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Thread: Trump's Asia

  1. #1
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Trump's Asia

    Trump's 10 minutes inspire hopes in Taiwan
    By Johnson Lai and Nomaan Merchant, AP
    December 5, 2016, 12:00 am TWN



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    TAIPEI--With a 10-minute phone call and two tweets, Donald Trump inspired banner headlines and renewed hopes across Taiwan for a stronger partnership with the United States, while also inflaming the complex relationships between the U.S., mainland China, and the self-governing island China regards as a renegade province.

    Whether the U.S. president-elect meant to jump into the generational fight between China and Taiwan remains an open question. But by speaking to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Trump upended four decades of American foreign policy and engaged China directly on the issue of Taiwan, which Beijing has threatened to reclaim by force if necessary. No American president or president-elect has publicly spoken to Taiwan's leader since the U.S. ended their formal diplomatic relationship in 1979. Four of his words drew particular attention in Taiwanese newspapers: Trump's reference, in a follow-up tweet, to Tsai being "the President of Taiwan."

    The phrase is far from benign for China, which regards any reference to a Taiwanese president as an unacceptable acknowledgement of Taiwan's statehood. Official Chinese pronouncements typically refer to the Taiwanese president as "the Taiwan regional leader."

    Chinese leaders have indicated they dislike Tsai, who was elected in January from a pro-Taiwan independence party and became the island's first female president.

    Taiwanese are divided over whether they support independence, a formal unification, or the status quo, in which China and Taiwan maintain robust social and economic exchanges while the island retains its democracy and de facto independence. Chinese President Xi Jinping, however, has warned that the issue of unification cannot be put off indefinitely.

    Yang Chih-kai, a 22-year-old university student at Taiwan's Tamkang University, said Saturday that the call raised Taiwanese hopes for a stronger relationship with the United States.

    "People will think that the U.S. will keep on helping Taiwan protect itself against China's threat," Yang said.

    Chen Chun-hao, a 43-year-old designer, said Trump might "bring more help" to Taiwan now that both sides had opened a dialogue.

    "I believe that this could help Taiwan in its international status and its global situation," Chen said.

    Kao-cheng Wang, dean of Tamkang University's college of international studies, said he believes Trump might increase American exports to Taiwan and try to strengthen economic ties between the two sides.

    "Trump will not be restricted by the established foreign policy," Wang said. "The diplomatic policy may be flexible after he takes office."

    China cut off diplomatic contact with Taiwan in June, one month after Tsai took office, accusing her of refusing to endorse the concept that Taiwan is a part of China. Last month, Xi met with Taiwan's opposition leader, Nationalist Party Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu.

    The Taiwanese presidential office said Trump and Tsai discussed issues affecting Asia and the future of U.S. relations with Taiwan. Tsai also told Trump that she hoped the U.S. would support Taiwan in its participation in international affairs, the office said, in an apparent reference to China's efforts to isolate Taiwan from global institutions such as the United Nations.

    Taiwan's presidential office spokesman Alex Huang said separately that Taiwan's relations with China and "healthy" Taiwan-U.S. relations can proceed in parallel.
    http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/f.../Trumps-10.htm
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    The pan green idiot commentariat here in the States has been pretty quiet since Der Donald's Sunday interview on Fox News, where he essentially put Taiwan up for sale in return for Mainland concesssions on trade and North Korea.

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    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    What worries me is what Trump might do if the Chinese play smart and actually negotiate with him. Say China agrees to push up the value of the Renminbi, reduce import duties on goods from the US and some other minor concession.

    In exchange, Trump agrees that Taiwan isn’t really trying to defend itself, and therefore isn’t worthy of US protection…

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    When i heard about this a few days ago i was laughing. How plucky ing wen is. She gambled and it paid off, he actually took her call : D

    Another article i read trump wanted to know what China was doing about NK. Fair question.

    Chinese media calls Trump an 'ignorant child'. heh, maybe this kind of arrogance deserves what Trump did in the first place.

