While tensions between the United States and North Korea remain high over the North’s nuclear and missile ambitions, one Chinese think tank researcher decided to up the ante—declaring that China should use force against Taiwan if the U.S. attacked North Korea.
Yu Yingli, an assistant researcher with the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS), a think tank affiliated with the Shanghai government, made the bellicose remark in the television program “From Phoenix to the World,” aired on Feb. 15 on the broadcaster Phoenix Television. Phoenix is based in Hong Kong but widely understood to be part of Beijing’s overseas propaganda apparatus.
“In the past, we used to rule out linking the North Korea nuclear problem with Taiwan,” said Yu. “But now, I think that if the United States wants to stubbornly go down the military path [against North Korea], China could consider thinking about North Korea and Taiwan as one problem,” she continued.
“If United States does not rule out the use of military force to resolve the North’s problems, our longstanding view is also that we should never rule out the use of force against Taiwan.”
After the Chinese Communist Party won the Civil War in 1949, resulting in the Nationalist Party retreating to Taiwan, the regime has sought the assimilation of the island into the People’s Republic of China, including by the use of military force if necessary. Taiwanese, on the other hand, have enjoyed their de facto political independence since the 1990s; the island-nation just held its sixth presidential election in January this year.
On the popular online forum Kdnet, Yu became a laughingstock among sophisticated Internet users. One with the name “ych0526” equated Yu’s suggestion to a father who held his own son hostage after being surrounded by police in a bank robbery.
While some netizens question whether China could win if it were to go to war with Taiwan, a commentator wrote: “Well you know the education standard in China when people like this get doctorates.”
Others vented about North Korea. “I support the United States of America to remove this evil regime,” one comment said, which was forwarded and liked by many other users.