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Harsh U.S. rhetoric attempt to get Beijing's attention: experts

2018/10/05 22:52:06

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence

Taipei, Oct. 5 (CNA) United States Vice President Mike Pence's sharp criticism of China was a deliberate attempt at getting Beijing's attention, Taiwanese experts said Friday.

In remarks on U.S. policy toward China delivered at the Hudson Institute on Thursday, Pence alleged that Beijing has been using so-called "debt diplomacy" to expand its influence across the world.

Pence also lashed out at China for threatening the stability of the Taiwan Strait by convincing three Latin American nations to cut ties with Taipei.

Alexander Huang (黃介正), a professor in the Department of Diplomacy and International Relations at Tamkang University, told CNA that Pence's speech was primarily aimed at getting Beijing to face up to the current tensions between the two countries.

"The condemnation reflected American grievances against China," Huang said.

Whether it was a tactic to exert pressure on China or a declaration of a "new Sino-American confrontation," the rhetoric could have many implications, Huang said, but what's certain, he said, is that contention between the two sides is here to stay.

Yen Chen-shen (嚴震生), a research fellow at National Chengchi University's Institute of International Relations, viewed the speech in a positive light, saying Pence's remarks on Taiwan reflected the solid relations between the two countries and that they share the common values of democracy.

The U.S. was sending a strong signal to China that it will not tolerate Beijing's aggression on the world stage, both militarily and economically, Yen argued.

Arthur Ding (丁樹範), a former director of National Chengchi University's Institute of International Relations, argued, however, that the speech should not be seen specifically as the voicing of support for Taiwan.

There are many areas of discord between the U.S. and China, and Taiwan is only one of them, he said.

Instead, Pence's intentions were mainly to seek support for the Republicans in the mid-term elections in November by blasting China.

But regardless of the motivation, when the situation eventually comes to a boil, Taiwan will have to choose a side and be ready to brace for the impact, he said.

(By Elaine Hou and Ko Lin)
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