Change of pace needed
Recent developments in relations between China and some of Taiwan’s Latin American allies seem to show a shift in Beijing’s policy of a “diplomatic truce” unilaterally proclaimed by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
The foreseeable downgrading of Honduras’ diplomatic representation in Taiwan might not be the doing only of Honduras, but part of a new scheme by Beijing to turn Taiwan’s allies’ links with Taipei into “consular ties,” and under the “one China” policy allow them to open trade offices and then embassies.
Taiwan is at a crossroads of choosing its future, as the fast economic, political and military emergence of the People’s Republic of China, coupled with the decline of Japan, the rise of South Korea and the economic crises in the EU and US, are framing a new world.
The present course of prioritizing soft relations with China in the political arena, and the lack of prioritizing the development of first-class technology in the economic area seems to be leading Taiwan nowhere.
I am neither for nor against Taiwan’s integration into China or a “New China,” but I feel that the present course of original equipment manufacturing and putting all the eggs in China’s basket is quite dangerous.
Taiwan should consider forging a strong economic alliance with Japan that could give new impetus to the economies of both countries, help reduce Taiwan’s economic dependence on China and inject higher technology expertise into Taiwan.
China should remain an important objective of Taiwan’s politics and economy, but there is a need for more concrete planning, creativity and caution in relations with Beijing — framed by inevitability, need, opportunities and danger.