CCP Support of Russia Pushing Taiwan Further Away: Expert

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is examining the Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the hopes of improving its own strategy for undermining Western dominance, according to one expert. Its support of Russia, however, is pushing Taiwan further away than it already was. “We can be very confident that China is watching very, very closely all that is happening and trying to assess what is working and what is not working,” said Stephen Yates, CEO of consultancy firm DC International Advisory, during a March 8 interview with EpochTV’s “China Insider” program. “They are very secure in the idea that the European system of alliances is different than the Asian system of alliances. And so, they’re going to be looking for what are some advantages that they might have to be able to weather this kind of a storm, perhaps better than Russia has.” Yates added that the CCP would be examining fractures in the Western response to Russia’s invasion to better devise ways of exploiting weaknesses in the United States and elsewhere should it come into conflict with the greater international order later on. This effort likely includes learning how to influence everyday Americans so that they would be less likely to advocate for sanctions and other measures against China in a future conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during the Tsinghua University ceremony in Beijing, China, on April 26, 2019. (Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool/Getty Images) Hypocrisy Yates’s comments followed close behind testimony by leaders of the U.S. intelligence community that CCP leadership had been “unsettled” by the strength of the Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Likewise, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s annual report on Threat Assessments found China to be the United States’ number one security threat in 2022. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, CCP leadership has refused to join in international sanctions on Russia, helping to shield the nation from the full weight of Western economic pressure. Defense and security experts have gone so far as to say that the Russian invasion requires the continued tacit support of the CCP, while others have said the CCP is walking a tightrope between supporting Russia outright and drawing sanctions onto itself. There is no tightrope, according to Yates, and the CCP has chosen its side. “I don’t think that China is walking too much of a tightrope,” Yates said. “I think they’ve been pretty clear about gaming the free world for all the benefits it could absorb, while maintaining close collaboration with the adversaries of the free world so that it would have the wherewithal to endure if a conflict were to break out, or if the forces of the free world were to organize in a way to pressure the Chinese Communist Party.” Yates did say, however, that the CCP’s support of Putin and Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty demonstrated a certain hypocrisy within the elite echelons of the CCP. This is because national sovereignty is among a very few self-claimed core values of the CCP. The fact that the CCP is supporting the blanket violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, therefore, is pushing peoples in other Asian nations away from Chinese Communist influence. “A lot of the free people of Asia identify very much with the plight of the people of Ukraine,” Yates said. “They see the Russian invasion as unprovoked and unjust, so there’s a lot of support for humanitarian assistance or standing with the people of Ukraine, at least symbolically.” Supporters await the arrival of Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te at the Hilton Universal Hotel, in Universal City, Calif. on Jan. 25, 2022. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images) Driving a Wedge Importantly, Yates said that the CCP’s violation of its own core principles was serving to drive a greater wedge between the cultures of Chinese on the mainland and those living in self-governed Taiwan. “In Taiwan, it just increases empathy for an independent society,” Yates said. “So, to an extent, Russia has provoked, I think, a hardening of a separate identity in Taiwan from that of the People’s Republic of China.” That separation of identity between the island and the mainland could lead to a big shift in how the two governments view one another. The CCP has considered Taiwan a breakaway province since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Taiwan has been self-governed since that time, but both peoples share a similar history and culture. To that end, Yates said that U.S. leadership should not be afraid of provoking the CCP on the issue of Taiwan in the way that some have accused it of provoking Russia to invade Ukraine. “I think it would be a fool’s errand to try to couch our words and our approach so as to not provoke China,” Yates said. “We have to look at China as already considering itself provoked by the existence of an independent democracy of 23 million people

CCP Support of Russia Pushing Taiwan Further Away: Expert

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is examining the Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the hopes of improving its own strategy for undermining Western dominance, according to one expert. Its support of Russia, however, is pushing Taiwan further away than it already was.

“We can be very confident that China is watching very, very closely all that is happening and trying to assess what is working and what is not working,” said Stephen Yates, CEO of consultancy firm DC International Advisory, during a March 8 interview with EpochTV’s “China Insider” program.

“They are very secure in the idea that the European system of alliances is different than the Asian system of alliances. And so, they’re going to be looking for what are some advantages that they might have to be able to weather this kind of a storm, perhaps better than Russia has.”

Yates added that the CCP would be examining fractures in the Western response to Russia’s invasion to better devise ways of exploiting weaknesses in the United States and elsewhere should it come into conflict with the greater international order later on.

This effort likely includes learning how to influence everyday Americans so that they would be less likely to advocate for sanctions and other measures against China in a future conflict.

