CGTN: What's behind China's military reaction to U.S. legislators' visits to Taiwan?
CGTN's Tian Wei talked to Meng Xiangqing, the deputy director of the Strategic Research Institution at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army, and Zhang Junshe, senior research fellow of the Naval Research Academy of the People's Liberation Army. In her live interview, Tian Wei focused on the impact of U.S. lawmakers' visits to Taiwan and explained why China doubled down on live-fire drills around the island.
How tough are China's countermeasures?
After the provocative visit of Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan on Aug. 2, China's East Theater Command announced a live ammunition drill. Two weeks later, five U.S. Congress members made another provocative visit to Taiwan. In response, on August 15, the East Theater Command of the Chinese PLA said that China was conducting live ammunition combat patrol and drills on waters around Taiwan island. Meng Xiangqing said the combat patrol was carried out in an all-weather scenario. And, it's ready for real combat missions, or the drill could be turned into real combat any time.
Zhang Junshe pointed out that during the military exercises, Chinese PLA Navy warships crossed the so-called "midline" of the Taiwan Strait, which means that the PLA doesn't recognize this so-called mark. "We ignore this," he said. China also sent an aircraft carrier group for deterrence exercises. Zhang said the carrier group usually includes nuclear power submarines. The main task of the submarine is to protect the aircraft carrier. Zhang stressed that China will crush any outside intervention and the separatist forces that want to split from the motherland.
What's behind the "guardrails" proposed by the U.S.?
Meng argued that the guardrails of China-U.S. relations must have one very important prerequisite, and that is the respect for China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Taiwan issue stands at the very core of China's national interest. He firmly said, "Stamping on China's bottom line and undermining China's interests are in no way helpful to building guardrails." He also believed that the guardrails of China-U.S. relations must be built on mutual respect. Only on this basis can we build effective guardrails.
On Aug. 5, in response to Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, China canceled China-U.S. Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) meetings. Zhang said that the U.S. side always used MMCA as an excuse for its provocations against China's core interests. For example, the U.S. flew fighters above an area near the Chinese coast and sent warships to conduct so-called "freedom of navigation operations" in the South China Sea. Zhang said that the U.S. failed to keep its promise on the so-called "guardrails".
Meng stressed that the "guardrails" proposed by the U.S. is one that allows it to conduct close-up reconnaissance along China's coast, to seek navigation hegemony under the pretense of navigation freedom, to have the right to challenge China yet disallowing China to fight back.
"The U.S. is in great anxiety"
Meng said that the United States is in great anxiety, believing China's rise would pose a threat to the U.S.. He said "this is completely groundless." He argued that China's development goal is to improve the quality of life for the Chinese people and not to seek global hegemony. "All the wars we fought in history were self-defensive in nature following foreign aggression," Meng said, "We're for peace. The Chinese PLA over the years has made great contribution to safeguarding world peace. We've provided many public good in security. For example, among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China is the biggest contributor to the UN Peacekeeping Force."
Zhang added that the United States should take a correct attitude toward China's development and China's reactions against U.S. provocations on the Taiwan issue. Since World War II, the United States has always been using Taiwan to contain China, but such attempts will not succeed.
World Insight with Tian Wei is CGTN's global affairs talk show, with well-rounded debates on global hot button issues coupled with exclusive key interviews.