The ongoing US-China trade dispute has escalated into a broader conflict that could further threaten Taiwan’s future, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) said yesterday, adding that Taiwan must take a more neutral approach when dealing with the two nations.
The dispute has culminated in a war “on all fronts,” including technologies and food supply, after Beijing made it clear on Sunday that it would not back down if the US were to escalate the conflict, Gou, who is seeking the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential nomination, told a news conference in Taipei.
The US and China might be falling into Thucydides’ Trap, Gou said, referring to a phrase coined by Harvard University professor Graham Allison to describe a recurring pattern in history where a rising power challenges a fear-inspiring rival.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Over the past 500 years, the pattern has occurred 16 times, and 12 times it led to war, Gou said, citing Allison.
The pattern has appeared for the 17th time and could lead to “major warfare in the Taiwan Strait,” Gou said.
The US has been tightening the screws on a number of its major trading partners as US President Donald Trump seeks to lower the nation’s trade deficit, he said.
The US has announced plans to impose a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican imports and remove India’s preferential trade status, while South Korea appears unaffected due to a free-trade agreement it has signed with the US, he said.
Caught between the two nations, Taiwan must stay neutral to avoid unforeseeable dangers, he said.
Taiwan should not take sides, but if it must, it should be done in a manner that would ensure the sovereignty of the Republic of China, and be in line with a neutral foreign policy approach and balanced economy, he said.
“Taiwan cannot and must not fall into the mire of this war between the two great powers,” he said, adding that ensuring the nation’s safety and security would be a key objective of his platform.
If elected president, he would seek to sign a free-trade pact with the US and rebuild a supply chain in the US, he said, adding that the process would take years and should begin soon.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been “very naive” when dealing with the trade war and should stop indulging in “blind optimism,” he said.
Tsai has taken a pro-US approach while refusing to engage China, and such a stance could lead to a serious political and economic crisis for Taiwan, he said.
She should focus more on resolving issues related to the trade dispute instead of on next year’s presidential election, he said.
Every presidential candidate should be concerned about the nation’s economy, national defense and security instead of simply holding election campaigns, he said.
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