    From what i've seen he is trying to build leverage, saying everything is up for question. Hard balling everyone. Keeps others on their toes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    When i heard about this a few days ago i was laughing. How plucky ing wen is. She gambled and it paid off, he actually took her call : D

    Another article i read trump wanted to know what China was doing about NK. Fair question.

    Chinese media calls Trump an 'ignorant child'. heh, maybe this kind of arrogance deserves what Trump did in the first place.

    From what i've seen he is trying to build leverage, saying everything is up for question. Hard balling everyone. Keeps others on their toes.
    She's going to regret paying Bob Dole to draw attention to the Taiwan Straits in the next couple of years once the Trump Org starts building hotels with a partial equity stake in the Mainland.

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    Trump risks cross-strait stability if he reneges on 'one China' - the Straits Times
    Monday, Jan 2, 2017

    Sao Tome and Principe's recent switch in diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China is, to many, Beijing punishing Taipei for not adhering to the "one China" principle and attempting to tread a Taiwan independence path in the international arena. But it is likely also a signal to United States President-elect Donald Trump that it benefits no one, least of all Taiwan, if he were to overturn Washington's decades-old "one China" policy.

    Sao Tome's severing of diplomatic ties with Taiwan and China's re-establishing of ties with the African state came less than a month after Mr Trump spoke on the phone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Dec 2 last year, breaking with a nearly four-decade-old tradition of no direct contact between top leaders of the two sides.


    China had at the time trained its crosshairs on Taiwan, calling the 10-minute phone conversation a "petty gambit" by the government of the island it regards as a breakaway province to be reunified at some point in time.

    About a week later, when asked about the phone call, Mr Trump questioned his country's "one China" policy, which had underpinned Sino-US relations since Washington switched diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China in 1979.

    "I don't know why we have to be bound by a 'one China' policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade," he said to news channel Fox News.

    China's reaction to Mr Trump's remarks was also measured, with its Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang saying: "We are seriously concerned about it.

    The Taiwan question has a bearing on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and is one of China's core interests."

    And China has every reason to be concerned.

    For through its "one China" policy, Washington recognises Beijing as the sole government of China.

    It also acknowledges China's position that there is only one China and that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to that one China - also known as the "one China" principle.

    The policy effectively puts Taiwan out in the cold diplomatically, because it is not just the US, but also the United Nations and most of the countries in the world that do not recognise Taiwan as a state.

    Taiwan has only 21 diplomatic allies after Sao Tome switched recognition, many of them small and impoverished states in Latin America, Africa and the South Pacific.

    In Washington's case, its recognition of China is balanced by its Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 that sought to ensure Taiwan's security by authorising the sale of arms to the island and requiring the executive branch to "inform the Congress promptly of any threat to the security or the social or economic system of the people on Taiwan and any danger to the interests of the United States arising therefrom".

    The US also insists on the peaceful resolution of the cross-strait issue while not supporting Taiwan's independence.

    In practical terms, while the US and Taiwan do not have diplomatic ties, Washington maintains close cultural and economic ties with the island and has a de facto embassy, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), through which it interacts with the Taiwan government.

    Importantly, the US "one China" policy is accompanied by a set of unstated guidelines, as noted by former AIT chief Richard Bush in his book Untying The Knot - Making Peace In The Taiwan Strait.

    These are "preventing a military imbalance between China and Taiwan; discouraging provocation by either side; discouraging both overconfidence and a lack of confidence; maintaining public support in the United States for US policies; and maintaining some degree of ambiguity on the US use of force", wrote Dr Bush.

    Through its "one China" policy and the accompanying guidelines, the US has maintained a delicate balance between its ties with China and Taiwan, at times disappointing one or the other side but never upsetting the apple cart.

    The closest the two sides came to a confrontation over Taiwan was in 1995-1996 after then Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui visited the US in June 1995.

