U.S. Set to Step on China’s Red Line

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 was signed by U.S. President Donald Trump. The act includes several Taiwan-related clauses which aim to strengthen the so-called “Taiwan’s security”, promote Taiwan-U.S. exchanges.

By Wang Wei

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 was signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on August 13, and the historically large national defense budget worth $716 trillion has evoked widespread uproar both at home and the world over. The budget includes a comprehensive upgrading of U.S. military personnel, weapons and military supplies of all armed forces, with the intent of securing the preemptive capability of military strikes.

The act also includes several Taiwan-related clauses which aim to strengthen the so-called “Taiwan’s security”, promote Taiwan-U.S. exchanges, including those between senior defense officials and military generals, and seek opportunities to preform combat trainings and military exercises with Taiwan. These clauses undoubtedly challenge China’s One China principle.

Seen from China’s perspectives, this act is consistent with the U.S. longstanding “China Threat” mentality. However, the United States sees it as a strategic move to tackle China’s constantly improving military capability. Hence, the United States deems it is necessary to develop an overall strategy to confront the Chinese government, which includes giving approval to its Department of Defense to plan and provide military forces, military infrastructure and logistics to this region. The United States also intends to perform joint military exercises and enhance cooperation in security in Japan, Australia and India to confront the growing influence of China in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia, and other regions.

A Manifestation of Cold War Mentality

This act is no accident; it is a manifestation of the U.S. long-term strategic mentality. Its root can be traced back to the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act, which was actively promoted by some congressmen in 1999 but never passed into law. This act was proposed during the Taiwan Strait crisis by some pro-Taiwan senators who considered that mainland China’s rapid growing military forces tilted the military balance in the region and posed great threats to Taiwan’s security; and since the Taiwan Relations Act approved in 1979 could not safeguard Taiwan any longer, they argued, the United States needed to enhance Taiwan’s military capabilities. In light of these factors, the enhancement act stipulates the upgrading of weaponry sold to Taiwan and arms sales by administrative departments in the United States. It also contemplates establishing direct military communication lines and official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan. Even though this act was passed by the House of Representatives, it was never approved by the Senate, thus it never became law. However, this case sufficiently exemplifies the strategic mentality of a political power grouping in the United States. Twenty years have passed, this political clique never died; it has been constantly pushing forward its strategies. And consequently, the United States governments sell arms to Taiwan as before, upgrading the level of arms sale and sending senior officials to visit Taiwan, which has used Taiwan as a tool to impede China’s progress of promoting its One China policy and reaching the goal of peaceful unification.

Δ Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen arrives at the intercontinental hotel in Los Angeles at noon local time on Aug. 12. Many overseas Chinese outside the hotel carried the national flag of the People’s Republic of China and banners, chanted slogans against Tsai for “Independence of Taiwan”.

China Ready to Fight Back Against Attacks on Its Sovereignty 

Trump has targeted nearly everything since he took office. He has even specified China as a strategic rival and imposed restrictions on China’s economy and military. During the U.S.-waged trade war this year, the United States has been trying to bargain for Chinese concessions on its trade retaliation on US productsby strengthening military menace. This is just what U.S. anti-China forces want. Thus, we can see a series of actions by the United States to constrain China over these past two years,including the passage of the U.S. Defense Budget for Fiscal Year 2018 which underlines the need to enhance Taiwan’s military defense capabilities and strengthen trainings for Taiwan military forces, the passage of the Taiwan Travel Act in March this year which laid the legal basis for exchanges between U.S. and Taiwan senior officials, and now the passage of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2019, which further emphasized the need to support Taiwan’s military.

Δ Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen arrived in Los Angeles at noon local time on August 12. Mojian (first from right), President of “American association in Taiwan”, and Gao Shuotai (second from right), President of “Taiwan’s representative to the United States”, boarded the plane to greet her.

No matter who is in the White House, the United States has never stopped constraining China, which has always been a vital strategy on U.S. military and diplomacy. Hence it is not surprising that the incumbent Trump can’t wait to sign acts above. In order to constrain China on all fronts, it is inevitable that the United States will keep provoking China by stepping on its red line – the One China policy. And now Trump’s administration is ready to continue this trend. The recent U.S. bombers flying near the airspace over Taiwan waters was a provocation against China and an attempt to test mainland China’s attitude. Other information leaked by foreign media, including sending aircraft carriers to cruise the Taiwan Strait, show more of the same intention.

China should have a response plan toward U.S. provocations to its One China principle, and it should be ready to counter if military communication between the United States and Taiwan really happens. This is no longer a possibility only, it could take place at any time. Hence China should make military preparations and fight back any possible provocative acts against the integrity of China’s sovereignty and territory.

China has always upheld world peace and promoted global and regional stability. It hopes to reach national unification in a peaceful way. However, if the US steps on the red line of One China Policy, China will not hesitate to take all necessary measures, including measures by force, to depend China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.


By Wang Wei, professor of Department of Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs Management of China Foreign Affairs University

Editors: Zheng Nan, Cai Hairuo

Intern Editor: Yang Ruoxi

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China Focus