SCMP says in its report “Beijing’s new Silk Road may extend to Moscow-led Eurasian union” yesterday, “China and Russia are working to connect their flagship economic diplomacy projects, a move that could potentially reduce tensions between Beijing and Moscow as they jostle for regional influence.”
China and Russia are now close allies in countering the US, but due to conflict of interests linking China’s One Belt, One Road with Russia-led Eurasian Union is difficult as Russia is afraid that China’s establishment of Silk Road economic belt in Central Asia might draw Central Asia that Russia regards as its backyard away from Russia.
That is why though China and Russian issued a joint statement on linking the two economic strategies in 2015, there has been no progress in that respect.
Now, China’s Ministry of Commerce said ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Russia visit, that the two countries would sign an agreement for a study on the feasibility of linking the two.
This blogger believes that no matter whether the study will find the linking feasible, relations between China and Russia will become closer as the strategy illiterate US is screwing up its pressure on both countries. Anyway, the alliance between the two traditional enemies would have been very difficult in the first place if Obama had not facilitated it with his pivot-to-Asia folly.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2100968/beijings-new-silk-road-may-extend-moscow-led-eurasian.
By: Aaron Mehta, March 14, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s Pacific rebalance effort — also known as the Pivot to the Pacific — effort is officially dead, according to a top State Department official.
Asked by reporters about the future of the rebalance, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Susan Thornton said Monday that the new administration has its own plan for the region, even if that plan has yet to take shape.
“Pivot, rebalance, etcetera — that was a word that was used to describe the Asia policy in the last administration. I think you can probably expect that this administration will have its own formulation. We haven’t really seen in detail, kind of, what that formulation will be or if there even will be a formulation,” she said
However, Thornton — speaking on the eve of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first visit to the Asia-Pacific region — stressed that the new administration remains committed to the region, even if the flavor of that commitment may change.
Source: Defense News “’Pivot to the Pacific’ is over, senior U.S. diplomat says”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Trump set to sell more arms
By Bill Gertz
March 14, 2017 5:00 am
The Obama administration blocked a $1 billion arms sale to Taiwan in December that was needed to improve the island’s defenses despite approval from the State Department and Pentagon, according to Trump administration officials.
The scuttling of the arms package was a set back for U.S. and Taiwanese efforts to bolster defenses against a growing array of Chinese missiles and other advanced weaponry deployed across the 100-mile Taiwan Strait.
The action coincided with a controversial pre-inaugural phone call Dec. 2 between then-President-elect Trump and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.
It could not be learned if the arms package, which was ready to be announced publicly in December was derailed by the Obama administration because of the phone call.
The new Trump administration is now preparing to provide more and better defensive arms to Taiwan, said administration officials familiar with internal discussions of the arms sale.
The new arms package, however, is not expected to be made public until after Trump meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping next month. White House officials said the meeting is set for early April at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in South Florida.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also will visit China later this month.
Taiwan is expected to be a major topic of discussion for both the summit and Tillerson’s visit.
“There’s a process for these things that’s being followed,” a White House official said of the arms package. “The Trump administration takes America’s commitment to Taiwan’s security very seriously.”
Other officials said the arms package was set for release to Taiwan and formal notification to Congress in December. But National Security Council staff officials blocked it, setting back the process of supporting Taiwan with defensive arms considerably.
The approximately $1 billion included parts and equipment needed for the Taiwan military’s ongoing modernization of its arsenal of 1980s-era F-16 jet fighters along with additional missiles.
The approved package was held up by Avril D. Haines, the Obama White House deputy national security adviser. Haines did not return an email seeking comment.
Former Obama administration spokesman Ned Price confirmed that the administration held up the arms package. He told the Washington Free Beacon that neither Haines nor others in the Obama White House “unilaterally blocked the package that was under discussions, which was relatively modest.”
“In consultation with State and DoD, the Obama administration decided not to move forward with it in the final days of the administration,” Price said, adding that one factor was that “we thought it would be a useful package for the next administration to pursue in their time because it was well-calibrated to strike the balance we typically try to achieve consistent with our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act.”
One administration official said the package also included communications, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance gear that would bolster the Taiwan military’s command and control systems.
