Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nelson Report: Rumors of a 4th "Communique"

The coast off Kenting.

Rumors of the 4th Communique driven by Henry Kissinger under which the US sells out Taiwan are circulating in the local media... last week Randall Schriver, longtime Taiwan expert, said it was "unlikely". But the government put in a letter in the NYTimes pleading for the US not to sell out Taiwan for an agreement with China on N Korea. Some sort of agreement of this nature is always mooted whenever there is trouble with N Korea. As an expert explained to me, as Nork's nuke program develops the ability to put nukes on US western seaboard cities, pressure for a deal with China on N Korea will grow, and Taiwan is an obvious bargaining chip. What's amazing to me is that even after all these many years of dealing with China and N Korea, anyone can imagine that either party will keep a bargain....

US-CHINA/TRADE/TAIWAN...there's a rumor we're trying to track down that long-simmering dissatisfaction with the increasingly unwieldy US-China "S and ED" annual meetings (too many bureaucratic players leading to too much blah blah blah and consequently too little "deliverables") so the Trump folks may cancel the whole thing OR...this strikes us as the more plausible version...separate the "S" for security and "E" for economic into two more focused confabs.

Presumably a decision on this will be made in time for (and thus perhaps announced at) the early April Trump/Xi Jinping summit here in DC. No doubt you've also heard rumors that there will be a "4th Communique" resulting from this...and we frankly have to say we think there's a better chance of passing Trump/Ryan Care tomorrow morning...but perhaps you know better? For sure there are folks on Taiwan taking the rumor seriously:

Gov't concerned over reports US, China may sign 4th communique
The Taiwanese foreign minister says the government is worried the US and China will issue another communique that voices American support for the One China Principle. The Chinese language publication Liberty Times earlier carried a report that said former Secretary of State Kissinger was pushing for another communique that said that the US believed there is but one China and Taiwan is a part of China. This would overrule the last joint communique issued by the US and China, which said that while the US would not support either an independent Taiwan or "Two Chinas." Some reports have identified the upcoming visit to the US by Chinese President Xi Jinping as an occasion for the signing of such a document, possibly also limiting arms sales to Taiwan. Speaking to the legislature, Foreign Minister David Lee said, "We told them (the U.S.) that we don't want to see (the possible signing of a fourth communique) happen," and that the government has said that it hoped the US would stand by the Taiwan Relations Act and Six Assurances. He also mentioned that the Americans had spoken to their views of Taiwan, but FM Lee declined to specify what that meant.


Your Editor : never forget that one of Kissinger's hallmarks is self-aggrandizement, and while god knows the man has carved a legitimate role for himself in history, if he's pushing for Trump to completely trash the Shanghai Communique's real meaning (that is, the US takes no policy position on whether Taiwan is part of China) especially given what's behind the Trump/Tsai phone call...the strong support for Taiwan within his Administration and on Capitol Hill, not to mention the coming US arms sale package (?)...then we have to question the sanity of all involved.

But that leads us to a totally serious concern: Chinese officials have taken to declaring with a straight face that President Tsai is "moving toward declaring independence", and that proof of this is her "failure to endorse the '1992' consensus in language being demanded by Pres. Xi."

This risky, factually challenged demand thus puts Beijing in the position of deliberately risking the "status quo", since literally everything Tsai has said and done since declaring for the presidency a couple of years ago has been exquisitely calculated not to upset the existing Cross Strait status quo, despite pressures from her party's more extreme Pan Greens.

Worse, perhaps, to put "teeth" in this demand, political players in Beijing have taken to threatening a "unification law"...presumably to create the "lawful" threat of the use of force to "enforce the law" has been seen via China's armed Coast Guard in various maritime disputes with the neighbors.

If Kissinger wants to push a 4th Communique he might want to turn his talents to avoiding a deliberately set "crisis" Beijing?
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