Washington should be more cost-conscious

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Despite repeated pledges from the US side that the United States does not support “Taiwan independence” nor does it harbor the intention of provoking conflict with China, Washington has continued to stoke tensions in the Taiwan Straits and engage in military provocations over the Taiwan question.

Which is why State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe reminded the US defense secretary about the sensitivity and gravity of the Taiwan question in their telephone talk on Wednesday.

If the Taiwan question is not handled properly, it will have a subversive effect on China-US relations, Wei told US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, adding that the Chinese military will resolutely safeguard national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity. His words should not fall on deaf ears as the US’ political and military antics regarding Taiwan have heightened the risks of miscalculation.

Apart from sending lawmakers to visit the Chinese island, Washington recently signed another arms deal worth $245 million with Taipei.

Such intensive provocations have fueled speculation that the US is seeking a proxy war in the region, in the same way that it has sparked one in Europe.

Austin said that the US adheres to the one-China policy and will strengthen military exchanges and cooperation with China in a candid and open manner. If his words are matched with deeds, then the two militaries can play their part in properly handling the differences between the two countries and reduce the risks of miscalculation.

It is crucial that the Chinese and US militaries keep the channel of smooth communication open and continue to build more mutual trust so as to inject more certainty into world stability.

The US should take China’s stance on the Taiwan question seriously and not underestimate China’s determination and capability to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Austin and Wei also discussed US-Chinese defense relations, regional security issues and Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

If the fierce fighting and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine have taught Washington anything, it should be the costs, both in terms of human suffering and money, of recklessly and irresponsibly engineering conflicts with countries it considers “rivals”. While the US does not have troops on the ground in Ukraine, it has already bankrolled Ukraine with more than $2.5 billion of the $3.5 billion in drawdown authority the US Congress granted for this fiscal year. Some of that has been in the form of otherwise unsellable munitions such as Claymore munitions, which have been banned by 160 countries, including Ukraine.

As the US knows from Iraq and Afghanistan, war is a costly business. There would be an even higher price tag on one in the Asia-Pacific. It would be far better for Washington to pay more attention to strengthening crisis communications with Beijing and managing the strategic competition between the two sides. -China Daily