Chinese State Media to U.S.: ‘Suppress’ Taiwan’s President or Face ‘Nightmare’

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen takes part in an interview with AFP at the Presidential Office in Taipei on June 25, 2018. - Tsai on June 25 called on the international community to 'constrain' China by standing up for freedoms, casting her island's giant neighbour as a global threat to democracy. …
SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images
FRANCES MARTEL

China’s state-run Global Times newspaper published an outraged column Thursday condemning the State Department’s disappointed reaction to El Salvador severing ties with Taiwan in favor of China, warning that a “nightmare reality” could befall the United States if it ever recognized Taiwan.

El Salvador, which had long recognized Taiwan’s sovereignty, announced this week that it would no longer do so, instead establishing formal relations with China.

“We are convinced this is a step in the right direction that corresponds to the principles of international law of international relations and the inevitable trends of our time,” President Salvador Sanchez Ceren said in a televised address Tuesday announcing the change.

China rejects any invitation to formal ties with a country that recognizes Taiwan as a sovereign nation, a policy known as the “One China” principle.

Unlike El Salvador, the United States has always abided by One China. Under President Donald Trump, Washington has established policies toeing the line of the policy, however, such as the Taiwan Travel Act, which “encourages visits between officials of the United States and Taiwan at all levels.”

Shortly before his inauguration, President Trump received a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, the first time an American president or president-elect had acknowledged a Taiwanese head of state as an equal.

Now, the Global Times demands that the Trump administration “suppress Tsai Ing-wen” and punish her for the “great mistake” of defending Taiwan’s sovereignty.

“The best move for the US now would be to keep Tsai in check,” the column reads. “Prevent her from stepping on the bottom line. By now Trump and his team have realized that betting on Taiwan in thinking it could be used as a fulcrum to balance China was not a good idea.”

“The right way for the US is to suppress Tsai Ing-wen, hold her back from stepping on the bottom line, but Trump administration rashly used Cai’s gamble as a new fulcrum to play balance with China,” it continues, concluding, “If the US challenged the one-China principle, it would enter into a nightmare reality from which there would be no escape.”

The Global Times calls America’s dissatisfaction with El Salvador a “new low in recklessness” and mocks the United States for urging El Salvador away from ties to China that Washington already enjoys, calling El Salvador’s new policy the “American model.”

“China and El Salvador are sovereign nations, and free to do as they please without having to seek third-party approval. The outspoken scorn from the US over this fresh relationship is wholly uncommon in the modern diplomacy arena,” the outlet protests. The Global Times also complains that concerns of China establishing a foothold in the Americans are ill-founded. While most of Taiwan’s formal alliances are in Latin America, China does have significant relations with the Americas’ dictatorships, notably Cuba and Venezuela.

The Global Times’ preoccupation with silencing Tsai followed the assertive defense of her nation this week prompted by the El Salvador announcement. “China nowadays is not only a threat to cross-strait peace. What China has been doing now globally – interfering in other countries’ internal affairs and destroying the order of the international market – have caused high levels of global instability,” Tsai said in a statement.

The Taiwanese president urged the world to contain China’s “increasingly out of control” policies, including the colonization of the South China Sea and using debt traps to manipulate developing countries.

While the Trump administration has not recognized Taiwan’s sovereignty, an unnamed State Department official told Reuters this week that Washington is “deeply disappointed” in El Salvador. The official added, “we are reviewing our relationship with El Salvador following this decision,” without elaborating.

The decision followed one of the most momentous visits a Taiwanese president has ever been able to make to America. Tsai was in California and Texas on layover flights to Latin America this weekend, stopping by the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where she was treated formally as a sovereign head of state. She also made a visit to a bakery belonging to 85C, a Taiwanese chain with franchises around the world, prompting China to call for a boycott of the enterprise until they disavowed their warm welcome for Tsai.

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