This official said one positive aspect of the failure to send the latest arms is that pro-China officials in the U.S. government who oppose helping Taiwan will no longer be able to argue internally that the United States had fulfilled its obligations under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act with the package. The act requires the United States to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons.
“Now we can start from scratch with a truly useful arms package once the assistant secretaries are in place,” the official said, referring to working-level political appointees at the Pentagon and State Department.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner had no immediate comment.
Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Gary Ross said he does not discuss “pre-decisional matters.”
“The objective of our defense engagement with Taiwan is to ensure that Taiwan remains secure, confident, free from coercion and able to engage in a peaceful, productive dialogue to resolve differences in a manner acceptable to people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait,” Ross said, noting U.S. arms sales support that goal.
“We strongly believe that our policy has contributed to stability in the Taiwan Strait by providing Taipei with the confidence needed to pursue constructive interactions with Beijing.”
The official Taiwan government office in Washington had no comment on the arms package.
Taiwan officials are looking forward to working closely with the Trump administration in upgrading defenses. The Taiwanese are considering the development of indigenous fighter aircraft and submarines and are hoping the United States can provide technology for the arms.
Former State Department official John Tkacik said the failure to release the arms package in December was a mistake.
“It is truly alarming that the White House, in its last month, would ignore a defense transfer recommendation endorsed by both the State and Defense Departments, especially after the incoming president had already signaled his support of a strengthened security relationship with Taiwan,” Tkacik said.
Tkacik said it is likely that Obama administration officials in charge of Asia policy, after eight years of giving the Chinese free rein in Asia, were unhappy with Trump’s tough posture toward Beijing.
“If the new National Security Council can’t move forward afresh with strengthened defense supplies to Taiwan, given State and Pentagon recommendations to do it, I’m afraid the new administration will lose its momentum, like Obama’s people did, and simply resign itself to letting Beijing take over in Asia,” he assed.
Randall Schriver, a former assistant secretary of state and assistant secretary of defense, said the Trump administration should increase arms transfers to Taiwan.
“China’s growing capabilities combined with an intent to put greater pressure on Taiwan should compel us take a serious look at increasing our security assistance to Taiwan including support for its indigenous submarine program and making available a [vertical, short-take off and landing] fighter aircraft,” he said.
Rick Fisher, an expert on Asian military affairs, also voiced concern.
“It is extremely disappointing that the Obama administration would not release this final arms sales package before leaving office, but at a deeper level, that it did not exercise the leadership to accelerate this F-16 upgrade package first approved in 2011,” said Fisher, senior fellow at International Assessment and Strategy Center.
The delay in upgrading the jets means China has gained six years on deploying advanced fighters jets and next generation short and medium range ballistic missiles that threaten Taiwan.
Fisher warned that China is preparing for a possible invasion of Taiwan in early 2020 and the Trump administration should provide new military capabilities for the island to help deter any Chinese attack.
“We are really up against the wall; if we cannot devise the right package of fifth generation capabilities, be it new F-35 fighters, submarine technologies, new, cheap, long range anti-ship cruise missiles and energy weapons, then we will face the threat of Chinese invasion of Taiwan perhaps as soon as the early 2020s,” Fisher said.
Taiwan in January began upgrading its force of 144 F-16s. The jets will be outfitted with active electronically scanned array fire-control radar that analysts say can detect radar-evading stealth aircraft.
New avionics equipment also is being added along with advanced AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
The last arms package for Taiwan was announced in December 2015 and was worth $1.83 billion. It included two Perry-class Frigates, Javelin anti-tank missiles, TOW anti-tank missiles, and amphibious assault vehicles. Command and control hardware, F-16 gear, Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems and Stinger surface-to-air missiles were also part of that package.
In December, China’s military conducted a show of force with a squadron of jet fighters and a bomber that circled Taiwan Dec. 10.
U.S. EP-3 and RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft shadowed the Chinese jets during the incident, along with a long-range RQ-4 Global Hawk drone aircraft.
The Chinese saber rattling against Taiwan coincided with Trump’s phone call with Tsai.
China also protested a provision of the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill that was signed into law in December. The new law contains language calling on the Pentagon to conduct a program of senior military exchanges with Taiwan.
