The United States does not have the luxury of abandoning Taiwan and leaving it alone in the face of China’s demands to restore sovereignty over it. There are several reasons compelling Washington to protect Taiwan, chief among them its strategic location near China, and its important role in global supply chains of semiconductors used by most countries, cars, aerospace and defense. industries to industries, then the nature of Taiwan’s democratic system, and ultimately the negative impact of the US abandonment of Taiwan on Washington’s other allies in the region, from Japan to South Korea.
Indian-American political analyst Nishit Hajri, in a study published by Bloomberg News, says that the dynamics of internal politics in Taiwan will be a major challenge and a major opportunity for the United States in the next few months.
The two visits are currently taking place in two locations on opposite sides, but they highlight the dilemma the US faces in dealing with the Taiwan issue. A first for Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, she will stop briefly in New York en route to Guatemala and Belize, two of the few countries that still have diplomatic ties with Taipei. On the way back, he will stop in California to meet Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The visit heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing, which vowed retaliation. On the other hand, former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou’s second visit to China is the first by a Taiwanese leader since Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island from China in 1949. Vermosa, and founded the Republic of China, which later became Taiwan.
Ma left the presidency of Taiwan in 2016, and is the country’s last president from Taiwan’s founding party, the Kuomintang. He says his trip to China is personal, with the aim of visiting the graves of his ancestors to confirm China’s contention that the two peoples on either side of the Taiwan Strait represent one country historically, culturally and politically. vision Although Ma is not scheduled to meet any senior officials in China during that visit, arrangements may change.
Hagri, a foreign affairs expert and author of the book “Midnight Fury,” said the two visits highlighted the depth of political divisions in Taiwan ahead of a presidential election next January to choose Tsai’s successor. And as Americans have learned from their recent painful election experiences, divisions can intensify as elections approach.
Lai Shing-di, Taiwan’s vice president of the Democratic Progressive Party, is expected to run in those elections, as the constitution does not allow Tsai to run for the new post. Dei will focus her election campaign on asserting her party’s opposition to China’s attempts to reintegrate Taiwan into its sovereignty.
On the other hand, leaders of the opposition Kuomintang Party, which has yet to decide on a candidate for the election, will insist that their party is the only one capable of dealing with Beijing and easing tensions on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. directly. China is expected to fire arrows of criticism at the Democratic Progressive Party in return for deference to Kuomintang leaders, as it eases some restrictions on travel and trade on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. by party executives in recent months.
Hakri, in his analysis, said that the level of distrust in the US will surprise many Americans, who believe that Taiwanese feel grateful for US efforts to stop China from encroaching on their country.
Additionally, a conspiracy theory that finds strong resonance especially among supporters of the Kuomintang Party sees US President Joe Biden’s administration’s plan to support the semiconductor industry in the US as a US attempt to extort Taiwan. It is losing its highly skilled engineers in the field, and its global leadership in the field of electronic chips. Some also believe that US security policy planners are seeking to provoke a war between Taiwan and China by enclosing the latter and expelling its military.
Taiwanese media outlets linked to pro-Chinese billionaires have contributed to spreading these rumors as platforms for Chinese political propaganda. On the other hand, statements by some prominent American figures about the need to blow up semiconductor factories in Taiwan so that they do not fall into the hands of the Chinese strengthen the position of supporters of American conspiracy theories in Taiwan. As the 2024 US presidential elections approach, the US is expected to see many reports, both harmful and unhelpful.
Taiwanese politicians, especially the Kuomintang, must be careful when reassessing their relations with China to avoid angering members of the US Congress, and US leaders must moderate their statements on Taiwan in the coming months.
What’s more, while Taiwan must strengthen its military capabilities to deter Chinese aggression, the United States should not learn too much from the experience of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Any pressure on Taipei to transform the nonpermanent reserve force into a capable fighting force seems foolish and understated. Major and comprehensive reforms require the patience and strong participation of leaders and citizens in Taiwan, not imposition from outside.
Finally, the United States should keep open lines of communication with the leaders of the opposition Kuomintang Party and government. A good sign is that Taiwanese billionaire Terry Guo, founder of the electronics giant Foxconn Technology Group and the party’s upcoming presidential candidate, is currently visiting the United States.
Above all, Washington should strive to improve relations with China. There is one thing that all Taiwanese agree on, and that is that any war would be disastrous, so any US effort to prevent this war would be welcomed by all Taiwanese.
• The level of Taiwanese mistrust of the U.S. will surprise many Americans who believe the Taiwanese are grateful for U.S. efforts to prevent China from invading their country.
• Supporters of the Kuomintang Party see the Joe Biden administration’s plan to support the US semiconductor industry as a US attempt to rob Taiwan of its most talented engineers in the field and its global leadership in electronic chips.
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