US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told an audience last week at the East-West Centre in Honolulu - on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum meetings - that while Washington would remain committed to the one-China policy and stability across the Taiwan Strait, it would also stick to a "strong relationship with Taiwan ... an important security and economic partner".The TPP appears to be an attempt to counter the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere that China seems intent on building. The TPP began as an agreement between four smaller Pacific nations and was later taken up by the Obama Administration as a way to build a grand free trade area for the entire Pacific.
Her comment, ahead of the Apec leaders' summit, reflected US determination to increase its presence in Asia now that it views the rise of the mainland as a big threat, Taiwanese analysts said yesterday.
Analysts said Washington's intention to constrain Beijing can be best exemplified by US President Barack Obama's apparent sidelining of mainland China over plans for a Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Additionally, the Pentagon is setting up an office apparently aimed at war concepts for China. According to the Taipei Times, the new tri-service Air-Sea Battle Office (ASBO) "is directed mostly at the Western Pacific and its principal actor, China." Obama has also promised a greater US military presence in Australia. Slowly the wheel turns....
Taiwan is an important flash point, but the South China Sea, where China seems to be completely out of hand, is becoming increasingly ominous. A reminder of what renewed US commitment to the area will mean occurred this week. This week China moved its claim even closer to the Philippines as it demanded Manila cease permitting oil exploration just 80 kms off the coast of the province of Palawan and over 800 kms from the China coast. I think those analysts who were wondering exactly what China meant by the famous "cow's tongue" map under which it appeared to claim the entire South China Sea are getting their answer: China means everything, even stuff not included on the map. Recall that the US and Philippines have a mutual defense treaty and Manila basically has no navy to speak of. Whereas with Taiwan the US can always retreat into ambiguity, the situation with respect to the Philippines is quite clear: if hostilities commence, the US must intervene.
- No really: Taipei Times actually had a news article about some blogger complaining about the KMT's youth activity.
- Don't forget: U of Nottingham's blog on the 2012 election.
- New CSIS report on the election implications for the US
- Ryan's look at George Kerr's book on Taiwan under Japanese rule.
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