Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where To Now?

I don't usually comment on today's Taiwan, except to point out how much things have changed since I was last there in 1974.

But with a new administration in Washington, and a relatively new administration in Taipei, I've been thinking about the future of Taiwan, especially in regard to its relations with the United States and the People's Republic of China.

By the way, I've always preferred to use the terms Taiwan and China to describe those two nations, though I know there are plenty of good folks who disagree with me. Using "Republic of" and "People's Republic of" is just too complicated -- sort of like trying to figure out why there are a dozen different flavors of Baptist churches in my town.

The United States has walked a diplomatic tightrope between Taipei and Beijing (or Peking, if you prefer), apparently eager to trade with the mainland but still wanting to have a quasi-diplomatic foothold in the neighborhood. Beijing insists that there is only one China, of which Taiwan is just a part. Taiwan, on the other hand, went from planning to retake the mainland to today's position of "let's all just get along -- but separately...for now."

President Ma certainly seems to be warming up to Beijing, but he also seems to be still holding on to the idea of an independent Taiwan -- apparently walking that same tightrope.

Michael Turton, an American educator in Taichung, wrote a very good piece yesterday on his View From Taiwan blog. He included this quote from our new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton: "The administration’s policy will be to help Taiwan and China resolve their differences peacefully while making clear that any unilateral change in the status quo is unacceptable." Sounds like more of the same to me.

What's your opinion? What do you think the US/Taiwan/China relationship will look like by the time President Obama leaves office?

1 comment:

titojohn said...

There is an interesting article in The Taiwan Link blog concerning the people that are getting appointments in the Obama administration that may have some bearing on Taiwan relations. It can be found here:The Obama Taiwan Team Starting to Shape Up!

John Quinn