor its own words would eventually damage its international image and compromise its own reputation.

Over the past more than four decades, the China-US relations has been like a giant ship sailing on rough seas. Despite ups and downs, it has kept going all the time. The development of China-US relations has given a boost to peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region and even the whole world, and also brought tangible benefits to people of the two countries.

Currently, the China-US relations is at the intersection of new strategies, and the two countries’ leaders need to make a rational choice between adhering to the principles of “no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation” and provoking sensitive issues between China and the US.

We hope that the US will rein in at the brink of the precipice and avoid going farther and farther down the wrong path.

The authors are Zhao Xiaozhuo and Ge Jun at the China-US Defense Relations Research Center under the Academy of Military Sciences of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

Editor :  Yao Jianing