March 27, 2017

Taiwan’s Answer to Chinese Economic Coercion

By Richard Fontaine

A Japanese vice minister has become the highest-ranking Japanese official to visit Taiwan since Tokyo severed ties with the island in 1972. Jiro Akama, deputy minister of internal affairs and communications, opened a tourism fair and urged Taipei to relax the restrictions on food imports put in place after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Such mundane diplomacy would register barely a blip in any normal international relationship, but it represents a minor Taiwanese victory in the highly charged cross-strait relations between Taipei and Beijing. To the extent that it helps boost Japan’s economic ties with the island, it’s also an example for the region and beyond.

China today is subjecting Taiwan to its trademark economic coercion. Following Tsai Ing-wen’s 2016 election to Taiwan’s presidency after eight years of Kuomintang rule, Beijing dialed up the pressure. Its immediate demand is that Ms. Tsai endorse the “1992 Consensus,” an agreement that there exists one China (even as Taiwan and China differ on its meaning).

Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal.

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