Fri, May 06, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Ma, Tsai have work to do with US

By Liu Shih-chung 劉世忠

While these nominations still have to be approved by US Congress, these changes have several implications.

First, they are meant to strengthen the US’ ability to respond to sudden regional crises (eg, North Korea), its pullout from Afghanistan and its policy of engaging and counterbalancing China. Second, they reflect Washington’s increased focus on strengthening relations with its Asia-Pacific allies — Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore and India. And third, as the US presidential election approaches, the Obama administration is not likely to want to appear too weak in US-China relations.

Although there will not be any changes in US policy on Taiwan, these new appointments will be monitoring the political situation in Taiwan and cross-strait developments once Taiwan’s presidential election campaign begins in earnest. Ma must pay attention to changes in US strategy to maintain the balance in Asia. As for Tsai, she may be able to turn her US visit into news for domestic consumption, but Obama’s new Asia-Pacific team is sure to pressure her on her cross-strait policy to make sure that there will not be any major changes if the DPP returns to power. These are the things Ma and Tsai should focus on.

Liu Shih-chung is a senior research fellow at Taiwan Brain Trust.

TRANSLATED BY PERRY SVENSSON

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