周波:中国在台湾问题上的红线很清晰,美国或“模糊”或“清晰”的政策都行不通

来源:观察者网

2022-06-24 08:57

周波

周波作者

清华大学战略与安全研究中心研究员、中国论坛特约专家

【导读】 编者按:清华大学战略与安全研究中心研究员、中国论坛特约专家周波6月22日在《南华早报》发表评论文章“China’s red lines on Taiwan are clear, whatever the US says about its policy of strategic ambiguity”。周波认为,拜登在台湾问题上的一再“失言”需要严肃对待。无论美国对台政策是“战略模糊”还是“战略清晰”,都不会影响中国统一的决心,中国不会像俄罗斯一样打无准备之仗。

【文/周波】

如果中国大陆与台湾开战,美国会进行军事干预吗?对于这个重中之重的问题,美国政府存在两个迥然不同的答案。其一,“是的”,这是美国总统拜登5月底访问东京时的回答。其二,“不一定”,这是白宫助手的说法,他们对拜登的说法做了快速澄清,并重申美国奉行“一个中国”政策没有变化。

如果将拜登对莫斯科和对北京的态度进行比较,这个问题就变得更耐人寻味了。自从俄乌冲突爆发以来,拜登一直在声称美国军队不会直接参战。

截图来自南华早报

如果拜登一心要避免与俄罗斯发生直接冲突,那他为什么执着于挑起与中国的潜在战争?中国人民解放军是世界上规模最大的武装力量,其实力并不逊于俄罗斯军队。

6月17日,中国人民解放军海军第三艘航空母舰下水,被命名为“福建舰”。这是一艘完全由中国自主设计建造的首艘弹射型航空母舰,配置飞机电磁弹射装置。相比之下,俄罗斯唯一的航空母舰多年来一直处于维修状态。中国人民解放军海军的舰艇数量也已经超过美国海军的数量。

因此,如果真如拜登政府咬定的那样,中国是一个比俄罗斯更严峻的长期威胁,那么华盛顿难道不应该尽量避免与中国发生冲突吗?毕竟,战争一旦发生,战场距美国本土遥远,美盟友寥寥无几,但北京却拥有一切“主场”优势。

拜登政府表态不一的原因或许在于,莫斯科用核攻击威胁北约,而北京承诺在任何情况下都不会首先使用核武器。

如果认为俄罗斯所拥有的世界最大核武库在阻止美国干预(俄乌冲突)方面发挥了决定性作用,那么北京可能会重新考虑其目前“精干有效”的核武库规模是否合理。从理论上讲,不首先使用核武器的政策需要一个庞大的核武库作为支撑,只有核武器多到能在敌人的第一次打击中活下来,才有能力实施有效的报复性核打击。

尽管拜登在东京“失言”后重申美国坚持“一个中国”政策,但他在九个月内的三次明显“失言”,似乎预示着美国正在从几十年来对台政策的“战略模糊”转变为“战略清晰”。

拜登对于有关台湾防务问题的一再“失言”并不是闹着玩的。

支持“战略模糊”的人认为,该政策既可以威慑中国,同时又防止台独。然而,支持“战略清晰”的人则认为,模糊性的政策已不足以让中国大陆放弃对台湾使用武力的选项。

中国统一台湾的决心不变,而且解放军也派军机在台海巡航以示警告,但没有迹象表明大陆因为俄乌冲突而在加速统一台湾进程。

中国宣布2022年国防预算的时间,是在俄乌冲突爆发之后。预算总额被控制在GDP的2%以内,这与近些年的情况一致。这充分体现了中国对安全环境现状的评估,以及对最终统一台湾的信心。

根据中国《反分裂国家法》,中国只有在三种情况下才会采取非和平方式统一台湾:“台独”分裂势力以任何名义、任何方式造成台湾从中国分裂出去的事实,或发生将会导致台湾从中国分裂出去的重大事变,或和平统一的可能性完全丧失。

台湾当局宣布独立的可能性几乎为零,因为这肯定会引发大陆的军事回应。但在北京的眼中,华盛顿从未停止制造“事变”以阻挠中国实现和平统一。

近年来,五角大楼派出了更多的军舰过航台湾海峡,自2020年开始就已有30艘之多。去年,据《华尔街日报》报道,一支美国特种作战部队和一支海军陆战队特遣队一直在台湾秘密训练台军人员。

北京有充分理由怀疑华盛顿只是在口头上履行其“一个中国”的承诺。如果中美竞争如拜登所言是“极限的”,如美国国务卿布林肯所言“中国是世界上唯一一个有军事、经济、外交能力来削弱或挑战这些基于规则的秩序的国家”,美国不正好将台湾用作其印太战略大棋盘上一个马前卒?

