In the minds of Democratic Progressive Party bosses, Taiwan must be in nirvana already. At his swearing-in ceremony as the new DPP chairman last month, Vice-President William Lai Ching-te claimed that the island was already a “sovereign and independent” nation so there was no need to declare its independence. If that is so, how come only 13 countries plus the Vatican state recognise it? A bona fide secessionist, he has previously called himself “a political worker for Taiwanese independence”. What Lai said is nothing new, of course; President Tsai Ing-wen has said the same thing repeatedly. A nonsensical if provocative claim does not become true just because some people keep repeating it. It does, however, confuse the issue. That is precisely the purpose. The ambiguities of Taiwan’s status stem not only from the lack of recognition from practically the entire world. While all the main political parties, including the Kuomintang, seem to have relinquished the island’s sovereign and territorial claims over mainland China, its own constitution says otherwise. The DPP wants to exploit those ambiguities to push towards secession by stealth, while the United States wants to use them to destabilise the Taiwan Strait as part of its China containment and encirclement strategy. Their purposes converge. US military is gearing up for war over Taiwan, Chinese analysts say Washington is gearing up for war, hence the constant stream of statements from top Pentagon generals predicting imminent conflict, and endless provocative gestures and rhetoric to work as a bait for Beijing to respond forcefully. The US is already prosecuting a proxy war in Ukraine against Russia; it’s perfectly willing to conduct another one in Taiwan. But it needs to provoke an incident so it can plausibly blame the Chinese for starting a war. Another Gulf of Tonkin incident, anyone? Bear in mind, though, it’s the Taiwanese who will pay the ultimate price. Washington says Beijing is closely studying the Ukraine war while some Taiwanese secessionists say they are learning military tactics from the Ukrainians. Of course the Chinese are studying it closely. Do you think all the other great powers are not doing the same? The US and some of its diehard allies want to have their cake and eat it too, that is, by treating Taiwan as if it’s a fully fledged sovereign state and military ally without formally stating that it is. So much for international law and the “rules-based” international system! There is one thing that all Taiwanese should study and learn from the Ukraine conflict – how to avoid a war in the first place that could become an extinction event for their island involving nuclear-armed states. Strangely, no one is talking about that. Actually, we all – every one of us – should learn a lesson and avoid doing another Ukraine over Taiwan, a conflict which would be much more dangerous for the entire region, if not the world. How? US ‘will pressure Taiwan’ to reduce reliance on mainland China, observer says Let’s go back to the question of recognition. It’s intriguing that the US wants to treat Taiwan like a real state when the latter is only recognised by 14 other states in the world. On the other hand, the US completely denies Palestinian rights, including their right to exist, when 138 of the 193 United Nations member states fully recognise Palestine. But regardless of its actual practice, the formal US position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is perfectly sensible. It is that the ultimate status of Palestine should be peacefully settled between its governmental representative and the Jewish state. Here’s an idea. The US will declare that the ultimate status of Taiwan has to be settled peacefully between the mainland and the island. Taiwan will not unilaterally decide on its own ultimate status without reaching an agreement with the mainland. China will relinquish the use of force as an option to achieve unification in return for a guarantee from the US that it will not intervene militarily in the Taiwan Strait. That won’t happen, of course, because destabilising the strait is key to US containment against China. In Washington’s political calculus, peace does not work in its favour; escalating tensions even to the point of war does.