Taiwan President-US Republican Meeting Irks China
China (FXI) has threatened the incoming Trump administration, stating that it would take retaliatory measures if the new government fails to adhere to the ‘One China’ policy
Reuters reported that the an official statement has been issued by Chinese state-owned media outlet the Global Times.
This warning was issued just hours after senior Republicans met Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. The meeting took place in Houston on January 8 on a stopover before Ing-wen embarked on her tour of Central America.
The threat was laid out following China’s initial request to the US to not let Ing-wen enter the country, and not hold any formal meetings regarding the ‘One China’ policy.
According to Global Times, “sticking to [the One China] principle is not a capricious request by China upon U.S. presidents, but an obligation of U.S. presidents to maintain China-U.S. relations and respect the existing order of the Asia-Pacific.” The comments then became even more acerbic with the editorial stating that, “if Trump reneges on the one-China policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining.”
Why is China concerned?
China has been worried that Ing-wen may be planning for the independence of Taiwan (EWT) – a territory that it considers its own. As it stands, Taiwan is technically ineligible to hold government-to-government discussions with other countries.
China believes that by holding these meetings, Ing-wen may be assessing the nation’s independence in light of the political and economic backing it has from select allies.
The US position
Ted Cruz, who was one of the senior Republicans who met Ing-wen, stated that the US (IVV) will continue to make decisions on its own regarding which visitors to meet with rather than taking advice from China. He went on to say that the country finds itself obligated to defend its relationship with Taiwan – an ally – and that China has no part to play in the discussion.
Similar to China, the US has a trade deficit with Taiwan, i.e., it imports more from Taiwan than it exports. However, the deficit is not nearly as skewed as it is with China. For instance, in 2016, the US trade deficit with China stood at $320 billion. On the other hand, that with Taiwan was just $12 billion.
Taiwan ranked number 10 among the United States’ top trade partners through the period January – October 2016. Taiwan’s trade with the United States hit $53.93 billion through the first 10 months of 2016, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
It is speculated that the US political establishment may intend to use its relationship with Taiwan in order to put pressure on China, both politically and economically.