24 March 2018   Leave a comment

On 16 March, US President Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act which allows high-level US officials to meet with high-level Taiwanese officials.  The act signals a major change is US-Taiwan relations after over 40 years of relative quiescence.  In 1972 the US and China agreed (in what was known as the Shanghai Communique) that there was only one China, ending years of US official recognition of Taiwan as the representative of the Chinese people despite complete control of the Chinese mainland by the Chinese Communist Party.  The 1972 agreement stipulated that China would not take control of Taiwan by force and the US would not support Taiwanese independence.  The Taiwan Travel Act upsets that agreement and the Chinese were furious over the move–indeed, the Act was more upsetting to Beijing than the threat of US tariffs against Chinese exports.  After all, the Act threatens sovereignty, not just economic activity.  The degree of anger was expressed by the Global Times, a newspaper often regarded as an official mouthpiece for Beijing:

“The mainland must also prepare itself for a direct military clash in the Taiwan Straits. It needs to make clear that escalation of US-Taiwan official exchanges will bring serious consequences to Taiwan. This newspaper has suggested that the mainland can send military planes and warships across the Taiwan Straits middle line. This can be implemented gradually depending on the cross-Straits situation.

“Preventing the Taiwan independence movement and promoting unification through peaceful ways can be costly, perhaps costing more than the short-term loss brought about by forceful unification. It’s a misunderstanding to think that peaceful unification will be a harmonious and happy process. The Taiwan authority will only turn around when left with no choice. Sticks matter more than flowers on the path to peaceful reunification.”

 

The lefty British newspaper, The Guardian has published an article on the views of President Trump’s new National Security Advisor, John Bolton.  It is predictably critical, but makes a point of quoting Mr. Bolton directly.  There is little question that he is quite a hawk and that his views on the value of military action against Iran and North Korea are provocative and dangerous.  Mr. Bolton’s op-ed piece in the New York Times in 2015 on the need to bomb Iran gives good insight into his views.

John Bolton

Posted March 24, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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