During Ma’s term, relations across the volatile Taiwan Strait have been, as he put it in an interview, “the most stable of anytime in 60 years.” But the prospect that he might lose to a candidate of the independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party has raised fears among some analysts in China of renewed tension, which might once again draw in the United States. This last happened in 1996, when China fired missiles near Taiwan and the Clinton administration sent additional naval ships to the region as a show of U.S. determination not to allow China to intimidate Taiwan.Tension, as I have pointed out one million times, is a policy choice of Beijing. We saw that clearly in the decision to upgrade Taiwan's extant F-16s rather than sell the nation new ones, when China chose to restrain its usual tension-boosting. I wrote:
It is hard to think of a clearer illustration that tensions are (1) caused by Beijing and (2) totally under Beijing's control and (3) a calculated policy response and not some putative visceral reaction, aimed at US support for Taiwan and US analysts and observers. I suppose, though, it is too much to hope that the media will cease writing as if tensions occur without agents causing them, or that Taiwan is the cause of tensions between Beijing and Washington.Why is it impossible in the media to actually name the source of tensions in the China-Taiwan-US triangle?
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