US election will not affect Taiwan: academics

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 - Page 3

The result of the upcoming US presidential election is unlikely to impact triangular relations between Taiwan, China and the US, academics said yesterday, but urged Taiwan to take a proactive approach in maximizing its role in the US’ pivot to Asia.

The US’ longstanding position on maintaining the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait is not likely to change regardless of who wins the presidency next month, Joanne Chang (裘兆琳), a research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of European and American Studies, told a forum on the impact of the US elections on trilateral relations.

China’s position in almost all major international political events — including Syria, Iran and North Korea — is different from that of the US, Chang said in her analysis of the fundamental differences between the two world powers.

That is why the US, which has turned its focus to Asia, may find that Taiwan should be able to play a more important role in Asia-Pacific diplomacy and that US-Taiwan relations should not be subordinated to US-China relations, she said.

Chang, a former deputy representative to the US, urged Taiwan to prepare itself and be proactive on the economic front, more so if US President Barack Obama is re-elected. Obama would have to advance the US’ economic agenda in the Asia-Pacific region, notably the promotion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), along with increased military presence in the region, Chang said.

While Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney has expressed his wish to sell Taiwan F-16C/D jets if elected, the conventional thinking that the Republican Party is more friendly toward Taiwan is not correct, former National Security Council deputy secretary-general Parris Chang (張旭成) said.

Former US Democratic presidents, such as Harry Truman and Bill Clinton, implemented measures to safeguard Taiwan, while Washington severed its diplomatic ties with Taiwan when Richard Nixon, a Republican, was president, Chang added.

National Quemoy University professor Lu Cheng-fung (盧政鋒) observed that regardless of who wins the election next month, Taiwan would have to increase its communication and collaboration with the US on its effort to join the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The forum was organized by the office of former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).