Dynamic, broad-based, and sustainable economic growth can never hinge on the whim of a dictator. It can only arise in the stable and certain conditions created under a constitutional government. Taiwan is a clear example of this truth, and Taiwan is an inspiration to the rest of the Indo-Pacific. ~ U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alex Wong
Last week, in writing about finding ground in opposing viewpoints, I remarked it didn’t take me long, when prompted, to come up with a list of positive things the Trump administration has accomplished. (I supported Hillary Clinton in the last election.)
My comment must have sparked curiosity because I received more than a few emails from folks on both sides of the aisle asking me to share the list. Starting with today’s discussion about the Taiwan Travel Act, over the next few blogs, I will do exactly that.
After the Taiwan Travel Act passed with bipartisan and unanimous consent in the U.S. House and Senate and was signed into law (Public Law Number 115-135) on March 16, 2018 by President Trump, the Chinese government had the following to say:
Why the negative reaction?
Because, as noted in its summary section, the stated purpose of the Taiwan Travel Act is to “encourage visits between U.S. and Taiwanese officials at all levels” and that it should be U.S. policy to:
- Allow U.S. officials at all levels to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts.
- Permit high-level Taiwanese officials to enter the United States under respectful conditions and to meet with U.S. officials, including officials from the Department of State and Defense.
- Encourage the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office and any other instrumentality established by Taiwan to conduct business in the United States. (Public Law Number 115-135)
Although the legislation is nonbinding*, given Taiwan’s flourishing economy and democracy** this policy is long overdue. That’s because, as noted by former diplomat and editor of Taiwan Communique Gerrit van der Wees in The Diplomat, it recognizes that:
U.S. policy toward Taiwan is seriously outdated, as it still reflects the fundamentals and the mindset of the 1970s, when there were two regimes claiming to represent all of China.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Taiwan and it is a special place worthy of not only our national interest but also our embrace. Because the Taiwan Travel Act does just that without breaking our diplomatic acknowledgement of the so called One China policy*** it’s definitely on my list of positives courtesy of the Trump administration.
On that note, now is a good time to leave you with a song from the Taiwanese band Manic Sheep. The song, “No More Anger,” is off their album 布鲁克林 and if I can find it on Spotify I’ll be sure to put it on our Manufacturing Peace of Mind™ Spotify playlist.
*As noted by the Foreign Policy Research Institute because the law deftly uses the word “should” instead of “must,” the President is given a great deal of leeway to negotiate its implications.
**To learn how China is sabotaging Taiwan’s democracy, see this piece from the Economist.
***The One China policy is China’s position that there is only one Chinese government. Meaning, if a country wants formal diplomatic ties with China it must break diplomatic ties with Taiwan. This should not be confused with China’s One China principle which states that one way or another China is going to “reunify” with what it considers to be a breakaway province.
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Having said that, I am interested to hear from you. Good, bad, or otherwise, please feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m the only person who will read your email and, as time allows, I’ll do my best, at a minimum, to personally acknowledge receipt.