If Washington really wants to avoid Taiwan becoming more politically involved with China, it really needs to take certain strategic steps to that end. These would include supporting Taiwan’s participation in major international organizations beyond just APEC, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum. In addition, it should sell us advanced weapons that would allow us to engage in asymmetric warfare with China.
If Beijing does not want us to favor Washington politically, it should cut us some slack. It could, for example, allow us to participate in a number of international organizations, those perhaps of a relatively low-level political nature. It could even enter into talks with us about signing a cross-strait South China Sea resources exploitation cooperation framework agreement, one that does not impinge upon questions of sovereignty.
In dealing with the strategic competition between Beijing and Washington, Taipei has to use its influence as a counterbalance between the two powers to ensure that relations between them continue to develop and in the process enhance Taiwan’s international and regional role.
Lee In-ming is vice president of the China University of Science and Technology.
Translated by Paul Cooper