Tsai’s ‘four-pronged ap­proach’ to for­eign pol­icy faces crit­i­cism


Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party (DPP) Chair­woman Tsai Ing-wen’s ( ) pro­posal for a “four-pronged ap­proach” to Tai­wan’s for­eign pol­icy in for­eign me­dia gar­nered a skep­ti­cal re­sponse from politi­cians in Tai­wan yes­ter­day.

Tsai’s com­men­tary ar­ti­cle ti­tled “Tai­wan Can Build on U.S. Ties” in the Wall Street Jour­nal pro­poses build­ing and ex­pand­ing upon the Tai­wan-U.S. re­la­tion­ship to main­tain sta­bil­ity and peace in Asia, en­hanc­ing re­la­tions with other coun­tries, and fur­ther­ing Tai­wan’s own econ­omy and for­eign poli­cies.

In re­sponse to the com­men­tary’s cross-strait stance, a Pres­i­den­tial Of­fice of­fi­cial pointed out that Tsai does not men­tioned “main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo” any­where in the ar­ti­cle, and crit­i­cized her for play­ing both sides and be­ing in­con­sis­tent.

The of­fi­cial claimed that Tsai had failed to pro­vide a con­crete ex­am­ple of fur­ther­ing and strength­en­ing re­la­tions with China, which is vi­tal to Tai­wan-U. S. re­la­tions, and only talked about fur­ther­ing ties with the U.S.

Tai­wan's Main­land Af­fairs Coun­cil head An­drew Hsia ( ) said that they will con­tinue to ob­serve the DPP chair­woman’s “main­tain­ing the sta­tus-quo” stance.

Hsia sug­gested that Tsai will prob­a­bly re­lease more de­tails about her cross-strait poli­cies in the later stages of her U.S. tour.

Four-pronged Ap­proach: Tsai

The can­di­date out­lined her “four-pronged ap­proach” to for­eign pol­icy, which in­cludes broad­en­ing mul­ti­fac­eted co­op­er­a­tion with the U.S., iden­ti­fy­ing and par­tic­i­pat­ing in in­ter­na­tional projects that Tai­wan can sup­port for the ben­e­fit of the global com­mu­nity, pro­tect­ing Tai­wan’s eco­nomic au­ton­omy through trade di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and en­hanc­ing prin­ci­pled co­op­er­a­tion with China.

In terms of na­tional se­cu­rity, Tsai said that through the “grow­ing chal­lenges pre­sented by cli­mate change and the in­creas­ing fre­quency of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters across the Asi­aPa­cific,” she prom­ises to com­mit to an open-dia­logue with the U.S., China, Ja­pan, South Korea and other na­tions to “for­tify the re­gion’s hu­man­i­tar­ian and nat­u­ral-dis­as­ter re­lief ar­chi­tec­ture and ca­pa­bil­i­ties.”

As for eco­nomic pol­icy, in the near term Tsai pro­posed to en­sure Tai­wan joins the “Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship and other re­gional eco­nomic agree­ments,” and this will be­come a high­light of her pres­i­den­tial term should she be elected, she said.

“Ad­her­ing to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, re­duc­ing bu­reau­cratic red- tape and stream­lin­ing our in­vest­ment pro­cesses” are the can­di­date’s plans to in­crease in- vestors’ will­ing­ness to put money into Tai­wan, which in turn could bol­ster Tsai’s hopes for Tai­wan to in­creas­ingly par­tic­i­pate in more in­ter­na­tional projects.

Open Chan­nels of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion: Tsai

As for the much con­sid­ered poli­cies re­gard­ing ties with China, Tsai stated that im­ple­ment­ing a trans­par­ent process to en­sure “trust and co­op­er­a­tion” with China will be the high­light of her cross-strait stance.

Tsai said that to en­sure “a more con­sis­tent and sus­tain­able re­la­tion­ship,” cross-strait ties re­quire “open chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion” with China’s lead­er­ship and the peo­ple of Tai­wan.

She fur­ther cited peo­ple’s en­raged re­ac­tions dur­ing last March’s Sun­flower Move­ment as an ex­am­ple of how the public feels if they are “left out” of dis­cus­sions re­gard­ing the na­tion’s fu­ture.

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