Mon, Jul 02, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Ryan Hass on Taiwan: Taiwan needs to adapt to a shifting strategic environment

To be clear, neither Washington nor Taipei have conducted their unofficial relations with each other in recent months in ways that deviate from longstanding practice. President Trump and members of his administration have reaffirmed the United States commitment to the “one China policy” based on the Taiwan Relations Act and the three US-PRC joint communiques. And President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been steadfastly committed to maintaining the cross-strait status quo, even at the expense of frustrating some of her supporters, who have criticized her reluctance to push back more firmly against pressure from the mainland.

The key point is that Beijing is becoming both more touchy and more assertive toward Taiwan at the same time as the United States is putting “America first” in its pursuit of foreign policy objectives. “America first” does not mean Taiwan alone. Taiwan still enjoys deep support throughout the United States government and on a bipartisan basis in the Congress. But it does mean that Taiwan’s strategic environment is evolving, and that Taiwan will need to remain proactive. Taiwan does not have the luxury of being able to be inwardly focused or inattentive to the concerns of its closest friends, including the United States. Rather, Taiwan needs to operate with a sense of urgency. The more Taiwan can strengthen its ability to defend itself; deepen its relations with like-minded partners; show its unwavering willingness to meet Beijing halfway in managing cross-strait relations; unlock the talents of its people; and improve its ability to attract capital, talent, and technology from around the world, the better Taiwan will be able to navigate the shifting strategic currents to position itself for the future.

Ryan Hass is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, where he holds a joint appointment to the John L. Thornton China Center and the Center for East Asia Policy Studies.

This story has been viewed 4203 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top