Trump, stand up to China
President-elect Donald Trump’s suggestion to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip with China made it clear that Mr. Trump is willing to buck tradition as a negotiating tactic. But at what price? As history can attest, before they took office several U.S. presidents loudly criticized Beijing, leaving Taipei with high expectations. Presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush all did this. But when push came to shove, the presidents who had the worst impact on Taiwan were often the ones who criticized China the most loudly. Is Mr. Trump really going to be the lone exception?
Mr. Trump’s call with Taiwan’s president signifies his understanding that Taiwan is a nation, and the conversation was a good start to the development of relations between Taiwan and the new U.S. administration. Mr. Trump’s questioning of the “One China” policy not only sends a stern message to those nations that chose to kowtow to Beijing’s bullying when it comes to Taiwan, but also stops China’s efforts to diminish Taiwan. Now China must stop forcing isolation on Taiwan.
The international community might now start to see the importance of dealing with Taiwan on its own terms, and more importantly, deferring issues about sovereignty to the 23 million people that call Taiwan home. The new administration should do more to support Taiwan, which is a successful democracy and an important strategic partner in East Asia.
Advisory commissioner for the Overseas Community Affairs Council of Republic of China (Taiwan) in the United States Potomac Falls, Va.