The USS Kidd guided missile destroyer and the USCGC Munro cutter made a transit in the Taiwan Straits on Friday, the eighth time the US has sent warships through the Taiwan Straits this year. On the same day, the PLA held multiple military exercises on both sides of the Straits.
The two pieces of news, juxtaposed together, present a tit-for-tat picture. For quite some time in the future, there will be repeated demonstrations of military power from the US and China in the Taiwan Straits.
Some netizens asked why don’t just fight directly? But that’s not how the big power game is played.
Theoretically, anyone can pass through the Taiwan Straits, an international waterway. However, the warships passing through it carry strong geopolitical significance. It is the US’ intention to embolden the DPP authorities and other Taiwan secessionist forces by sending warships through the Taiwan Straits: Don’t be afraid! You got your Daddy America behind you! In the meantime, it also sends a signal to the mainland: Don’t bet that the US will sit idle if the mainland liberates Taiwan by force.
But with the mainland’s military capability growing at a “choking” pace, the signal sent by the US is losing its effect.
Through conducting regular combat scenario drills in the cross-Straits region, and via close monitoring, expelling the US warships and warplanes that come near, the PLA is displaying its contempt against the tricks of the US military, as well as showing our determination that we will stick to our plan and principle to solve the Taiwan question, and if US military participates in a war, they will be annihilated.
Major powers don’t easily become involved in a war, instead, they usually make gestures this way, behind which is a comparison of the countries’ comprehensive national strength. In the Taiwan-Straits and the South China Sea, the US is gradually losing its momentum and confidence to flex its military muscle in front of China. It now needs to rope in its allies to boost its stance.
With time passing by, China’s military readiness will further improve, which shows more deterrence against the US. In the end, it will be the US side which cannot sustain this trick, or it may want to continue to play its tricks, but the Taiwan DPP authorities will completely freak out, and surrender to the mainland.
When China’s GDP surpasses that of the US and its nuclear deterrence makes US policymakers and the general public feel all choked up, what will be the point of the US continuing to make a show in the Taiwan Straits?
China recognizes and respects the US’ superior military power, that’s why we don’t wrestle with the US in the deep seas of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean now, let alone send warships to flex our muscles in the US’ coastal areas. But it’s a different scenario in the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea. In these areas, China has unwavering determination and aims to build a military capability that has an overwhelming advantage against the US.
China is a powerful country. If it cannot even safeguard its territorial integrity, it will become a joke. Whoever dares to cross China’s redline on the Taiwan question is seeking its own death.
An old Chinese military saying goes: the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. The better China is prepared for war, and capable and daring to fight a war, the more we can crush the collusion between Washington and the DPP authorities to resist our will, and eventually, we can solve the Taiwan question with least cost to ourselves.
The writer is the Editor-in-Chief of the Global Times.