The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) carried out live-fire drills on Wednesday in the Taiwan Straits, the first of their kind since 2016. The Chinese mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Liu Jieyi said the exercise aimed to "safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," explicitly targeting Taiwan. Beijing has sent a pointed message to the US that has been recklessly playing the Taiwan card in recent months.
Washington has recently stepped up its provocations against Beijing by building its military and security cooperation with Taiwan to the most intimate and dangerous level since 1979. It passed the Taiwan Travel Act that allows reciprocal visits of high-level officials between Taiwan and the US.
The US State Department approved a marketing license that allows US defense companies to sell submarine-building technology to Taiwan. US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, could visit Taiwan in June when the new American Institute in Taiwan is finished.
Taiwan concerns China's core interests, but Washington has been unbridled in infringing upon the one-China policy and emboldened the small group of separatists in Taiwan to turn more aggressive and arrogant in their secession attempts. As trade tensions heighten between China and the US, the Trump administration seems to believe that it has forced Beijing into a corner.
But the Trump administration will be disappointed to learn that it is wrong. Beijing has shown no will to back off in trade disputes and, similarly, will stand up against any infringement of the one-China policy. The PLA has an unshakeable determination to safeguard national reunification.
Whoever infringes upon the one-China policy and advocates Taiwan independence will invite destruction. And the US is no exception. As Cui Tiankai, Chinese Ambassador to the US, said Tuesday, China will do everything possible to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity if "someone tries to separate Taiwan from China."
Although peaceful reunification with Taiwan is the optimal choice, in the mainland reunification by force is being seriously considered as an option. It is up to Chinese people to eventually decide when and how Taiwan will be reunified. This depends on how far the Taiwan authorities go along the independence path, not how much the US backs Taiwan. In fact, the more Washington supports Taiwan separatists, the earlier they will see their doomsday coming.
Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen said last week that Taiwan is not just the pawn of the US, but can also be a chess player. She may have not figured out how reality works. If Taiwan becomes a chess player, it will be told "game over" by the mainland. Hopefully both Washington and Taiwan can understand the warning sent by the mainland's live-fire drills.