Current policy has limited military exchanges between U.S. and Taiwanese officers despite a requirement under the Taiwan Relations Act for the United States to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack.
The phone call between Trump and Tsai in December was the first time an American president had spoken directly to Taiwan’s president in decades and prompted protests from Beijing, which views Taiwan as a break away province.
The United States does not accept China’s interpretation of the so-called One-China policy and regards the Beijing-Taipei dispute over Taiwan’s status as unresolved.
“Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call,” Trump tweeted Dec. 2.
Trump has taken a hard line against China, mainly over unfair trade and currency practices. After the Dec. 2 call, he also suggested the United States might abandon the One China policy and adopt more favorable Taiwan policies.
However, Trump later reiterated U.S. support for the American interpretation of the One China Policy.
Source: Washington Free Beacon “Obama White House Blocked Needed U.S. Arms Sale to Taiwan”
Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Trump’s friendly phone call to Chinese President Xi Jinping hours before meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proves his talents in choosing the best timing in dealing with Japan and China.
As a shrewd businessman, Trump is very clear that Japan is the greatest beneficiary of Obama’s pivot to Asia as of all the countries in the world, Japan has the most earnest desire to contain China due to the war crimes it committed in China in the 1930s and 1940s. As the bitter memory of Japan’s invasion of China remains fresh in China, all Chinese people will support a war against Japan no matter how they love peace. Those who oppose the war will be regarded as traitors by most Chinese people.
Japan is lucky that Chinese leaders are wise. They want good relations with Japan and utterly oppose a war with Japan. However, if Japan provokes China, they will fight. Who knows what their successors will do! Containing China to stop its rise seems the best choice for Japanese leaders and people like Shinzo Abe whose grandparents have committed war crimes in China.
The US, however, helped China resist Japanese invasion. Chinese children are still fond of listening to stories about American pilots who volunteered to help China fight the Japanese in China’s war of resistance against Japan.
Trump knows well that the US is simply unable to contain China. Its military threat in the South China Sea has caused China to build large artificial islands as military bases to dominate the South China Sea. Containing China militarily has only given rise to an arms race with China that the US cannot afford.
Obama’s TPP aims at containing China economically, but will end up benefiting TPP members, especially Japan, at US expense.
Not only so, TPP helps Chinese President Xi Jinping overcome vested interests’ obstacles to his reform and will thus enable China to conform to TPP rules and join TPP.
Moreover, TPP’s stringent rules will push other countries, especially a rising India, closer to China economically as they want China’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to counter TPP.
Now, Trump’s phone call to Xi tells Abe that the US wants to be China’s friend instead of containing China. Containing China will certainly benefit the US as it facilitates US maintenance of its world leadership. However, it is now Japan’s turn to do the hopeless dirty job.
US-China friendship means better access to Chinese and US markets respectively by the US and China. To compete with China in US market, Abe has to make concessions. As an initial sweetener, Abe has promised to invest $150 billion in the US to create 300,000 jobs. That is much better than paying more for US expense in keeping its military in Japan.
Trump’s scrapping of Obama’s pivot to Asia has the effect of pitting Japan against China and will give rise to Japan’s arms race with China.
Trump also plans to improve US relations with Russia. If he can pit Russia against China, he will be able to subdue China by diplomacy, which according to China’s gifted strategist Sun Tzu, is better than subduing by fighting.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
ABC News published an article titled “Analysis: Russia’s Far East Turning Chinese” on flood of Chinese immigration into Russia’s Far East.
Russia and China have a long history of hostility. The article says, “Russia took the territory in 1858 and 1860 with the Treaties of Aigun and Peking, respectively. Of all of the unequal treaties forced upon the Qing dynasty by outside powers in the 19th century, these are the only two China has not managed to overcome. China and Russia signed a border agreement in 1999, but the Beijing government has never formally accepted the Aigun and Peking treaties.”
The article describes Russia’s worry about Chinese illegal immigration into Russia’s Far East. In fact, those who know the history of Chinese immigration do not worry. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Chinese immigrants flooded Southeast Asia. They now dominate the economy of some countries there but have never turned those countries Chinese. Singapore people are more than 80% ethnic Chinese, but they are pro-America instead of pro-China.
