Absence from agenda is good: academics

Academics yesterday weighed in on Friday’s meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), saying that they were relieved that Taiwan was not on the agenda in the first meeting between the two leaders.

The Trump-Xi meeting was more symbolic than substantial, National Chung Hsing University international politics professor Tsai Ming-yan (蔡明彥) said.

In the meeting between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February, Tsai said the US and Japan issued a post-meeting joint statement reasserting the US’ commitment to maintaining Japan’s security and consolidating the US-Japan coalition, a contrast to this week’s meeting.

The seemingly harmonious atmosphere during Thursday and Friday’s meeting was contrived, Tsai said, because a post-meeting news conference held by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed that fundamental issues between the US and China need to be addressed, such as the US’ trade deficit with China and Beijing’s breach of international convention by military expansion into the South China and East China seas.

What Trump and Xi established were channels for future dialogue on trade, foreign policy, information security, religious freedom and human rights, Tsai said, adding that he believes the specific topics set to be discussed via these channels would help them operate more effectively than former US president Barack Obama’s US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, which failed to help the two sides engage.

Tsai said that the US in a pre-meeting news conference reiterated its commitment to Taiwan by stressing the importance of the Taiwan Relations Act, that it is against China annexing Taiwan by force and that it would continue to move bilateral cooperation forward.

“This signaled to China that Washington’s ‘one China’ policy is different from Beijing’s ‘one China’ principle, and that there is not much room for the US to make concessions on Taiwan affairs, which are not to be bargained with,” Tsai said.

“With the high level of importance the Trump administration attaches to the Taiwan Relations Act, China will likely have to make adjustments [to its Taiwan policy], while Taiwan can capitalize on [the US’] proper handling of its competitive and cooperative relationship with China, thus continuing to strengthen the Taiwan-US partnership under the framework set by the act,” he added.

“The fact that Taiwan was not on the agenda was the best we could have hoped for,” National Taiwan Normal University political science professor Fan Shih-ping (范世平) said.

Trump’s aides are likely to urge Beijing to resume interactions with President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration, as its current policy “does not work” and only motivates more Taiwanese to join the pan-green political camp in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, Fan said.

Trump and Xi might have seemed cordial toward each other at a banquet on Friday, but it was about the same time that Trump attacked Syrian military facilities, which was “embarrassing” for Xi, because China has spoken against US military intervention in Syria, Fan said.

Trump’s move was aimed at asserting the US’ leadership and to show Xi that the US would be capable of launching a similar assault on North Korea, pressuring Xi to clarify his stance on Korean Peninsula tensions, he added.

資料來源: Taipei Times/ 報導日期: 2017-04-09 點閱人次: 236人