Less than a month after the November 2016 election and several weeks before Donald Trump’s inauguration, U.S. policy toward Taiwan faced an early defining moment. On December 2, thepresident-elect received a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen. The first direct presidential communication since 1979, the telephone connection appears to have been carefully orchestrated. The next week Trump said he was reconsidering the 40-year-old “one China” policy built on three U.S.-China joint communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and other major policy statements. Yet in his first official phone call with China’s leader, President Trump reassured President Xi Jinping that the United States remained committed to the one-China policy. These early muscle movements of Taiwan policy revealed some of the characteristic negotiating tactics of both the author of The Art of the Deal and the Chinese government. President Trump, seeking to improve his bargaining position over Taiwan, provoked an early test with Beijing to announce that the United States would henceforth be less predictable than in the past. Meanwhile, China made clear that the only sure path to fruitful cooperation would require strict adherence to Chinese principles. These moves presaged future tension and competition, given that the Trump administration had every intention to seek peace but prevent coercion against the people of Taiwan: in other words, the new president accepted the one-China policy of the United States and not the one-China
Read the Full Article at NBR
More from CNAS
CommentaryThe Nonintervention Delusion
Richard Fontaine addresses the most frequently expressed concerns about U.S. military interventions and concludes that the use of military force will remain a key component of...
By Richard Fontaine
CommentaryWhy Huawei Isn’t So Scary
5G may have become a buzzword, but the notion that countries must rush to be first to deploy it is mistaken and reckless—and increases the odds of security breaches. There’s n...
By Elsa B. Kania & Lindsey R. Sheppard
CommentaryTime for Congress to Establish a U.S. Digital Development Fund
As impeachment deliberations roil Washington, Congress will be tempted to look inward and dial back on efforts to address the challenge China poses to American security, prosp...
By Daniel Kliman
CommentaryWhy the United States Needs a Digital Development Fund
What the executive branch and Congress can do to counter China’s expanding digital footprint across the developing world....
By Daniel Kliman