As Taiwan prepares for local elections on Saturday, it is imperative that the United States refrain from interfering in or manipulating the election process. Ironically, according to Reuters, a senior official from the Biden administration stated on Wednesday that the US strongly opposes any external interference in the elections, sending a clear message to the Chinese mainland.
Let's consider the facts. First, there is only one China and Taiwan is an integral part of China, which is recognized by all countries including the US. The US' talk of external interference in the elections rings hollow when it comes from a country with a history of meddling in the internal affairs of others.
The US has its fair share of interferences in China's internal affairs, and yes, that includes the Chinese island's elections.
The official, speaking to journalists on condition he/she not be named, emphasized that Washington maintains a neutral stance regarding the elections and does not endorse or favor any specific candidate. If this is indeed the case, it is important for the US to avoid sending misleading messages to the politicians in Taiwan.
Adding a layer of complexity is the ongoing military collaboration between the US and Taiwan, complete with more and larger arms sales. The US' approval of a $300 million arms deal right before the elections raises eyebrows and prompts questions about the underlying message.
In what could be another provocative move for Beijing, US officials are suggesting an unofficial post-election visit to Taiwan. Also, the interactions between the US and Taiwan officials, especially during this politically charged period, could be seen as provocations by Beijing.
However, some players in Taiwan seem willing to align with the US, perhaps even at the expense of the island's broader interests. A case in point: mistaking a mainland satellite for a missile in the lead-up to the elections. A mix-up that underscores institutional failure, political complications, and a sense of helplessness on the island.
Accusing the Chinese mainland of meddling in Taiwan elections is a baseless charge. The US might want to reflect on its own role as an observer rather than an active participant.
Taiwan residents face a crucial choice — they not only need to choose the island's leadership, but also choose between war or peace depending on the leadership's future policies. The hope is that Taiwan residents will prudently make this decision themselves and for themselves. While for the US, it's time to stop dancing in someone else's ballroom.