Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Nelson Report: Taiwan Bid to join AIIB = TPP leverage?

An abandoned strongpoint keeps watch over the coast.

Two interesting items here. First, the Nelson Report, the Washington Insider report, observes that the KMT may be attempting to use AIIB entry as leverage to enter the TPP. At the bottom, a reporter tries to get the State Department to comment on the 1992 Consensus, claiming absurdly that the 1992 Consensus was the basis for the CCP-KMT lovefest. China loves that 1992 Consensus and insists Taiwanese politicians hew to it even though Beijing itself has never accepted it. The US State Department is generally considered pro-China by many observers on all sides of the debates (wow to Newsweek). Thus, it is interesting that the State Department didn't make a statement saying Taiwan should adhere to the 1992 Consensus, which was invented in the 2000s to form a cage for the DPP's future cross-strait policies. Kudos to them. Instead, the State Department said that was something for the participants to worry about...
TAIWAN PLAYING THE AIIB CARD? Taiwan clearly wants to join the next round of TPP negotiations, if/when they get going, and while that obviously would require Taipei finally undertaking ag policy and other reforms its long been aware of and unwilling politically to do...from today's State Dept. brief it would appear that the KMT may think it can dangle possible AIIB membership in front of US policy-makers as a form of "incentive":

QUESTION: The secretary general of the Chinese communist party, Xi Jinping, just had a meeting with Kuomintang's chairman, Chu Li-luan. I'm just curious about the reaction of the U.S. Government to this highest-levels talks between cross-strait political parties.

MR RATHKE: Well, we welcome steps on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to reduce tensions and improve cross-strait relations. We encourage authorities in Beijing and Taipei to continue their constructive dialogue which we believe has led to significant improvements in the cross-strait relationship. And of course, as to the content and the pace and the scope of those interactions, that should be - it should be acceptable to people on both sides of the strait, but we'll leave those details to the people participating in those talks...

...QUESTION: Yeah. Also Chu Li-luan said he hoped Taiwan can take part in the AIIB, and Xi Jinping welcomes that. So will the U.S. support Taiwan's bid to join AIIB?

MR RATHKE: Well, I don't have any comment about the decisions of anyone to participate in the AIIB. The U.S. view on the AIIB has been made quite clear. We consider it important that high standards of transparency be part of the AIIB's approach. I think the President also commented on this just last week, so I don't have anything to add to that...

...QUESTION: And Xi Jinping also mentioned that he has seen some new and important point in cross-strait, and which has impacted Chinese nation and the country's future. I just wonder: Does U.S. have the same point of view?

MR RATHKE: Well, again, we welcome improved cross-strait relations. I'm not going to get into kind of characterizing them further than that. We've seen progress and we welcome that and we encourage continued dialogue.

QUESTION: Thank you, Jeff. The '92 Consensus seemed to be the basis for the two sides to actually make the meeting possible. Would the United States think that this may serve as a point of reference for Taiwan's opposition party, the DPP, so that it would be able to open its own dialogue with the mainland some way, particularly when the DPP chair is about to visit the United States? Thank you.

MR RATHKE: Well, I'm not going to comment about how internally these issues are approached. Again, I think our support for improved cross-strait relations is clear.
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Anonymous said...

I would think the headline here will really raise your eyebrows and those of many in Taiwan. The article is short on details though and doesn't state Chu's actual comments.



Anonymous said...

I don't see where the leverage is. What does joining or not joining the AIIB have to do with TPP membership where the US is concerned?

Tommy said...

I think that, under Xi, China is playing a very dangerous game. The US is neither down nor out at this stage. China has not allowed the US to drop its guard long enough for slow decline to finish off the US' reputation as a guarantor of peace and stability in Asia. This means the Americans can still do massive damage to China's plans at this stage and can do even greater damage in the future if they view China as a threat and begin preparing for a more contentious future. China faces much greater internal constraints than the US does. How long will guns continue to win out over butter? So Xi may actually be hastening the closure of the window of opportunity for China to dominate Asia by causing balancing to emerge too soon.

TaiwanJunkie said...

China is going down the same path of all other nationalistic fascist countries before it. The parallel is uncanny.

Brian Castle said...

I hate to see the State Department use the word "internally" like that. It suggests they think of Taiwan as an "internal" Chinese matter the same way the imperial annexationists claim.

Brian Castle said...

The path is well-worn and bloody. China is following in WWI Germany and WWII Japan's footsteps of a power that feels racist and resentful thinking it is finally time to take its rightful place in the world. Meanwhile Russia is looking like WWII Germany feeling racist and resentful and wanting to take a second shot at imperialism.

For China this has been obvious for a couple decades. So what do we do about it?
The only instance I know of in history where a bloodbath was prevented was the cold war where the potential for nuclear weapons to be used was able to keep the peace. But will our current leaders have the wisdom to do it?

History tells that China doesn't mind taking a lot of casualties. Would they consider it a fair trade to have a couple cities nuclear weapons to be used in America and a couple to be used in China so long as China achieved its military goals?

More likely and of greater danger is that China would calculate it can fight a limited war and defeat America (and any allies) without nuclear weapons coming into the picture. And it may be that that is the case. America might risk a naval fleet to defend Taiwan, but it is doubtful America would nuke a Chinese military base and invite a Chinese nuclear response.

In the could war if you remember Reagan had to put short range tactical nukes in Europe (much to the distaste of many of the less intelligent Europeans) so that it would be clear to Russia that an invasion of Europe would be very costly to them and would have the possibility of escalation. I can't imagine current American leaders (certainly not the current administration) being capable of that kind of strategic thinking.

Michael Turton said...

Re internally -- excellent observation.