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PLA shows determination in opposing Biden's double-dealing trick of sending 'close friends' to Taiwan

Global Times

PLA determined to oppose Biden's cross-Straits meddling

By Wang Qi and Liu Xuanzun Published: Apr 15, 2021 10:48 PM

While the US and the island of Taiwan attempt to expand the "grey zone" of their "diplomatic ties" through an unofficial visit by Joe Biden's "close friends," including two former deputy secretaries of state, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) responded with a live-fire exercise on the southwest waters of the Taiwan Straits.

As the secessionist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gloats about the warming "relations" with the Biden administration from the visit, some analysts in their opinion pieces described cross-Straits military activities with terms like "the Sarajevo of Asia," in a sense comparing the current tense situation to the incident which sparked World War I.

From Thursday to Tuesday, live-fire exercises are scheduled in a maritime area around the Nanpeng Islands in the South China Sea, the Maritime Safety Administration of South China's Guangdong Province announced in a navigation restriction notice on Wednesday. According to the coordinates released with the notice, the exercise zone is a square-shaped sea area covering several islands off Guangdong's coastal city of Shantou.

The media in the island of Taiwan described the meeting between a US delegation and Tsai Ing-wen, leader of DPP on the island, on Thursday morning as rock-solid support and expressed hopes to have deeper cooperation on a supply chain, technology, trade and safeguarding stability and peace in the Indo-Pacific region with the US and others who share the same values.

Also on Thursday, US climate envoy John Kerry meets his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua in Shanghai, and experts described the move as the US' double-dealing tricks to gain maximum interests.

Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that in response to the pressure from US hawks who oppose cooperation with China, Biden sent delegations to both Shanghai and Taipei at almost the same time, appeasing the island of Taiwan and giving Chinese mainland leverage.

As for the regional security and stability call from Tsai, some analysts viewed it as a signal to Japan, whose prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, will meet Joe Biden on Friday, with Taiwan anticipated to be a major agenda, according to an AP report.

After the "unofficial visit," Biden's "close friends" are expected to send a message to him before the US president's talking with Suga, Diao said, noting that former deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg are veterans in Asia-Pacific affairs.

Asian studies think tank Project 2049 Institute, in which Armitage served as senior chairman until January 2020, was sponsored by Taiwan's defense authorities, the Taipei Economic and Culture representative office in the US, as well as some Japanese institutions, Diao said.

Experts, though, say a breakthrough is unlikely on an FTA between the island of Taiwanese and the US. A virtual semiconductor summit participated by Biden on Monday emphasized the status of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

The US' so-called democratic strategy was manifested in the economy and supply chain, in which Taiwan is expected to assist the US, Diao said, following media reports Wednesday that TSMC had suspended new orders from a Tianjin-based company.

As for the US, the island of Taiwan can still play a role in hyping regional issues such as the South China Sea and cross-Straits relations, and to let other countries increase doubts about the Chinese mainland, Diao said.

Chiu Yi, a former "lawmaker" in Taiwan and a Taiwan-based pro-reunification scholar, told the Global Times on Thursday that while the US and its allies have tried to expand the diplomatic "gray zone" with Taiwan, the PLA has improved its combat capabilities by conducting responsive combat drills and encircled the island.

Besides Thursday's exercise, another round of live-fire exercises started on Wednesday and will last until Saturday in coastal waters off Shanwei, Guangdong, Guangdong's Maritime Safety Administration said in a separate navigation restriction notice on Tuesday.

A Taipei-based news outlet said on Wednesday that while the two PLA exercises remain in the coastal regions of Guangdong, they are close to the southern end of the Taiwan Straits.

Both exercise areas include islands and beaches, according to the maritime safety administration notices, so an amphibious assault and landing could be featured, analysts predicted.

The Chinese mainland is also holding multiple military exercises in other major sea areas, including waters west of Leizhou Peninsula in the South China Sea, in the Bohai Bay as well as in the northern part of the Yellow Sea, according to the website of the Maritime Safety Administration.

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