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Taiwan not to become a 'chip' in geopolitical game: officials

2016/12/12 22:59:31

Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) Taiwan will not become a "bargaining chip" in an international geopolitical game as long as it can keep its democracy and expand its international participation, officials said Monday.

The officials were reacting to a comment by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in a TV interview that the U.S. under his administration may not necessarily recognize Beijing's "one China" principle when it comes to cross-strait relations.

"I fully understand the 'one China' policy, but I don't know why we have to be bound by a 'one China' policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade," Trump told Fox News on Sunday.

Trump's statement, while welcomed by pro-Taiwan independence politicians in Taiwan, also triggered worries that the U.S. might use Taiwan as a bargaining chip in its dealings with China on trade issues.

A Time Magazine analysis said that while Trump has raised the stakes, Taiwan has the most to lose militarily and economically in any future diplomatic U.S.-China standoff about its status.

Alex Huang (黃重諺), spokesman for President Tsai Ing-wen, would not comment on Trump's remarks but contended that anything that can ensure two things for Taiwan is welcome -- that Taiwan's freedom and democracy are guaranteed and that Taiwan can expand its international space.

"These are our ultimate national interests," Huang said, adding that Taiwan would be pleased to see policy changes by any other governments that will help Taiwan achieve those "ultimate national interests."

While Trump's "undiplomatic" challenge of the "one China" policy is welcomed by some in Taipei, others were worried businessman Trump might go ahead to trade off Taiwan's democracy for U.S. interests, hurting Taiwan's "ultimate interests."

But the officials said big countries like the U.S. and China have their own strategies, and small countries like Taiwan have their own strategies too.

If Taiwan's core interests in keeping its democracy and expanding its international participation can be ensured, there will be no such question as to whether Taiwan will be used as a bargaining chip in the power play between the U.S. and China, they said.

(By Sophia Yeh and S.C. Chang)
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