Skip to content

Donald Trump : Will He be a Trump Card For Taiwan

Sandeep Jain Writes: In either case Taiwan does not really gain by the US support-perceived or real. The reason is simple. Both geography as well demography inexorably binds Taiwan’s fate with PRC.

Recently the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing Wen had called up to congratulate President elect Donald Trump. This was a breach from precedence wherein, in deference to PRC’s diktats there was diplomatic isolation of Taiwan even by USA. The PRC leadership of course made light of it and shrugged off the incidence once it was clarified that it was merely a congratulatory call by the Taiwanese President. However, subsequent to that President Elect Donald Trump once again mentioned that USA may not remain bound by the adherence to “One China” policy. This of course angered the PRC leadership further and was akin to adding insult to injury and was accordingly fiercely repudiated by PRC.

While Taiwan made no official comment on the latter statement by the US President Elect, one can only imagine the glee with which this pronouncement would have been received in the power circles in Taipei. However, this may be a short lived euphoria for Taiwan. Trump’s pronouncement may not really be a signal of intent for a greater support for the Taiwan’s cause but much rather a message to PRC that USA can no longer be taken for granted by them.

There is no doubt that USA is now feeling the pressure of growing assertiveness from China both in the security as well as economic spheres. The pre-eminence of USA stands at serious risk of being eroded. USA does not have any conventional answers to the growing dominance of China and was so far rather helplessly watching the rise of another hegemon. The elevation of President elect Trump brings in an element of uncertainty and even bravado on part of USA. He is prepared to challenge the established norms and relationships.

It may well be that in his effort to isolate PRC he may go to the extent of granting diplomatic recognition to Taiwan – which will then be quickly followed by some other nations. On the other hand he may only make some anti PRC statements without really matching words with action. The latter may be due to the economic dependence of USA on PRC which for all its rhetoric USA cannot shrug off easily.

In either case Taiwan does not really gain by the US support-perceived or real. The reason is simple. Both geography as well demography inexorably binds Taiwan’s fate with PRC. While Taiwan retains its independent political system, it is too deeply entwined with PRC for trade, investment, jobs, culture and so on. Even from a security perspective it is no position to defend itself from PRC in case the latter was to take a military action. USA will not be keen to risk military escalation with PRC for Taiwan. Taiwan’s best option was status quo. However, with Donald Trump status quo is one option which may not remain. Thus the Taiwanese president would be well advised to walk a tight rope path and be not seen as taking sides with USA. Donald Trump may not prove to be that elusive trump card but rather a liability when seen from Taiwan’s perspective.

775 Total Views 1 Views Today