Ex-US diplomat says peaceful Taiwan-China unification impossible

Estrangement between two sides is too profound, says Raymond Burghardt

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Raymond Burghardt

Raymond Burghardt (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A peaceful unification between Taiwan and China is beyond the bounds of possibility, said Raymond Burghardt, former chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

The former U.S. diplomat made the remarks at an event held by The National Committee on American Foreign Policy, on Monday (Dec. 2) in Washington. He was addressing cross-strait issues, reported Voice of America.

“It’s impossible to see a peaceful unification of Taiwan with China,” said Burghardt, citing profound estrangement between the two sides and a strong sense of a separate identity in Taiwan. “I think people in Beijing have realized that,” he added.

The question is now “what kind of coercion is necessary?” Burghardt stressed. He believes the Chinese government has been mulling a list of options, including disinformation and information warfare, as well as military means “if it has to go to the level.”

Beijing has also identified four miscalculations by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), said Burghardt, when commenting on the 2020 elections. These include her belief that there's no harm in provoking Bejing with U.S. backing; the worsened situation in Hong Kong would help her re-election bid; China can do nothing but tolerate her deeds; and Taiwan will benefit from a deteriorating U.S.-China relationship.