However, there is indeed danger of war as lots of Chinese want a war with Russia to recover the 2 million square km of land in Russia’s Far East that China ceded to Russia under the two treaties mentioned in ABC News’ article.
Thanks to Obama, the war will be prevented as due to Obama’s pressure to contain both Russia and China, the two countries’ wise leaders have turned the two countries into good friends and indeed de facto allies with diplomacy that makes them strong enough to subdue the US with joint force.
Moreover, the diplomacy of win-win cooperation has turned potential enemies into good friends.
China follows its gifted strategist Sun Tzu’s teaching that subduing the enemy with diplomacy is better than with war. Putin seems also to have such wisdom. The two countries both turn a blind eye to the illegal immigration.
In fact Putin wants China to cooperate with it in developing Russia’s Far East as no Russians want to go there but Chinese people are fond of going there. Putin adopts the policy of allowing Chinese immigrants who have married Russian to naturalize. That will be good win-win cooperation.
Now, Putin has removed Russian border guards along Russian border with China in Russia’s Far East to allow Chinese immigrants free entry. The photo on top shows that a scarecrow is guarding the border at a border post.
Subduing the enemy with diplomacy is better than with war! Putin and Xi Jinping know that but Obama does not. I hope Trump does.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on ABC News’ article, full text of which can be viewed at http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=82969&page=1.
Doug Bandow January 4, 2017
Perhaps the greatest evidence of the hubris surrounding uber-hawks, both neoconservatives and liberal interventionists, is their willingness—even determination—to make multiple enemies simultaneously around the globe. Hence their constant refrain that the world is dangerous and military spending must go up, ever up.
The United States, apparently alone, since it cannot rely upon allies which are constantly whining for reassurance, must confront China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, the Islamic State, assorted terrorist movements and any anyone else who resists U.S. “leadership.” Neutral observers might find this disparate collection, several of whose members are at odds, somewhat less than a formidable threat compared to the United States, virtually every European nation, the majority of Asian industrial states, the most important and wealthiest powers in the Middle East, and the majority of the rest of the countries that are friendly to the West. Nevertheless, Americans are constantly told that the United States has never been more embattled—not, apparently, during the Civil War, Cold War, World War I, or even World War II.
Yet if the hawkish “perpetual threat” lobby really believes its rhetoric, it has only itself to blame. After all, increasingly treating both China and Russia as adversaries has achieved what was otherwise impossible: pushed the Cold War allies-turned-enemies into friends, and possible allies again.
Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union provided vital assistance to Mao Zedong’s Communist rebels. Without Moscow’s backing, especially turning over weapons and territory to the insurgents after Japan’s August 1945 surrender, Mao might not have had the opportunity to become a nation builder—and one of the greatest mass killers in human history.
Despite some natural tensions between the two states, Mao generally accepted Stalin’s leadership. For instance, with Stalin determined to avoid a military confrontation with America, Mao’s People’s Republic of China intervened in the Korean War to preserve North Korea, which began as a Soviet client state. However, the Soviet leader died in 1953, only four years after the PRC’s creation.
De-Stalinization by Nikita Khrushchev led to ideological disputes over which government offered an uncorrupted vision of Marxist-Leninism. Mao criticized Moscow’s willingness to accept “peaceful coexistence” with the West. The Soviet leadership worried about Mao’s reckless military measures against the remnant Nationalist government in Taiwan. By 1961 the Chinese Communist Party was denouncing Soviet leaders as “revisionist traitors.” The two countries created rival revolutionary and state networks and battled for influence within nominally Communist nations. The USSR backed India against China; the latter criticized Moscow’s willingness to compromise in the Cuban Missile Crisis and join in treaty limits on nuclear weapons.
In 1966 Beijing raised the issue of “unfair” treaties imposed by the czarist Russian Empire. Border conflict broke out three years later. Casualties were modest and fighting ceased later in the year, though a formal border agreement was not reached until 1991.
Chinese-Soviet tension continued around the world, as the two backed rival revolutionary factions in several African conflicts. They disagreed over Vietnam; Beijing supported Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, which was ousted by Hanoi in 1978, and fought a brief war with the latter the following year. The two Communist giants also differed in Afghanistan. Although relations in later years were not nearly as hostile as during the Mao-Khrushchev era, the vision of a unified Communist bloc had been irretrievably destroyed.
