President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has a “cool charisma,” but the policy demands on her new administration are “daunting,” former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) chairman Richard Bush on Wednesday told a conference in Washington.
His words were echoed by Shelley Rigger, a professor of East Asian politics at Davidson College, who said Taiwan has “a lot to be worried about.”
She told the conference — organized by the Brookings Institution and the Foreign Policy Research Institute — that it was reasonable to be skeptical.
“It is not going to be easy to be Tsai Ing-wen for the next four years,” Rigger said. “The virtue of Tsai is that she recognizes the magnitude of the problems that Taiwan is facing, and the world in general is facing, and I think she is more open to creative solutions.”
She said the world should be cheering for Tsai, because if she finds solutions to Taiwan’s problems it would benefit everyone.
Rigger said that Tsai was facing the problems of globalization, technology and the way capitalism had emerged in this century and is challenging states everywhere.
Former US Department of State official Alan Romberg told the conference — which focused on the prospects for the Tsai administration — that in charting a future course, both Taiwan and China should demonstrate the greatest flexibility and creativity possible.
“Not only do they owe that to themselves, but they also owe it to the larger international community, which has a lot at stake in keeping peace and stability in the [Taiwan] Strait,” he said.
Vincent Wang (王維正), a professor of political science at the University of Richmond, said that overall, the US-Taiwan relationship would be “largely positive” under Tsai, but that it would take some time to adjust, would need more skills to manage and would involve “higher maintenance” than during the previous eight years.
Wang said that Tsai would transit through the US later this month on her way to and from Panama and Paraguay, and the trip would provide opportunities for the US and Taiwanese security teams to “clarify intentions” and make requests of each other.
He said that coping with Taiwan’s defensive needs would be high on the agenda.
Wang said that arms sales to Taiwan had never been truly free from political or diplomatic considerations, and both sides should try to depoliticize the arms procurement issue.
He said the US should help Taiwan to build diesel-electric submarines and “be a little more encouraging” in helping Taiwan enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Wang said there is a need for caution, as Beijing might decide it is a good time to test both Tsai and the outgoing administration of US President Barack Obama.
The heads of three major US banks on Wednesday pledged that they would withdraw from the Chinese market if Washington imposed sanctions on Beijing in response to an invasion of Taiwan. JP Morgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, Bank of America chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan and Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser told lawmakers at a hearing of the US House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services in Washington that the three banks would follow the guidance of the US government to exit China if necessary. The three bankers made the pledge after US Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer asked the three if they
HIGH STAKES: An attack on Taiwan could prompt a joint response from the US and Japan, and trigger a global conflict that could bring down the CCP, Liu Tai-ying said The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would not be able to launch an invasion of Taiwan for at least another 10 years, Taiwan Research Institute founder Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) said on Friday. To occupy Taiwan, China needs to transport at least 300,000 to 400,000 troops across the Taiwan Strait during battle, but it would lack the ability to do so for at least another decade, said Liu, a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) treasurer and a close aide to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). The challenges that China would face during an attempted invasion of Taiwan would be even greater than those
CHINA CRITIC: Prime ministerial candidate Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner in today’s election, said that she would not renew a Belt and Road Initiative deal with Beijing Italian lawmaker Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner to become the country’s next prime minister, is expected to reverse course on Italy’s support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen ties with Taiwan if a coalition headed by her party wins the country’s general election today. “Without any doubt, if there is a center-right government, it is sure that Taiwan will be an essential concern for Italy,” Meloni told the Central News Agency in an interview. Italians are to vote in a snap election triggered by the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi following a failed attempt to get his coalition partners
HAWAII MODEL: While Hawaii held a referendum on becoming the 50th US state, Taiwan has never applied to join the People’s Republic of China, Miles Yu said China comparing Taiwanese independence to Hawaii seeking independence from the US is illogical, as Taiwan has never applied to be a part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Hudson Institute senior fellow Miles Yu (余茂春) said over the weekend. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅), who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, has given multiple talks asserting Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. In a speech to the Asia Society on Thursday, Wang likened Taiwan to Hawaii. “Just as the US would not allow Hawaii to break away,” Beijing “reserves the right” to seek unification, Wang told the gathering. The