I hear that the Chinese are going to add the image of Antony Blinken to the dictionary definition of “Kow Tow.” He went to Beijing, hat in hand, and received a less than warm welcome. The term, “frosty” comes to mind. Blinken and his Chinese hosts engaged in a one-sided “frank exchange of views” (i.e., a phrase used by diplomats to describe a tense, angry conversation). The Chinese delivered and Blinken ended up saying what the Chinese demanded he say — “the U.S. does not support Taiwan Independence.”
I find it a bit hilarious. Blinken simply restated the One China Policy negotiated and implemented by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger 51 years ago. What Blinken said has been the cornerstone of U.S. policy towards China for decades. But that is not how it was received back home in America.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised eyebrows Monday, telling reporters the US “does not support Taiwan independence” after meeting in Beijing with officials including Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Blinken’s statement ruffled the feathers of many Republicans in Congress, who viewed the statement – and the secretary’s inability to re-establish military-to-military communications – as an inappropriate kowtow to America’s greatest adversary.
“Blinken flew to Communist China to appease Xi Jinping and state the Biden administration does not support Taiwan’s independence,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said on Twitter. “Why won’t this administration stand up to bullies and stand for freedom?”
So here is the situation — Blinken reaffirms the longstanding U.S. policy towards China and is attacked as a spineless shill caving to unreasonable demands by the Government of China. I feel some sympathy for Blinken (not much, just a tad), but it is his fault and the fault of the Biden Administration that Antony had to do a diplomatic back flip to try to reverse more than a year of comments referring to China as an “enemy” and Biden’s public promise to send U.S. troops to defend Taiwan.
China was firm about what it wanted from the Biden Administration. This is a portion of what the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs released in the aftermath of the meeting:
Wang Yi said that Mr. Secretary of State’s visit to Beijing this time comes at a critical juncture in Sino-US relations, and it is necessary to make a choice between dialogue or confrontation, cooperation or conflict. History always moves forward, and China-US relations will eventually move forward. There is no way out to turn back the wheel of history, and it is even less advisable to start over. With an attitude of being responsible to the people, history, and the world, we must reverse the downward spiral of Sino-US relations, push for a return to a healthy and stable track, and work together to find a correct way for China and the United States to get along in the new era.
Wang Yi emphasized that the trough in Sino-US relations is rooted in the US’s erroneous perception of China, which leads to wrong policies towards China. Sino-US relations have experienced ups and downs, and it is necessary for the US to reflect deeply and work with China to jointly manage differences and avoid strategic surprises. In order for Sino-US relations to stop falling and stabilize, the top priority is to truly implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state. For China-U.S. relations to be stable and long-term, the most important thing is to follow the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping. . . .
Wang Yi asked the US side to stop hyping up the “China threat theory”, lift illegal unilateral sanctions against China, stop suppressing China’s technological development, and refrain from wantonly interfering in China’s internal affairs. Wang Yi focused on analyzing the essence of the Taiwan issue, emphasizing that safeguarding national unity will always be the core of China’s core interests, it is the fate of all Chinese people, and it is the unswerving historical mission of the Communist Party of China. On this issue, China has no room for compromise. The US side must truly adhere to the one-China principle set out in the three Sino-US joint communiqués, respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and clearly oppose “Taiwan independence”.
No warm fuzzies from Beijing in this message. It is a very typical Chinese ultimatum — I say typical because it is presented very calmly, no hyperbole but very direct. China left Blinken with two choices — reaffirm the One China Policy or prepare for a rupture in relations.
The Chinese are in no rush to let the Biden Administration off the hook. Their refusal to re-establish military – to – military communications signaled China’s intention to wait and see if Blinken and the rest of the Biden national security team cool their rhetoric and embrace the One China Policy.
The big problem facing Biden and his team of buffoons is that they helped poison the America political waters with toxic rhetoric portraying China as a primary enemy of the U.S. during the last two years and must now find an anti-dote to that venom. I do not think it is possible for them to extricate themselves from this corner. Biden and Blinken painted themselves into an inescapable place and anything they do to reverse course will be attacked as weakness and cowardice by many American politicians and citizens.
Things are likely to heat up in the coming weeks and Biden will face growing pressure to throw Blinken under the bus. The Wall Street journal, citing current and former U.S. officials, reports:
China and Cuba are in talks to set up a joint military training center on the island, which means the Chinese military could be on America’s doorstep.
U.S. alleged outrage over this move by China conveniently ignores the fact that the U.S. provoked this by sending U.S. military trainers to Taiwan:
The US government has sent around 200 soldiers to Taiwan to provide military training amid increasing tensions with China, according to a report by Taiwan News. . . . A majority of the troops sent to Taipei are from the US Army and currently stationed at new training centers and reserve brigades of the Taiwanese Armed Forces.
Beijing is sending Washington a blunt message — anything you can do we can do better. When it comes to “tit-for-tat” China knows how to play hardball.
The choice America faces is stark and simple — accept the One China Policy or prepare for a war with China. There is no middle ground. I never thought I would find myself longing to have someone like Richard Nixon back in charge. Despite his tarnished Presidency, he intelligently understood that going to war with China is a recipe for national disaster.