While punishing Taiwan may be Beijing’s proximate aim, China may also hope to convince the Trump administration that closer engagement with Taipei isn’t in their interests, as this will inevitably lead to renewed instability in the Taiwan Strait, argues J. Michael Cole
The News Lens
By: J. Michael Cole
The recent 10-minute telephone conversation between US President-elect Donald Trump and
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has sparked much speculation about a possible shift in U.S. policy vis-à-vis the self-ruled democratic island nation, and the consequences of such a move on the all-important Sino-American relationship.
At this juncture it is difficult to determine to what extent the phone conversation (and subsequent tweets by Trump) portend a change in the direction of Washington’s relationship with Taiwan, with which it has had close (albeit unofficial) diplomatic relations since 1979. It’s clear the call was a boost for President Tsai’s image domestically and provided some reassurance (premature, perhaps) that President Trump will not include Taiwan in a “grand bargain” with China. We can also be certain Trump did not take the call on a whim or due to ignorance of international relations: the potential repercussions are simply too serious. [FULL STORY]