Saturday, January 14, 2017

What will Trump do? + Links

A small shrine tucked away in a field

NYTimes reports that Taiwan moves to shore up its central american friends, but the really ominous thing wasn't the possibility that they might bolt, but what happened in Nigeria, where Beijing forced the Taiwan office to move, is far more dangerous. Diplomatic allies are not as important as the everyday engagement Taiwan has with nations all over the world.
This week, another move showed that even countries without diplomatic ties to Taiwan could still isolate it further. On Wednesday, Nigeria ordered Taiwan to move a representative office in the country out of the political capital, Abuja, to Lagos, the country's commercial hub. Nigeria has not had official diplomatic relations with Taiwan since 1971, so it doesn’t have an embassy in Abuja to move; instead, Taiwan was forced to move its trade mission, one of about 50 unofficial representative offices it has around the world.
That mission had been serving the small Taiwan factory investment community there. China offered to sink $40 billion into projects there... wonder how much will actually appear. Meanwhile the US is spending billions bombing wedding parties and barbecues in the Middle East. Hmm......

Another problem: Trump again says "one China" policy up for negotiation. This comment is entirely lacking in definition, though it is widely reported. What does he mean? Though Bonnie Glaser says China is preparing for rocky relations in 2017. If someone senior in the administration would contact me, I would be most grateful. At The News Lens Wayne Pajunen writes:
Among the ongoing tit-for-tat of Trump tweet vs. CCP bark, keeping in mind the Chinese proverb: a barking dog never bites (會叫的狗不會咬人), PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) responded, “China is paying close attention to developments,” Wang said. “I can clearly say that no matter whether the Tsai Ing-wen authority, any other person in the world, or any other force, if they try and damage the one-China principle and harm China’s core interests, in the end they are lifting a rock only to drop it on their feet.”

Beijing is always very careful to respond only with threatening rhetoric while never drawing lines in the sand demarking tangible retaliatory actions. To date, the uncertainty created by CCP bluster has been sufficient to deter the democratic nations to do Beijing’s bidding and isolate Taiwan.
"The barking dog never bites" may also apply to Trump. It's maddening how little concrete information there is about his Administration's views and plans. Rosalyn Hsueh in WaPo writes on his trade policy with China, while Michael Pillsbury argues that Trump can stand up to China without provoking a war.

Shirley Kan: China's military provocations ARE NOT mere responses to Trump
Daily Links:
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Wayne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The lack of information available is exactly why this site's insistence that we Trust Trump's advisors was ludicrous from day one. They're keeping us in the dark about who they are and no reason to believe Trump will listen to them anyways.

Notice the kid gloves treatment Trump receives on this site while every word of Obama and his advisors was vivisected.

Matt Stone said...

Loving both of the Singapore Terrex songs.

Fortunately, my wife speaks both Hokkien and Malay, so I can rely on her for translation of key words / phrases.

taretz said...

According to this website, Taiwan/ROC and Nigeria had no diplomatic relations between Nigeria's independence in 1960 and 1971.

Anonymous said...

Hello Michael

Sorry in advance - but on the topic of Trump and Taiwan, Jenna Cody wrote something poignant on the off-the-mark behavior of US liberals and I would like to respond to that. She doesn't allow anonymous comments so I will insert here instead if you don't mind. In any case, there is plenty of overlap with your own notes on the Trump-Taiwan-What-Will-Happen-Next theme.

Jenna - Excellent and thoughtful blog on this.

FYI I noticed an article in News Lens Intl ( echoing the same sentiment, and written effectively as an outreach to fellow "liberal progressives" in the US to wake up and support Taiwan.

As you note, support for Taiwan on this range of issues is profoundly more in line with a "liberal" perspective considering Taiwan's admirable liberal bona fides: first class democracy, freedom of speech, independent judiciary, liberal society. Contrast that with the pro-China line and China's standards of no democracy, no freedom of speech, and no judiciary independence - who's side are US liberals on here anyway???

(nb. on the absence of Chinese judiciary independence, note Bloomberg's report today about the top judge in China scolding the judges in China's legal system NOT TO BE independent ... holy cow talk about perverse)

I, like you and evidently others too, find it hard to swallow supporting Trump in general; but I absolutely have to hand it to him on this one. I am encouraged so far by the picks within his cabinet seen through the lens of US-Taiwan policy; nothing else mind you, but on the Taiwan issue he seems to be surrounding himself by qualified individuals. It might be wishful thinking, but his Taiwan stuff looks thoughtful and coordinated - none of these are qualities I would ever credit Trump for given his PR jibberish. The day of the Trump-Tsai call, Trump was in private consultation with John Bolton (another experienced guy strong on the Taiwan issue who I disagree with on many other things) and, better still, Congress passed the new Taiwan language in the US defense budget on the SAME DAY. That looks like a surprisingly well executed move in coordination with congress. No joke.

