The U.S. government has deployed an armada from its Seventh Fleet toward China and Taiwan. The USS Independence and Nimitz aircraft carriers, with their accompanying submarines, battleships, and more than 100 combat aircraft, are one of the biggest naval mobilizations in the region since the Vietnam War. Working people everywhere should loudly protest Washington's war-mongering threats against China.
The heart of this conflict is China's right to national reunification. The Chinese people, who tore their country out of the hands of the world's capitalist exploiters half a century ago, are now making progress toward taking back Hong Kong and Macao, colonial enclaves that are due to return to China over the next three years. This brings reunification with Taiwan to the fore - a prospect the capitalist rulers in Taipei and Washington loathe.
The Chinese government is right when it affirms that "Taiwan is a part of China and not a protectorate of the United States." Even the U.S. government was forced to acknowledge China's right to reunification in 1972, when it began the normalization of relations with Beijing.
For decades before, the U.S. rulers had imposed a trade embargo and refused to recognize China and its nearly one billion people. The masters of the U.S. empire have never been able to stomach the fact that they "lost China" - to the Chinese workers and farmers. The socialist revolution in that country in the late 1940s and early 1950s was a giant victory for the world's working people and a deadly blow to imperialism.
Taiwan, where the U.S.-backed Chinese capitalists fled after the revolution, is now an important U.S. trading partner. Serving as a proxy for Washington, the regime there has built up a large imperialist-supplied military machine directed at Beijing. The Clinton administration has encouraged the government of President Lee Teng-hui to step up its campaign for international recognition. These probes have accelerated with the impending return of Hong Kong and Macao to China.
The confrontation between Washington and the Chinese workers state is fueled by the heightened economic competition between the capitalist powers in the Pacific - part of the growing interimperialist rivalries worldwide. The U.S. imperialist rulers are simultaneously carrying out war preparations against the workers state in Yugoslavia, and have made aggressive moves against revolutionary Cuba.
In the Pacific, both Washington and Tokyo are vying for markets and power. The Japanese capitalists don't want their U.S. rivals to gain further dominance in Taiwan, a former Japanese colony, and are thus reluctant to aid the U.S. government in the current conflict. This tense situation between the two imperialist powers is further strained by mass protests in Japan against the presence of U.S. military bases, especially in Okinawa.
The large deployment of U.S. naval forces and the face-off between the heavily armed forces of Taipei and Beijing create an explosive mixture. In this situation, the consequences of Washington's moves - including any provocation by the Taiwanese regime - are not wholly under its control.
Working people should demand that Washington immediately stop its threats against China and pull out its military forces from the region. All U.S. trade sanctions against China should be opposed.
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