With the Taiwan Policy Act (TPA) having advanced past its first obstacle on the road to legislation, the People’s Republic of China is sending warnings to Washington over its progress. Even though TPA is a long distance away from becoming law, the prospect of it becoming reality is causing concern in Beijing. And for good reason. Provisions embedded in the act would give Taiwan $6.5 Billion in financing for US-manufactured weapon systems. The US would also treat Taiwan along the lines of a ‘major non-NATO ally’ and allow the prospect of expedited arms sales.
China’s foreign ministry lodged complaints over TPA with the US government on Thursday. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning claims it “seriously breaches the US commitment to China on the Taiwan question,” and violates the “One-China” principle. Ning also called on Washington to “stop playing the Taiwan card” and refrain from using Taiwan as an instrument to “contain China.”
Some politicians in Washington, as well as a number of defense and geopolitical analysts, are concerned TPA is highly provocative and could prompt Chinese leadership to take action. US-China relations are already tense enough in the wake of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August. The Chinese response to that was prompt, bellicose and very visible. In the weeks leading up to the House Speaker’s visit included numerous warnings by the Chinese government, both private and public. Yet by issuing those warnings Beijing painted Washington into a corner it could not extricate itself without suffering significant embarrassment.
In this situation, if TPA continues to advance, China may find itself in a similar box. Later in the coming week I plan to discuss this more. For tomorrow or Tuesday we’ll shift gears back to Central Asia where two conflicts involving former-Soviet republics are now underway.