Taiwan should study Donald Trump as it becomes less important to US

Taiwan must do more to deepen its ties with the US amid concerns over a possible negligence by Donald Trump-led America and diminishing importance of the island in the US foreign policy.

The fears stem from the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, who is widely seen by the Tsai Ing-wen government as a pro-Taiwan politician. Unaware of what attitude Trump will hold toward Taiwan, the Tsai government should study Trump's style because the populist always made radical and far-fetched remarks during his presidential campaign.

The basic policies adopted by the Tsai government have proved to be counterproductive to the stability of East Asia. Therefore, Tsai must be more flexible in dealing with the affairs with the Chinese mainland especially at a time when the Philippines has made a turnaround in its territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.

Trump's tendency of economic protectionism will take a toll on Taiwan's economy. His election as the next US president signifies the end of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade agreement that excludes China. In addition, Taiwan will also find it hard to enter the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) because of its soured relationship with the Chinese mainland.

Although it is difficult to make a prediction about the foreign policies of Trump, a man with no political experience, there is a thing that Taiwan should know: domestic politics will determine what foreign policies Trump will adopt. The victory of Trump reflects the serious rift in the American society, which shows Americans' objection to internationalism and globalization. The Trump administration will focus on domestic affairs and the China-US relationship will enter a new stage under his presidency. But when tensions in the South China Sea, the East China Sea, the Middle East, North Korea and Ukraine intensify, the US may use Taiwan as a card to play.

On one hand, the US will not abandon Taiwan because the move will weaken its influence among its allies; on the other hand, China and the US will not battle with each other over small things because the two big powers have more than 90 channels of communication.

Su Chi is former secretary-general of the National Security Council of Taiwan.

(Opinions expressed in the article don't represent those of the Sino-US.com)

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