After US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar's visit to the island in August, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach visited Taiwan on Sept 17. The closely scheduled trips suggest that the US administration considers the island to be a useful card to play in its escalating attempts to contain China by initiating a new Cold War.
By stretching the commitments made by the US in the three joint communiqués that are the foundation for Sino-US relations, the US administration is trying to foster the impression of "country-level" ties with Taiwan. In this way it hopes to undermine the political foundation for Sino-US relations as part of its attempt to decouple politically from China.
But by playing the Taiwan card, it has not only jacked up the already tense relations between the US and China, the world's two largest economies, it has also done a disservice to the global solidarity necessary to deal with the ever worsening global health threat from the novel coronavirus, which is still far away from being effectively controlled worldwide.
It has also dented the global endeavor to stabilize the development of the world economy, and negatively impacted global efforts to deal with other pressing problems such as climate change and the attempts to foster better global governance.
At the same time, Washington has sent the wrong message to secessionists on the island, who deem support from the US as essential for their goal, recklessly increasing tensions across the Taiwan Straits.
As a response to Krach's visit to the island, China has held a combat drill with live ammunition near the Taiwan Straits to demonstrate its readiness to assert its sovereignty over the island and its determination to defend its territorial integrity. Such determination should never be underestimated.
The Taiwan question is purely China's internal affair, and any attempt to use the island to control China is doomed to failure. The US administration should not be blinkered in its desperation to contain the peaceful rise of China and indulge in the US' addiction to its hegemony. It should consider the consequences to both the US and the world at large if it stretches its communiqué agreements to breaking point.
It should not be doubted that China has both the capability and resolve to thwart all external interference and separatist acts.