    The visit led to a deterioration in the US-China relationship and China's missile exercises in the Taiwan Strait in the run-up to the Taiwanese presidential election in March 1996.

    The US sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to the Taiwan area to show its resolve to protect Taiwan and to avoid any accidental conflict.

    Now that Mr Trump has called the "one China" policy into question, many are led to wonder if he will renege on it.

    This will likely cause nervousness not only in Beijing but also in Washington and Taipei.

    Dr Bush, now a senior fellow at the John L. Thornton China Centre, was moved to write an open letter to Mr Trump in which he warned that doing so "would not provide leverage on trade, North Korea, the South China Sea, or any of the other issues that roil the (US-China) relationship.

    More likely, it would rattle the entire framework of the relationship, and cause Beijing to rethink its policy of seeking reunification by peaceful means".

    In Taipei, those supportive of Taiwan's independence applauded Mr Trump's remarks.

    Writing in the Taipei Times newspaper, former legislator Parris Chang said "it makes sense that Trump is questioning the 'one China' principle as the US does not support China's stance.

    Although it recognises that the People's Republic of China government is representative of China, it does not recognise (that) Taiwan belongs to China".

    He predicted that high-level talks between Taiwan and US officials would become easier as ties between the two sides were expected to improve.

    "Beijing hawks have warned that, if the US improves relations with Taiwan, China would punish the latter by imposing economic sanctions or buying off its diplomatic allies.

    However, the US will not stand by and watch Beijing bully Taiwan or annex it by military force," he wrote.

    But there are those who warned against being used as a bargaining chip by Mr Trump in the US' interest.

    "Trump is using words to irritate China in the hope of getting China to come to the negotiating table, but the danger is that he is raising false hopes that he has Taiwan's interests at heart when in fact he does not," said Taiwanese political analyst Yen Chen-shen.

    Taiwanese analyst Edward Chen warned that Mr Trump "will have no qualms selling Taiwan out".

    China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman An Fengshan said "upholding the 'one China' principle is the political basis of developing China-US relations".

    Interfering with or damaging this basis would mean that "the healthy, stable development of China-US relations is out of the question and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait will be seriously impacted", he added.

    It is anybody's guess what Mr Trump will do with regard to the "one China" policy once he assumes office on Jan 20.

    But some adjustment to the US' Taiwan policy is possible, given that there are some Taiwan-friendly individuals in Mr Trump's Cabinet, including incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus and trade chief Peter Navarro.

    With the Chinese characterising the Taiwan issue as the "most sensitive and complicated issue in China-US relations", Washington and Beijing are set to enter an uneasy period in their relationship and, for the Taiwan Strait, one of greater uncertainty.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
    She's going to regret paying Bob Dole to draw attention to the Taiwan Straits in the next couple of years once the Trump Org starts building hotels with a partial equity stake in the Mainland.
    next couple of years is a long time. Right now she's popular : )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    next couple of years is a long time. Right now she's popular : )
    Well, no one ever accused Tsai of thinking long term (look at those idiotic white elephant domestic defense projects she's blowing (or going to) money on).

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    How do you make the argument that Taiwan should spend less on defense ? or are there other areas of defense you would rather she spend on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    How do you make the argument that Taiwan should spend less on defense ? or are there other areas of defense you would rather she spend on.
    Other.

    She's spending scarce defense money (the defense share of GDP is below/around 3% right now) on domestic pork barrel projects, and they're already talking about white elephants like domestically built air defense destroyers (of which the ROC MoD has ridiculously lowballed the cost of), instead of mobile medium range SAMs, for instance.

    And then there's even more ridiculous stuff that fortunately remains on paper (apparently a domestically built VTOL fourth generation fighter jet).

    At least that stupid Cloud Peak missile (apparently a long range ramjet land attack cruise missile) looks to be dead.

    It'd be more feasible if they went in on an A2/AD (granted, that doesn't do anything about any Chinese Third Offset equivalent).

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