The brief Sino-Russian shooting war apparently convinced Mao that he needed to reduce tensions with at least one of the PRC’s potential adversaries, opening the way for the Nixon administration. Rapprochement between the United States and China began with Richard Nixon relaxing trade and travel restrictions on the PRC in 1969. The same year, Beijing and Washington resuscitated the Sino-U.S. ambassadorial Talks. Nixon also used Pakistan as a diplomatic intermediary, which reported Chinese interest in improving bilateral ties.
In 1971 the two countries engaged in so-called “ping-pong diplomacy,” with the visit of an American table tennis team to China, while Nixon eliminated the last travel limits. National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger surreptitiously visited Beijing as part of an official trip to Pakistan in July 1971, setting in motion a second visit in October and U.S. support for the PRC’s entry into the United Nations and possession of the Chinese Security Council seat. Richard Nixon’s famed visit to China came in February 1972. He told Mao: “You are one who sees when an opportunity comes, and then knows that you must seize the hour and seize the day.” Actually, both leaders did so.
Although formal diplomatic ties (which required ending official relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan) did not come until 1979, under President Jimmy Carter, the United States and PRC continued to expand contacts and commerce. In no way were the two countries military allies. But Washington effectively neutralized one potential security threat and prevented the recreation of a Sino-Soviet coalition against the United States. Geopolitically, America gained flexibility and leverage in confronting the USSR. Washington could enjoy global preeminence, if not dominance, at lower cost.
Chinese-Russian relations improved as the Cold War ended and ideological conflicts waned. But tensions remain real. Beijing shows as little respect for intellectual property when it comes to Russian weapons as it does for Western consumer goods. The Central Asian republics were part of the Soviet Union, but increasingly are drawn to China economically. Russia’s Far East is virtually unpopulated, giving rise to fears of Chinese territorial absorption.
However, under President Barack Obama, the United States has courted conflict with both powers. To constrain China, the administration staged the “pivot” or “rebalance.” Washington strengthened alliance ties, added troop deployments and increased military maneuvers. The resources involved have been sufficient to irritate but not enough to scare the PRC. Beijing perceives that Washington hopes to contain China, whether or not the former is willing to admit the obvious.
Against Russia, the United States has followed what appears to be an overtly hostile policy: dismissing the former’s Balkan interests, especially breaking apart historic Slavic ally Serbia (which imperial Russia backed in World War I); bringing old Warsaw Pact members and even Soviet republics into NATO, with invitations seeming likely for Georgia and Ukraine (the latter an integral part of both the Russian Empire and Soviet Union); supporting “color” and street revolutions against Russian-friendly governments in Georgia and Ukraine; pushing regime change, including by Islamist insurgents, against Moscow’s Syrian ally; imposing economic sanctions against Russia; and building up U.S. military forces in Europe. Washington might believe all of these policies to be warranted, but no serious Russian patriot could view them as friendly.
The result has been greater cooperation between China and Russia. They are not formal military allies, but have found their dislike and distrust of Washington to be greater than their bilateral disagreements. In the short term, that means cooperating to limit American influence.
Ultimately the objective could become to deter U.S. military action against both nations. Although Washington, with allied support, today should be able to simultaneously defeat the two (short of unconditional surrender), American dominance will fade. Should Russia and China forge closer military bonds, the United States eventually might find itself facing a much less hospitable international environment. That likely would constrain Washington’s responses, and increase the costs and risks if conflict resulted.
America is a great power. But it should not needlessly create enemies and encourage them to ally with each other. If Donald Trump succeeds in improving relations with Russia, he would have the salutary side effect of discouraging creation of a common Russo-Chinese front against the United States. Richard Nixon’s China policy offers a model for the incoming Trump administration: Make up with at least one of the important powers potentially arrayed against America. The United States should not feel the need to take on the rest of the world.
Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan.
Source: Reuters “A Nixon Strategy to Break the Russia-China Axis”
Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Reuters’ report “Obama says change in U.S. policy toward Taiwan would have consequences with China” shows that Obama wants Trump to continue his diplomacy with respect to China. His words sound as if he is teaching Trump what to do in dealing with China.
