Although the US has a policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan, it is committed to the security and wellbeing of Taiwanese, a US academic told a conference on Taiwan international relations on Friday.
“We are not ambiguous about our opposition to the threat or use of military force or any other form of coercion [against Taiwan],” Alan Romberg, the director of the East Asia program at the Stimson Center, said in a speech at the George Washington University conference.
However, Romberg stressed that the US also attached great importance to having constructive relations with China and so opposed all “unnecessary acts of provocation” that would harm these interests. He said that the US left open the question of whether it would become involved in a military conflict between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
“[This] Strategic ambiguity is designed to say to the mainland [China]: ‘Don’t assume that we won’t become involved if you use or threaten force against Taiwan,” he said. “And it says to Taiwan: ‘Don’t assume we will become involved.’”
Romberg said that if Washington said that it would come into the fray no matter what could encourage radical elements in Taiwan to push for de jure independence.
“This could have catastrophic implications for Taiwan, for US-PRC relations and for stability in the region,” he said.
Yet if Washington said it would not under any circumstance become militarily engaged in a Taiwan-China conflict, that could create a dynamic in which coercion could be applied far more easily, Romberg said.
“As we all know, the situation over the [Taiwan] Strait has changed dramatically over the last several years and the positions of the authorities in both Beijing and Taipei have evolved substantially,” he said, but added that the underlying reality had not changed.
“Beijing still holds the goal of ultimate reunification [with Taiwan] and not only might different circumstances in Taiwan change the cross-strait climate, [but] a different political climate on the mainland might cause a rethinking of the current patience,” Romberg said.
He added that while the chances of a Taiwanese movement toward de jure independence in were somewhere “between zero and minus-76,” China could not completely trust that such a push would not happen.
While the idea of a war in the Taiwan Strait soon was “a bit far-fetched,” China, Taiwan and the US should still prepare for it.
“In pursuing this complex and nuanced policy, clarity in some respects is essential, but in other respects, focused ambiguity helps to create the space necessary for the two sides to interact effectively,” Romberg said. “It may not be as satisfying as a definitive position, but it works and that’s what matters.”
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
‘NOT COLD ENOUGH’: Schools are disregarding Premier Su Tseng-chang’s instruction that students may wear out-of-uniform clothing to stay warm, an association said An investigative report revealed that 72.5 percent of the nation’s senior-high schools and 95.6 percent of junior-high schools punish students for wearing unapproved winter clothes in contravention of educational guidelines, lawmakers and student rights advocates said yesterday. Speaking at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan, the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy said there is an endemic disregard for the Ministry of Education’s regulations and that private schools are more likely to contravene ministry rules. The report is a compilation of 2,856 student reports about dress code reinforcement at 425 high schools and vocational high schools, the association said. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌)
DECADES OF INFLUENCE: Over the past 20 years, China has made inroads with Aborigines, funding political campaigns and trips, a legislator said Lawmakers have called on the National Security Bureau to investigate claims of pervasive Chinese influence among Aboriginal communities. Legislators pointed to a surge in communist propaganda and Chinese-funded projects over the past few years, which they say are aimed at infiltrating and buying political influence among Aboriginal communities. “China has for decades carried out wide-ranging ‘united front’ tactics and propaganda campaigns targeting Aborigines,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩), a member of the Puyuma community in Taitung County. “Now, they are influencing elections for local councilors and village chiefs, offering money for candidates to mount their campaigns, and to
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last