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April 20, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9293

Chinese Media Outlet Duowei: Public Opinion In China Has 'Worn Out Patience' Regarding 'Peaceful Reunification' With Taiwan – 'Making Louder And Louder [The] Voice' Of 'Military Unification'

April 20, 2021
China | Special Dispatch No. 9293

An article published March 10, 2021 in the Chinese media outlet Duowei[1] explained what the fact that China's defense budget will for the first time exceed $200 billion means for Taiwan. The article stressed: "The sum of $200 billion is not just a number, but an indication of continuous military investment and the constant growth of the Mainland's military power – a reality that Taiwan must face."

According to the article, Taiwan in the past had retained a "qualitative advantages over the Mainland," but now Taiwan's army, navy and air force are not as well equipped, in terms of both quality and quantity, as China's People's Liberation Army (PLA). It added that the likelihood of a "peaceful reunification" between the two sides across the strait has become "more and more slim," adding: "Public opinion in the Mainland has also worn out patience toward peaceful reunification, making louder and louder the voice of 'military unification.' 'Taiwan independence means war' has become among the very few common understandings between both sides."

Below is the article in Duowei:[2]


(Source: Dwnews.com)

China Increased Military Spending By 6.8% During The Pandemic

"At this year's Lianghui, or the Two Sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPCC), the Chinese government announced its military expenditure of 2021, which has increased by 6.8% since last year and has topped RMB1.35 trillion, about $209 billion. Even though it remains far behind U.S.'s 2021 defense budget of $740.5 billion, this year's Chinese military expenditure has passed the $200 billion threshold for the first time. What does that mean for Taiwan?

"According to Chinese authorities, China's increased military expenditure will be used in four areas:

"a. Implementing major projects and key programs;

"b. Accelerating upgrade and renewal of weapons and equipment, and promoting modernization of weapons and equipment;

"c. Improvement of military training and support systems;

"d. Upgrading of living standards and benefits for officers and soldiers.

"According to the Associated Press, this huge amount of military expenditure will allow the Chinese military to acquire more aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and stealth fighters.

"Observers say that the main task of the Chinese military is to maintain a strong military advantage over Taiwan, so as to deal with any possible crisis across the Strait. The China Military Power Report 2020, published recently by The Pentagon, has pointed out that the China defense budget keeps increasing. Most of that increase is directed to the development of the ability to unify Taiwan by force.

"Wu Qian, the spokesperson of China's Ministry of Defense, mentioned Taiwan in particular when elaborating the increase of military expenditure and the usage of the funding.

"He said that the risks and challenges in China's homeland security cannot be under-estimated. Disputes over land borders, island territory sovereignty, and maritime delimitation remain unsolved. The biggest realistic threat to peace of the Taiwan Strait is the Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s stubborn stance for splitting of China and for the independence of Taiwan.

"It is easy to tell from Wu Qian's statement that the risks and challenges of Beijing's homeland security are the India border disputes, Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands issues, South China Sea issues, and Taiwan Strait issues. Of all the issues, Taiwan is the top priority. Wu Qian called out Taiwan in particular over all the issues.

"In correspondence, on March 5, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang stated in his Government Work Report that China will continue to stick to its fundamental policy on Taiwan, the one-China principle, and The 1992 Consensus, and to promote peaceful development of Cross-Strait relations and unification of China. He particularly emphasized high alert and resolved efforts against 'the splitting activities by Taiwan independence activists.'

"Wang Yang, Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPCC), participated in deliberation by the 'Taiwan delegation' of the NPC. He claimed that the cross-strait situation is still severe and complicated, and risks and challenges must not be underestimated. However, he believes that the Mainland still has the initiative and power dominance. He also mentioned containment of 'splitting efforts by Taiwan independence activists and interference from abroad.'

'Historically Taiwan Had Military Advantages In Cross-Strait Conflicts; However, Such Advantages Have Been Diminished Due To The Mainland's Efforts In Pushing Military Modernization'

"At a press conference on March 7, Wang Yi, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, in response to questions related to America's Taiwan policy, doubled down [in stressing] that on Taiwan issues, the Chinese government has no room for compromise or concession. He urged the new U.S. administration to thoroughly understand the high sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, and seriously abide by the 'One-China principle' and the Three Joint Communiqués between China and the U.S.

"Wang Yi made three points regarding the Taiwan issue:

"First, there is only one China in this world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory. That is a historical and legitimate fact, and the general consensus of the international community.

