“Beijing pushed for milder advice, it’s not a change of course but there is a debate. The Chinese are frightened by the results of the Russian invasion of Ukraine”
We can glimpse ‘adjustments’, “steps back”, in Chinese policy on Taiwan, the de facto independent island with 23 million inhabitants that Beijing considers an “inalienable part” of its territory and for which it insists on “reunification”. Sinologist Francesco Sisci reasons with Adnkronos on press reports according to which the ban on debate on the subject on the web seems to have been lifted in a country known for its controls and censorship. “Suddenly there are more voices. Those against the invasion of Taiwan are uncomfortable – observes Sisci – but they demonstrate how 15 months of war in Ukraine have not passed in vain”. And the Asian giant “seems to be changing direction”.
Sisci signals what appears to be “the beginning of a movement with more mild advice” because, he explains, “what is happening is that the Chinese are frightened by the results of the Russian invasion” of Ukraine. An ‘adventure’ – that of the “reunification” of Taiwan by force – which would not be in Beijing’s interest.
The “special military operation” commissioned by Vladimir Putin, which began on February 24 last year, “is becoming the tombstone of Russia itself”, he remarks. The sinologist speaks of “steps backwards” by the People’s Republic which he – points out – “are not a change of course”.
And the facts speak for themselves. “In the meantime, there have been Chinese patrols around Japan, on the islands controlled by the Philippines – he points out – The Chinese presence in this area continues”. Taiwan, which has only 13 countries in the world that recognize it diplomatically and where presidential and legislative elections will be held next January, cannot be the next Ukraine. The fears of Japan remain, and beyond. And Hiroshima is preparing to host the G7 summit which should also lead to a “censorship of coercive economic activities”.
The commitment of the United States, with ever greater determination, for a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, which since 1979 has been committed to supporting Taiwan’s defense capabilities, until now with the supply of weapons. In view of the G7, American President Joe Biden is expected in Asia for a mission, on which internal politics weigh, aimed – Sisci points out – at “continuing to consolidate the security perimeter in Asia”. Biden’s visits to Papua New Guinea and Australia canceled for reasons related to the debt ceiling negotiations, the meeting of the Quad (Australia, Japan, India and the United States) should be held on the sidelines of the G7 summit.
While China, “after the Covid emergency and also with this new bankruptcy situation of Russia in Ukraine behind it, thinks it has to develop a new diplomacy and is trying to do so”. According to Sisci, the mission of the Chinese envoy Li Hui announced by Beijing after the first talks in more than a year between the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the Chinese leader Xi Jinping should be read in this perspective.