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In her latest attempt to seek foreign support for her separatist agenda, Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen said she had submitted requests to buy new F-16 fighters and M1 tanks from the United States. This will have warmed the cockles of Washington"s heart, but it has only further strained the already chilly atmosphere across the Taiwan Straits and incurred strong opposition from Beijing.
Speaking in Hawaii last week where she made a controversial stopover after visiting several Pacific islands, Tsai said the requested US weaponry would "greatly enhance our land and air capabilities, strengthen military morale and show to the world the US commitment to Taiwan"s defense".
By touting the issue of US arms sales to Taiwan, Tsai clearly intends to keep the US tied to her bandwagon of "Taiwan independence". And to fish for its own strategic interests — and give a boost to its exports — the US will no doubt be happy to cede to Tsai"s request.
However, Tsai and the US should not underestimate the mainland"s resolution and capability to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Washington should know throwing its weight behind an increasingly unpopular Tsai and going against the international recognition of the one-China principle will only lead it further astray from its claim to be a responsible world leader.
Since taking office, Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party have wantonly overthrown the foundation for cross-Straits exchanges. As a result, in less than three years, these have been greatly restricted and reduced.
But Tsai has to swallow the bitter fruit produced by the separatist seeds she is sowing: Her increasing unpopularity and the island"s dwindling global space are clear indications that she is on a fool"s errand.
The peaceful development of cross-Straits relations is the only correct course for her to follow as it reflects the common wishes of people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. If Tsai continues to blindly pursue the course she has been taking and gives a cold shoulder to public will, she will pay a dear political price sooner or later.
She should realize that her attempts to court foreign support will never succeed in realizing her ambition for the island"s secession, as the mainland has both the resolve and the capability to throttle any action that aims to separate the island from the motherland.
Disingenuously, Tsai says her actions are aimed at ensuring that the people of Taiwan remain able to choose their own future. Yet, having been shown they do not agree with what she is doing, she adamantly refuses to change her approach.
Tsai"s wish to be viewed as a stateswoman is divorced from reality and her bubble of illusion is bound to deflate should the US decide it"s not in its interests to keep pumping it up. She should accept with good grace that her time in the spotlight is coming to an end, as she is harping on a tune that few want to hear.