I don’t think that Trump is so stupid as to want US-China relations to deteriorate as it will only hurt US interests. What Trump wants is to improve the relations to benefit US economy.
Trump knows well that he should not continue Obama’s stupid diplomacy.
His first wise move is to improve US-Russia relations in order to cut Russia-China de facto alliance.
In Europe, Obama is stupid to take lead in punishing Russia for Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. Russia’s military response in Ukraine is the result of EU instigated street coop that overthrew a pro-Russian president democratically elected.
US interests have not been involved in the conflicts between EU and Russia in Ukraine though the US wants to contain Russia to prevent it from becoming a rival to US world leadership. However, EU has much more earnest desire to contain Russia as Russia, including the Soviet Union, has long been a threat to Western Europe. Moreover, EU is rich and strong enough to deal with Russia. Why shall the US incur huge costs to deal with Russia for EU’s interests. Trump is wise to exploit the conflicts between EU and Russia to urge EU to protect itself or pay for US protection so that such protection will benefit the US instead of being a burden on the US.
Does Trump not want the US to maintain its leadership? No, Trump is well aware that the US is not strong enough to directly take part in others’ conflict to make others obey. He has to let others confront one another. The US, being the strongest, shall exploit the situation to act as an arbitrator to maintain peace and stability.
So shall be Trump’s way in Asia. The US has to be an arbitrator in the conflicts between Taiwan and China, Japan and China, South Korea and China and South China Sea claimants and China and between Russia and Japan. If he can sow discord between Russia and China, he will be the arbitrator between Russia and China. If the US can use its strength and wisdom to ease the conflict and maintain peace and stability, it will be respected as world leader.
If the US directly takes part in the conflicts of others like what it has been doing in the South China Sea as a party to the conflict but fails to make the major party to the conflict obey its leadership, it will only show its weakness and lose its position as world leader.
Obama has precisely been doing such stupid things in Asia. Shall Trump continue Obama’s stupid policy?
To be world leader, one certainly shall be the strongest, but that is no enough. He shall first of all have wisdom.
I believe Trump is not as stupid as Obama to continue Obama’s diplomacy. His use of Taiwan as a bargaining chip is a risky move but he indeed has no other chip to use.
Whether he is wise enough to be world leader to shrewdly use US economic and military strength, we will wait and see.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be read below:
Obama says change in U.S. policy toward Taiwan would have consequences with China
By Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason | WASHINGTON Fri Dec 16, 2016 | 8:00pm EST
President Barack Obama said on Friday it was fine for President-elect Donald Trump to review Washington’s “one-China” policy toward Taiwan, but he cautioned that a shift could lead to significant consequences in the U.S. relationship with Beijing.
“For China, the issue of Taiwan is as important as anything on their docket,” Obama said at a news conference. “The idea of one China is at the heart of their conception as a nation and so if you are going to upend this understanding, you have to have thought through what … the consequences are.”
China lodged a diplomatic protest earlier this month after Trump, a Republican, spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan. The 10-minute telephone call was the first of its kind by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of “one China”.
Obama noted that, under the decades-old policy, China had recognized Taiwan was its own entity that did things its own way, while Taiwan had agreed that, with some autonomy, it would not charge ahead and declare independence.
“That status quo, although not completely satisfactory to any of the parties involved, has kept the peace and allowed the Taiwanese to be a pretty successful … economy and a people who have a high degree of self-determination,” Obama said.
The Democratic president said he had advised Trump that foreign policy had to be conducted in a systematic, deliberate, intentional way.
“There’s probably no bilateral relationship that carries more significance and … where there’s also the potential, if that relationship breaks down or goes into a full conflict mode, that everybody is worse off,” he said of the U.S. relationship with China.
He said Beijing would not treat a departure from U.S. policy toward Taiwan lightly.
“The Chinese will not treat that the way they’ll treat some other issues. They won’t even treat it the way they treat issues around the South China Sea, where we’ve had a lot of tensions,” he said.
“This goes to the core of how they see themselves. And their reaction on this issue could end up being very significant. That doesn’t mean that you have to adhere to everything that’s been done in the past.”
(additional reporting by Julia Harte and David Alexander; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
Note: This is Reuters report I reblog here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.