Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Jason Hu (胡志強) warned against getting involved in US president-elect Donald Trump’s “big power play,” ahead of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) transit stop in the US this weekend.
Taiwan should instead seek to strengthen one-on-one ties with nations such as the US, China and Japan, Hu said.
Trump broke diplomatic protocol by taking a telephone call from Tsai last month and later linking the US’ policy on Taiwan to a better trade deal with China.
Taiwan cannot afford to get involved in a “multilateral chess game,” said Hu, who previously served as minister of foreign affairs, in an interview on Wednesday in Taipei.
“We should not be antagonistic to any of the major powers of the world,” he said, without referring to Tsai’s trip specifically. “Taiwan is small, we need to make friends with everybody.”
While Tsai’s office has not announced any scheduled meetings with Trump officials and her transit through the US en route to Central America is in line with past practice, Hu urged caution.
“People in Taiwan thought he could do this for us, he could do that,” Hu said, when asked about his hopes for the incoming US leader. “We’re not on the front burner.”
Following the Tsai-Trump call, China stepped up military movements around Taiwan, sailing its aircraft carrier and five warships near the nation before conducting drills in the South China Sea.
Tsai is to transit in Houston today. She is to attend the inauguration of Nicaragua’s president and visit Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador before stopping in San Francisco on her way back to Taiwan.
Her office has declined to say whether she is to meet any US officials during the stopovers.
“There are people in Taiwan who consider mainland Chinese enemies,” Hu said in the interview. “The best way to change your enemy is to make him your friend.”
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