(to be continued)

Anonymous said...

(Continued from above)

Despite the instinctive anti-Trump knee-jerk in the media and - sadly - among most US liberals, at least in the case of Taiwan it may be that Trump is indeed smarter than he looks. "Crazy like a fox".

Like yourself, I too have been disappointed in most of the media I would normally trust. It is baffling and disappointing to see otherwise good China writers like Evan Osnos write embarrassingly ignorant crap on Taiwan. Strike New Yorker off the list, sadly. Those guys supposedly have more time to do research and in-depth articles ... Osnos himself told me that a few years ago when he moved to the New Yorker, that he would now be able to spend a couple weeks digging into issues before writing something cogent and thoughtful. Evidently that was all complete bullshit.

Same goes for the New York Times. Strike out.

Washington Post. Not.

Economist and FT. Not. Economist seems to be improving now though, I liked their more recent thing on KMT funding shortfalls.

Wall Street Journal. Fared the best of the major newspapers on this issue as far as I can tell. I will read WSJ more in future.

Horror of horrors, I find myself nodding more in agreement with the so-called right wing news outlets on Taiwan topics these days. We agree on nothing else except this one, big issue as far as I'm concerned. Evidently you are in the same boat.

I think it's great that you blog - you write well and with tempered passion. Perhaps that is the best thing you can do to solve the problem: work on your "liberal" buddies in the US, like the News Lens article is trying to do, to get them to wake up!

Take heart: it works. Even just in the past few weeks following the Tsai-Trump call, the quality of the coverage across international media outlets has shown signs of improvement.

Across the board, writers and editors seem to be slowly confronting their own ignorance on these core topics - the topics you know the best. Push them to do their homework and see the issue clearly! Heck, you've got PRC setting up rent-a-mobs in the US, one step short of the gangsters they throw at civil society in Taiwan and Hong Kong; that's helpful to highlight. Those are the good guys??? Wake up liberals!

As the media start to think more - as they start to think about China threatening Taiwan with missiles, aircraft carriers and gangsters, as they learn what "1992C" was a fiction in 2000 and what it alleged to do, as they ponder about what "acknowledge China's position" means as applied to US Taiwan policy, as they observe Tsai Ing-Wen's carefully measured, friendly but brave diplomacy - the coverage improves.

You can see it if you parse carefully through the syntax of articles in the same media outlets over the past 2 months. As you know Michael Turton is helpful on this last point as he obsessively tracks foreign media coverage of Taiwan and tries to identify the implied bias or fairness in coverage.

Anyway, press on Jenna! Wake up your liberal buddies, and encourage them to call "bullshit" on their media coverage of Taiwan, demand they do their homework to provide a news service of value, at least on this topic!


Anonymous said...

(post-script to continued)

Michael, as noted above, your reviews of international media coverage of Taiwan are incredibly valuable. It is an exhausting but essential task to parse the words of international media and identify - and then call out to correct - the biases and errors that are all too common.

You are my go-to source for this kind of insight: I (anonymously) read every blog and appreciate the work you do.

And it should be gratifying to see gradual improvements. Step by step, international awareness is improving; but someone always needs to be vigilant for dangerous BS. Too much is at stake.

Thank you for your efforts.


Michael Turton said...

The lack of information available is exactly why this site's insistence that we Trust Trump's advisors was ludicrous from day one. They're keeping us in the dark about who they are and no reason to believe Trump will listen to them anyways.

Notice the kid gloves treatment Trump receives on this site while every word of Obama and his advisors was vivisected.

None of Trump's advisors are doing business with the Chinese.

Michael Turton said...

The lack of information available is exactly why this site's insistence that we Trust Trump's advisors was ludicrous from day one.

Go back and reread that post.

Anonymous said...

13 Million Pages of Declassified CIA Documents Were Just Posted Online

Anonymous said...

Taking the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday, Chinese president Xi Jingping had a message for President-elect Donald Trump: Don’t renege on the United States’ international promises, including the Paris climate agreement.
“The Paris agreement is a hard-won achievement… all signatories should stick to it rather than walk away,” Xi said. “It is important to protect the environment while pursuing economic and social progress — to achieve harmony between man and nature, and harmony between man society.”

File under: Things you'll never hear Trump and his advisors say. China beating the US creating jobs in green tech right now. Are you sure you know who the bad guys are?

Anonymous said...

Climate change deniers do not deserve trust, respect, or recognition as responsible leaders.

Michael Turton said...

Wow anonymous. Thanks for the long comment.