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EDITORIAL: Xi's comments are a subterfuge

EDITORIAL: Xi's comments are a subterfuge
EDITORIAL: Xi's comments are a subterfuge


During a meeting in April, Chinese President Xi Jinping () told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that the United States was trying to push China into invading Taiwan, the Financial Times reported on Sunday .

A war with the United States would destroy many of China's achievements and undermine its goal of achieving China's great rejuvenation, Xi reportedly said.

If Xi sincerely believes that the United States is inciting China, it shows that fears that Xi has created an information vacuum or that he is getting bad advice are worrying and true, said Jude Blanchette, president of the Center for Freeman Strategic and International Studies in Chinese Studies.

Analysts have long feared that Xi might not get accurate information from his subordinates that might displease him, which is often the case in personalist and authoritarian dictatorships. Subordinates could tell Xi only what he wants to hear, namely that ties between the United States and Taiwan are deepening because Washington wants to stop China's rise rather than as a reaction to bellicose and foreign policies. intimidation of Xi.

A positive reading of Xi's comments would be that if he sincerely believed that the United States was using Taiwan to lure it into a strategic error, it would engender restraint and strengthen deterrence. If he believed his mortal enemy was goading him, chances are he wouldn't act. In other words, Xi thinks his comments may not be so bad.

However, he bears a worrying resemblance to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, on the eve of his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, said the United States was trying to drag Russia into an armed conflict that Moscow did not want to, but they could not sit idly by. and let the United States threaten Russia and harm Ukraine.

It seems to me that the United States does not care so much about the security of Ukraine… but that its main task is to contain the development of Russia. In this sense, Ukraine itself is only a tool to achieve this goal, Putin said on February 1, 2022.

Xi could cultivate land to justify an invasion of Taiwan. He would count on the EU refraining from imposing large-scale sanctions, as it did when Putin invaded Ukraine in 2014.

Ryan Hass, director of the Brookings Institution China Center, who writes for this newspaper's On Taiwan section, said that based on his experience in meetings with Xi, he rarely makes offhand comments. They are usually calculated for effect.

Xi could send calculated threats and assurances to the EU, Hass said.

The assurances would include indications that China does not want to invade, while threats would include that if accommodative policies are not implemented, conflict could erupt. Xi could try to distance the EU from the United States by convincing it that the Taiwan Strait is destabilizing because of Washington's actions.

Europeans, Americans and Taiwanese should not fall for Xi's traps. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a long history of deception and subterfuge, ever since it convinced the U.S. Dixie Mission in 1944 that the CCP only wanted to bring democracy to China in an effort to get the United States to abandon their support for Chiang Kai-shek. () to Xi's promise to then-US President Barack Obama in 2015 not to militarize the South China Sea.

Xi's comments to Von der Leyen, if true, constitute a careful ploy to get Europe to see Taiwan from China's distorted perspective.

Europeans should not fall for this.

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