俄乌冲突为中国人民解放军提供了可借鉴的经验。俄军最大的错误是一开始轻敌,在其对多条战线同时发起的进攻中暴露明显,而且人员不足、后勤补给迟滞,指挥链不畅。

解放军不可能犯这样的错误。美国的《与台湾关系法》并没有明确规定美国军队有义务协防台湾,但可以肯定的是,解放军将为美军和美国盟友的干预做好战斗准备。

换言之,无论美国的对台政策“战略模糊”还是“战略清晰”,都不会阻碍解放军的军事准备。在近日的香格里拉对话会中,中国国务委员兼国防部长魏凤和明确强调,如果有人胆敢把台湾分裂出去,解放军必将 “不惜一战”。  

台湾问题是中国的核心利益之一。这意味着中国人民解放军决不会在主权之战中失败。一旦战争开始,像俄乌冲突中的僵局极不可能出现,停火谈判更是绝无可能。

拜登喜欢引用他父亲的话说,比有意挑起的冲突更糟糕的,只能是无意间引发的冲突。问题在于,在台湾海峡,如果发生冲突,都不会是无意为之的。

翻译:蒋绍澄

核译:许馨匀 韩桦

China’s red lines on Taiwan are clear, whatever the US says about its policy of strategic ambiguity

Will the United States come to defend Taiwan militarily in a war across the Taiwan Strait? This million-dollar question so far has two answers from the same administration – yes, according to US President Joe Biden when he was asked in Tokyo in late May; not necessarily, according to White House aides who quickly walked back his comment and said America’s “one China” policy had not changed.

This question becomes all the more interesting if one compares Biden’s attitudes towards Moscow and Beijing. Ever since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Biden has consistently said US troops would not directly engage in this conflict.

If Biden is determined to avoid direct conflict with Russia, why is he so adamant to provoke a potential war with China? The People’s Liberation Army, the largest armed forces in the world, would not be less formidable than the Russian military.

The PLA Navy has three aircraft carriers – compared with Russia’s only aircraft carrier that has been undergoing repairs for years – and even more ships than the US navy. On June 17, China unveiled its third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, a locally designed carrier equipped with an electromagnetic catapult for launching aircraft.

So, if indeed China is a greater long-term threat than Russia, as the Biden administration has concluded, shouldn’t Washington try to avoid a conflict with China, especially as it would be fought in a faraway battlefield where the US has fewer allies while Beijing has all the advantages of fighting on home turf?

Perhaps the reason is, unlike Moscow that has threatened NATO with nuclear attacks, Beijing vows it would never be the first to use nuclear weapons in any circumstances.

If Russia’s nuclear stockpile – the world’s largest – had played a decisive role in deterring US involvement, Beijing might have to reconsider its “small and effective” nuclear arsenal. Theoretically, a no-first-use policy requires a large nuclear arsenal to enable an effective retaliatory second strike after surviving the enemy’s first strike.

In spite of Biden’s reiteration afterwards of US adherence to the “one China” policy, his apparent gaffe – the third in nine months – would seem to signal a bourgeoning US policy of “strategic clarity”, a shift from its decades-old policy of “strategic ambiguity”.

Biden’s Taiwan defence ‘gaffes’ are no laughing matter.

Supporters of strategic ambiguity believe such a policy would deter China while not emboldening those in Taiwan who favour independence. Supporters of strategic clarity, however, argue that such vagueness is already inadequate to deter a possible attack by mainland China.

Notwithstanding China’s determination for reunification and the PLA sending its aircraft flying near Taiwan as a warning, there is no indication the mainland is accelerating its plan to take over Taiwan because of the war in Ukraine.

China’s 2022 defence budget, announced after the eruption of the conflict, was kept within 2 per cent of its GDP, as it has been in recent years. It speaks volumes of China’s assessment of the security environment and its confidence about eventual reunification with Taiwan.

According to China’s anti-secession law, China would only resort to non-peaceful means in its attempt to reunify with the island under three circumstances: Taiwan has declared independence; a major incident has occurred leading to Taiwan’s secession from China; or if all the possible avenues for a peaceful reunification have been completely exhausted.

The probability of the Taiwanese authorities declaring independence is next to impossible, since it would most certainly invite a military response from across the strait. But in Beijing’s eyes, Washington has never ceased in creating “incidents” to impede the mainland’s efforts for a peaceful unification.

The Pentagon has sent more warships sailing through the Taiwan Strait in recent years – 30 since the start of 2020. Last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that a US special-operations unit and a contingent of marines have been secretly operating in Taiwan to train military forces there.

Beijing has good reason to suspect Washington is only paying lip service to its “one China” pledge. If the competition between China and the US is to be “extreme”, as Biden described, and if indeed China is “the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it”, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken asserted, won’t the US make use of Taiwan as a convenient pawn in the grand chessboard of the Indo-Pacific?

The conflict in Ukraine provides lessons to learn for the PLA. The Russian military’s biggest error was underestimating its enemy in the beginning. This was clear in its attacks on multiple fronts without adequate troops, sufficient supplies and logistics support, and a clear line of command.

Such mistakes are unlikely to be made by the PLA. The Taiwan Relations Act does not explicitly oblige American forces to come to the island’s defence. But you can be sure the PLA would be prepared for such a fight, involving not just American troops but all its allies in the region.  

In other words, neither America’s strategic ambiguity or strategic clarity could hold back PLA’s military buildup. At the recent Shangri-La Dialogue, Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe vowed to “fight to the very end” to stop a Taiwanese secession.

The Taiwan issue is one of China’s core interests. That means the PLA cannot afford to lose in a war fighting for China’s sovereignty. Once a war starts, a stalemate as we are seeing in Ukraine is highly unlikely, and a ceasefire would be out of the question.

Biden likes to quote his father in saying the only conflict worse than an intended one is an unintended one. The problem is, in the Taiwan Strait, there won’t be any unintended conflicts.

【原文链接:https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3182379/chinas-red-lines-taiwan-are-clear-whatever-us-says-about-its-policy】

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