"Second, the two sides of the Strait must and will be unified. This is the general trend and collective will of the Chinese nation; it will not change and cannot be changed. The Chinese government is rock firm in its resolve to safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are capable of defeating any form of splitting actions by Taiwan independence elements.

"Third, the One-China principle is the political foundation of China-U.S. relationship and an insurmountable red line. On Taiwan issues, the Chinese government has no room for compromise or concession. We urge the new U.S. Administration to thoroughly understand the high sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, seriously abide by the 'One-China Principle' and Three Joint Communiqués between China and the U.S., fundamentally alter the last Administration's dangerous attempts to cross the line and play with fire, and handle all Taiwan related issues carefully and properly.

"DWNews previously pointed out that since the pro-independence DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen took office in Taiwan and broke the tacit agreement built upon the 1992 Consensus between the two sides of the strait, relations between the two sides have entered an Ice Age. Observers generally agree that the likelihood of 'peaceful reunification' between the two sides across the strait has become more and more slim. Public opinion in the Mainland has also worn out patience toward peaceful reunification, making louder and louder [the] voice of 'military unification.' 'Taiwan independence means war' has become among the very few common understandings between both sides.

"Back to the Mainland's military expenditure, the amount of $200 billion is not just a number, but an indication of continuous military investment and the constant growth of the Mainland's military power, a reality that Taiwan must face. According to the ranking of global military power by the famous U.S. military website Global Firepower, the Mainland ranks the 3rd in the world, only after U.S. and Russia; in contrast, Taiwan's in 26th place.

"In the Pentagon's China Military Power Report 2020, historically Taiwan had military advantages in cross-strait conflicts. However, such advantages have been diminished due to the Mainland's efforts in pushing military modernization. The Annual White Paper (Defense of Japan) 2020 analyzed military power on both sides and pointed out that the overall military balance across the strait has tilted year by year, favorably toward China.

'Taiwanese Forces Can Probably Be Considered The Equivalent Of A PLA Theatre Command'

"The 2020 version of the CCP Military Report by the Taiwan Department of Defense also acknowledges that the military power of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability, has expanded to the entire globe. Its missiles can now reach the< second island chain; its air force is able to strike base in Guam and therefore has restrained U.S. forces in South China Sea, its navy acquired combat capability in distant sea beyond the first island chain, its army upgraded capabilities of unmanned combat, and electronic countermeasures, and so far acquired long range mobility and coordinated operations between different branches of the armed forces.

"But what Taiwan should worry most is the Mainland's continuous funding of the military, which will inevitably create an even greater disparity between the military powers of the two sides. In comparison, the recent shock of Taiwanese communities about the Mainland's ban on importing Taiwanese pineapple is just like ripples in a tea cup.[3]

"Military experts in Beijing claimed that in the early years, Taiwan still had qualitative advantages over the Mainland, but now Taiwan's military equipment of army, navy and air force, in terms of both quality and quantity, is inferior to PLA. Additionally the PLA also has the Rocket Force with all kinds of 'express delivery' (meaning Dongfeng series missiles), and the Strategic Support Force that offers strong [cyber and space] capabilities.

"To compare honestly, Taiwanese forces can probably be considered the equivalent of a PLA theatre command. Theatre commands are a first-level PLA military organization, established in 2016 as result of the PLA's military reform. There are five theatre commands with the Eastern Theatre Command in charge of Taiwan Strait region. We can conclude that in terms of military power, Beijing has overwhelming advantages over Taiwan."

 

[1] It is worth noting that when it was founded in New York in 1999 by Pin Ho, Duowei, which is a news opinion website, recruited several dissidents to write for it; it was considered a "dissident outlet." In 2009, due to poor management, Duowei was sold to CCP-backed businessman Yu Pun-hoi, and its headquarters were moved to Beijing. Since then, it has become one of the semi-official news outlets that the Chinese government uses to test public opinion in the Chinese-speaking diaspora. Duowei News cannot be accessed from within China.

[2]Dwnews.com/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD/60232491/%E4%B8%A4%E5%B2%B8%E8%A7%82%E5%AF%9F%E5%A4%A7%E9%99%86%E5%86%9B%

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%8D%E4%B8%AD%E4%B9%8B%E9%87%8D, March 10, 2021. The article was written by Sun Lan.

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