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What the Taiwan papers say about Donald Trump's victory

2016/11/10 14:20:49

Photo by China News Service

Major newspapers have commented on the significance on Taiwan of Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election.

Liberty Times: Taiwan has no need to worry.

Trump often made controversial remarks during his campaign, and his behavior pattern or policies are often hard to predict, but former Foreign Minister Chen Tan-sun (陳唐山) said Taiwan need not to worry too much.

Chen said that Trump will have to be responsible for all Americans, and that U.S. foreign policy is stable.

He noted that Taiwan has been mentioned every time in previous U.S. presidential elections. This time, the Republican Party also listed "six assurances" to Taiwan in its platform, which is tantamount to a white paper on Taiwan policy.

People are particularly nervous this time because they are more familiar with the defeated candidate Hillary Clinton, while Trump is a political novice with no political team behind him.

But as U.S. policy is by nature stable and continuous, even with Trump in office, there will be a team examining policy, and it will be impossible to sever the policies of the previous administration outright, Chen said.

"This is because his strategists would not allow him to do so," Chen opined.

He stressed that at this stage, Taiwan needs to "upgrade itself," focusing on the domestic economy and social integration.

As long as Taiwan is a strong, progressive and cooperative nation, "it is only natural for others to look upon us favorably," he said.

"There is no such thing" as counting on help from others if Taiwan is not good for itself, Chen said.

China Times: Taiwan independence advocacy will be quiet with Trump in office.

Chinese scholars have said that Trump's triumph is a setback for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who was betting on a Clinton win.

Faced with a Trump administration about which she knows practically nothing, Tsai dares not touch the issue of Taiwan independence and the present "cold peace" relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will continue.

As a businessman and pragmatist, Trump is more likely to reach a deal with China in exchange for U.S. estrangement from Taiwan, according to the scholars.

Renmin University of China Professor Jin Canrong (金燦榮) said that the Tsai administration has not developed a relationship with Trump or his major staff.

For this reason, Tsai dare not venture to tread the red line drawn by China, although she will also not recognize "the 1992 consensus."

In the short term, the two sides will maintain a "bickering but not broken" relationship, Jin said.

As Trump wanted U.S. allies to shoulder more of their own responsibilities, the U.S. could possibly sell Taiwan more weapons, he said.

Peking University Professor Liang Yunxiang (梁雲祥) also said that the United States will continue to sell arms to Taiwan, because this will benefit the U.S. economy, but will not make further military commitment.

Trump's policy is that the allies will have to shoulder bigger responsibilities, either by buying more U.S. arms or strengthening their own defenses.

In the long run, Trump will be a minus for Taiwan, Jin said.

Clinton had wanted to play Taiwan against China, while Trump wants to give Taiwan the cold shoulder in favor of deals with China, he said. China has many aces up in its sleeve, and if it applies pressure, such as demanding that Taiwan recognize the "1992 consensus," the United States could display cold attitude toward the matter.

Liang said that after Trump assumes office, he will focus more on domestic issues, but will not "abandon Taiwan."

Trump is an isolationist, but he won't go far, as the U.S. has its own national interests to consider.

U.S. media also supports Taiwan, but "Taiwan-U.S. relations could become more estranged," Liang forecast.

United Daily News: Taiwan could become a bargaining chip in U.S.-China deals.

Political and economic relations between Taiwan and the United States will be thrown into uncertainty, and the situation gives us no reason for optimism, according to the United Daily News.

Trump barely mentioned Taiwan during his campaign, and the only time he mentioned it was when he said countries such as Taiwan and South Korea have taken jobs away from Americans.

Bert Mizusawa, a senior policy adviser for Trump, said in October that Trump's election will not create any changes on Taiwan, because the U.S. sees Taiwan as a good friend and a major member of the international community.

Mizusawa said that although Trump has not singled out Taiwan, he is aware of the importance of U.S. trade with Asia-Pacific nations.

In other words, Trump attaches importance to trade and business with Asia and the Pacific. Taiwan needs to enhance its economic relations with the U.S.

But as Taiwan's economy has yet to pick up steam and as its bid to join the second round of negotiations on the U.S.-initiated free trade bloc -- the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- could fall through due to Trump's opposition to the TPP, Taiwan risks being marginalized if it is also unable to join the China-initiated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

If Trump, a real estate tycoon, decides that economic exchanges with Taiwan do not meet U.S. interests, he could change present Taiwan-U.S. relation and could even adjust the economic structure between the two.

Some political scholars in the United States have already said that with Trump in the White House, Taiwan could very likely become a bargaining chip in China-U.S. deals, because Trump believes in putting U.S. interests first. (Summarized by Lilian Wu)