The Second Belt And Road Forum For International Cooperation - Day Two Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during the Tsinghua University ceremony in Beijing, China, on April 26, 2019. (Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool/Getty Images)

Hypocrisy

Yates’s comments followed close behind testimony by leaders of the U.S. intelligence community that CCP leadership had been “unsettled” by the strength of the Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Likewise, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s annual report on Threat Assessments found China to be the United States’ number one security threat in 2022.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, CCP leadership has refused to join in international sanctions on Russia, helping to shield the nation from the full weight of Western economic pressure.

Defense and security experts have gone so far as to say that the Russian invasion requires the continued tacit support of the CCP, while others have said the CCP is walking a tightrope between supporting Russia outright and drawing sanctions onto itself.

There is no tightrope, according to Yates, and the CCP has chosen its side.

“I don’t think that China is walking too much of a tightrope,” Yates said. “I think they’ve been pretty clear about gaming the free world for all the benefits it could absorb, while maintaining close collaboration with the adversaries of the free world so that it would have the wherewithal to endure if a conflict were to break out, or if the forces of the free world were to organize in a way to pressure the Chinese Communist Party.”

Yates did say, however, that the CCP’s support of Putin and Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty demonstrated a certain hypocrisy within the elite echelons of the CCP.

This is because national sovereignty is among a very few self-claimed core values of the CCP. The fact that the CCP is supporting the blanket violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, therefore, is pushing peoples in other Asian nations away from Chinese Communist influence.

“A lot of the free people of Asia identify very much with the plight of the people of Ukraine,” Yates said. “They see the Russian invasion as unprovoked and unjust, so there’s a lot of support for humanitarian assistance or standing with the people of Ukraine, at least symbolically.”

Epoch Times Photo Supporters await the arrival of Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te at the Hilton Universal Hotel, in Universal City, Calif. on Jan. 25, 2022. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Driving a Wedge

Importantly, Yates said that the CCP’s violation of its own core principles was serving to drive a greater wedge between the cultures of Chinese on the mainland and those living in self-governed Taiwan.

“In Taiwan, it just increases empathy for an independent society,” Yates said. “So, to an extent, Russia has provoked, I think, a hardening of a separate identity in Taiwan from that of the People’s Republic of China.”

That separation of identity between the island and the mainland could lead to a big shift in how the two governments view one another.

The CCP has considered Taiwan a breakaway province since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Taiwan has been self-governed since that time, but both peoples share a similar history and culture.

To that end, Yates said that U.S. leadership should not be afraid of provoking the CCP on the issue of Taiwan in the way that some have accused it of provoking Russia to invade Ukraine.

“I think it would be a fool’s errand to try to couch our words and our approach so as to not provoke China,” Yates said.

“We have to look at China as already considering itself provoked by the existence of an independent democracy of 23 million people who [now] identify culturally in some ways more with Japan than they do with China.”

As such, Yates said that the United States ought to give Taiwan access to the tools it needs to defend their continued self-governance, including armaments and increased market access.

Vitally, he said this effort would necessarily include amplifying Taiwan’s voice on the global stage. The lesson to be learned from Ukraine, he said, was to make Taiwan resilient before CCP aggression occurred.

“It’s important for Taiwan to have a voice in as many places as possible to represent and advocate for itself now, not after a point of invasion,” Yates said.

“It’s important for Taiwan to have robust, independent self-defense capabilities now, not after a conflict were to break out. Not because it’s provocative, but because weakness is provocative.”

In that pursuit, Yates said that the United States need not pursue inflammatory policies such as formally recognizing Taiwan as an independent nation, but rather needed to deal with the government and the military and security leadership in Taiwan the same way it would deal with any other free and democratic government.

“We don’t have to have a declaration of independence,” Yates said of Taiwan. “We don’t have to have a declaration of normal diplomatic relations to allow the United States to deal rationally with the government of Taiwan.”

“I think it’s just very, very important that we give encouragement to those who are current and potential victims of the Communist Party of China. And to make sure that it’s very, very clear to Americans, and to Europeans now who are focused on Russia, that there is a more sizeable and strategically heavy threat to the Western way of life that comes from the CCP that is just waiting to see how this Russia Ukraine challenge grinds to a halt at some point.”


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Andrew Thornebrooke is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.


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David Zhang is the host of China Insider on EpochTV. He is currently based in New York and Washington DC covering China-related news. He focuses on expert interviews and news commentary on China affairs, especially issues regarding the U.S.–China relationship.