Friday, February 17, 2017

Trump concedes on "one China" + LINKS

A train enters Dawu station in southeastern Taiwan.

Trump really needs to stop calling leaders in East Asia. I'd rather be biking than writing on this stuff. But just before I left for another sojourn on the east coast with a group of close friends, the news came that Trump had made an about-face on one China.


The NYTimes here says...
President Trump told President Xi Jinping of China on Thursday evening that the United States would honor the “One China” policy, reversing his earlier expressions of doubt about the longtime diplomatic understanding and removing a major source of tension between the United States and China since shortly after he was elected.
The NYT report does not make clear what Trump's statement said, that the US would honor "our" one China policy (not China's). That little word, as many people pointed out, was highly significant, since it shows that the US is going to maintain policy continuity. The US one China policy does not include Taiwan in China.

It was also important for another reason. It was rather painfully obvious that Trump would "cave" on one China. For example, J Michael Cole observed a while back:
But one thing is certain: the likelihood that the United States will scuttle “one China” is next to nil, as such a policy goes against even what the more creative (and pro-Taiwan) of Trump’s advisers on Taiwan and China, people like John Bolton, have argued over the years.
What that "our" signaled was that people who understand the policy were in charge, in the background, of maintaining it. I doubt very much Trump himself insisted on the "our" -- that had to be inserted by someone who knew what he was doing. The situation thus appears to be as I argued before...
....not much will change because Trump is surrounded by people who will keep policies that help Taiwan in place and expand around the edges where they can.
...wise hands steering Taiwan policy? Good to see.

The Economist observed that Trump's one China pleased Taiwan as well. The Xi-Trump call also raised another issue, as Trump materially benefited from it, apparently, in violation of the US Constitution.
Catching up links:
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