When the new American Institute in Taiwan opens, slated for June, John Bolton, US President Donald Trump's pick for his new national security adviser, could visit Taiwan, it has been reported. If so, Bolton will become the most senior US official to visit Taiwan since China and the US established diplomatic ties in 1979.
There are also reports that the Trump administration has approved the marketing license required for US manufacturers to sell submarine-building technology to Taiwan. There has not been such a sensitive step since former president George W. Bush approved the sale of eight conventional submarines to Taiwan in 2001.
This can easily lead to the assumption that Washington is using Taiwan to create pressure amid trade tensions with Beijing.
The US and Taiwan can employ various tactics against Beijing, but as the Chinese mainland is increasingly outmatching Taiwan in strength, it is the call of the mainland as to how the Taiwan question will be finally resolved.
The US passing the Taiwan Travel Act into law and secessionists in Taiwan carrying out radical movements are actually examples of anxious reactions to the changing balance of power across the Taiwan Straits. Washington is attempting to show its influence on Taiwan while Taiwan separatists are locked in desperate struggles.
While giving more preferential policies to Taiwan, Beijing has more instruments to suppress these separatists even more. As the US and Taiwan become more provocative, scholars in Beijing are pondering and assessing reunification by force. They believe that since the US and Taiwan continue to hit the boundary outlined by the Anti-secession Law and the cost of dealing with Taiwan is rising immensely, a quick solution to the question may be essential. Despite a number of people being against reunification by force, the number that is pro-force and anticipating a cross-Straits war is growing unprecedentedly.
So far, cross-Straits relations built on the 1992 Consensus and the one-China policy agreed by China and the US in accordance with the three joint communiqués have been gravely undermined. The situation across the Taiwan Straits is poised for fundamental changes and the mainland has to make major adjustments.
Beijing cannot be led by the nose. We have to figure out more fronts to showcase our strength and to be the venue for the battle with Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the mainland needs to continue to prepare for a possible military clash across the Straits. A military showdown with Taiwan is becoming more probable and may take place sooner rather than later. Beijing needs to make clear its bottom line and inform Taiwan society of the dangerous acts which may lead to a military showdown, to avoid a war that could break out due to serious misjudgments by the US and Taiwan. Having got the upper hand strategically, the mainland won't lose its head. Only the decisions of the mainland will count in deciding the future cross-Straits situation.