July 27, 2018

Taiwan Is Not a Bargaining Chip

By Patrick M. Cronin and Kristine Lee

For Taipei, the question of U.S. reliability is an existential matter. Beijing is pressuring Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, hinting at the use of force if necessary to achieve unification with the island. This is no time for America to go wobbly on support for democratic Taiwan.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s penchant for unpredictability and the smattering of prominent voices in academe suggesting that the United States should barter Taiwan for other concessions ensure that China will keep probing the limits of America’s political resolve. But regarding Taiwan as a bargaining chip would be antithetical to the U.S. national interest.

Fortunately, there is remarkable bipartisan support for strengthening U.S.-Taiwan relations, if only as a response to President Xi Jinping’s ambition to secure China’s central position in the world order. The Taiwan Travel Act, which Trump signed into law in March, supports closer official U.S.-Taiwan engagement at all levels. Likewise, the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act urges the United States to participate in “appropriate Taiwanese military exercises, such as the annual Han Kuang exercise” and encourages high-level defense and military exchanges.

As Washington dials up pressure on Beijing, mainly to address unfair Chinese investment practices and leeching of U.S. intellectual property, it should not view Taiwan simply as a lever in its diplomatic toolkit. Instead, it should advance an affirmative vision, strengthening Taiwan’s ability to compete economically and militarily for the long term and remain a bastion of democracy in the Chinese-speaking world.


Read the Full Article at The Diplomat

  • Commentary
    • May 11, 2022
    Sharper: The Authoritarianism Challenge

    Autocratic leadership is on the rise globally. Even in democratic nations, leaders are eroding checks on their power and weakening institutions. The use of illiberal technolog...

    By Anna Pederson

  • Commentary
    • April 27, 2022
    Sharper: Taiwan

    Taiwan plays a pivotal role in East Asian and global affairs. It has long been a central point of contention in the strategic competition between the United States and China. ...

    By Anna Pederson & Jacob Stokes

  • Video
    • April 27, 2022
    If India won't readjust ties with Russia, questions will be asked about Indo-US ties

    ThePrint's Senior Consulting Editor Jyoti Malhotra speaks to Lisa Curtis about the impact of India's relationship with Russia on ties with Russia. Watch the full interview fr...

    By Lisa Curtis

  • Commentary
    • The Observer Research Foundation
    • April 26, 2022
    Creating Waves in the Indo-Pacific: Reverberations from Russia’s War in Ukraine

    Russia’s war in Ukraine is making it increasingly difficult—perhaps impossible— for India to be able to straddle the US-Russia divide for much longer....

    By Lisa Curtis

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia