Sat, Aug 19, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Tensions over N Korea could affect Taiwan: forum

Staff writer, with CNA

Worsening relations between China and the US in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear expansion could have implications for Taiwan, experts said yesterday in a forum in Taipei on the development of Taiwan-US relations under changing dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region.

US President Donald Trump’s administration is likely to get tougher on China over North Korea and other issues such as the South China Sea and trade, former American Institute in Taiwan director William Stanton said.

China’s unwillingness to put sufficient pressure on North Korea, which has launched a series of intercontinental ballistic missile tests since late last month, has infuriated the US, he said.

The escalating tension between the US and China might leave Washington with no option but to increase its support for Taiwan through arms sales and trade, he said.

However, the deterioration in relations does not necessarily bode well for Taiwan, he said, adding: “Problems in dealing with the US could cause China to step up its measures against Taiwan.”

Former US representative Matthew Salmon said there is an opportunity for Taiwan after China’s failure to meet US expectations to exert its influence on North Korea.

“A strong alliance between the US, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan would provide greater stability to the region and with China, as we try to get them to be more forceful with North Korea in ceasing their nuclear ambitions,” Salmon said.

However, others said that while there are opportunities for Taiwan, they are not easy.

Jamestown Foundation fellow Peter Mattis said that the Trump administration has so far kept a steady hand in its foreign and defense policies in Asia.

“The more serious danger for Taiwan’s future is the continuing ‘status quo’ in US policy toward China,” he said, adding that as long as Washington prioritizes stability in US-China relations, Taiwan’s position will be precarious.

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