In the past, panda-hugging American presidents such as George W. Bush have relegated Taiwan’s presidents to transits in far-flung places like Alaska, effectively preventing them from holding face-to-face discussions with U.S. congressmen, senators, and other officials. Even so, Beijing has always complained about these stopovers – along with every effort by Taiwan to engage with the world (even children are not immune from China’s bullying, as Beijing demands that Taiwan’s powerhouse little league baseball compete under the name “Chinese Taipei” at the annual Little League World Series in Pennsylvania).Read more here.
China has continued this tradition by demanding that Trump block President Tsai’s impending visit to the U.S. Trump should refuse this demand.
In fact, not only should the president-elect approve President Tsai’s visit to the U.S., he should allow her to transit in Washington, D.C., enabling her to hold direct talks with high-ranking American officials, including members of his cabinet.
If possible, he should consider a personal face-to-face meeting with Ms. Tsai himself. Such a meeting would reassure Taiwan that we respect our democratic allies, and send an even stronger message to our allies in Asia that we will not abandon them when it comes to China’s outrageous behavior in the South China Sea.
Trump should also consider longer-term measures to modernize our relationship with Taiwan, many of which I proposed or supported as a Member of Congress during the last decade.
These include formally lifting our self-imposed ban on high-level meetings between senior U.S. and Taiwanese officials, supporting Taiwan’s re-admission to the United Nations, and a normalization of relations between our two countries – including the establishment of full diplomatic relations.
After all, if we can sit down with Islamist Iranian regime officials that fund terrorism, why can’t we conduct high-level talks with officials from a responsible, democratic nation like Taiwan? And if we can honor Raul Castro by opening a Cuban Embassy in Washington, why not a Taiwanese one as well?
Such steps – particularly a dual-recognition framework that extends diplomatic respect to both China and Taiwan –wouldn’t just help reflect the global changes of the last 40 years, it would also help facilitate evenhanded talks between Taipei and Beijing that might yield a diplomatic breakthrough between the two rivals. That’s something that Taiwan’s isolation has failed to achieve in more than three decades.
Such an approach is also not without precedent: For many years the world recognized East Germany and West Germany, an arrangement that eventually led to a unification under a democratic government.
Too often in Washington, particularly when it comes to China, tradition is a word people use to reject creative thinking. “The Call Heard Round the World” shows that President-elect Trump is willing to question that dogma. Here’s hoping it was just the beginning.
Friday, December 09, 2016
"Too often in Washington, particularly when it comes to China, tradition is a word people use to reject creative thinking."
Tom Tancredo writes in Breitbart,