The Council delegation and the Taiwan Defense Industry Development Association TW-DIDA meet to discuss bilateral cooperation issues, and conduct site visits with Taiwan defense contractors and with local manufacturers active in the defense supply chain. Council Chairman Michael Splinter and Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers travel to Taiwan to meet with senior business leaders and members of the Taiwan government to promote bilateral trade and business relations between the United States and Taiwan.
Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers travels to Taiwan to attend the opening of the new American Institute in Taiwan AIT facilities in Taipei on June 12, , and to meet with members, government officials, and business leaders to promote bilateral trade and business relations. Splinter replaces Paul Wolfowitz, who had served in the role since The Council issues a press release commenting on the Congressional Notification for U.
Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers travels to Taiwan to promote bilateral trade and business relations between the U. The Council submits written testimony to the International Trade Administration, commenting on its investigation of trading partners with which the U. The U. To be honest, I do not know. I cannot rule out the possibility that gradually and over time the Taiwan public and political leaders will abandon decades of opposition to one-country, two systems and choose to let Taiwan become a special administrative region of the PRC.
But I doubt it. Moreover, because of the provisions of the ROC constitution, fundamental change of the sort that Beijing wants would require constitutional amendments and therefore a broad and strong political consensus, which does not exist at this time. So if political integration is to occur in the next couple of decades, it will occur not because of the cumulative impact of economic integration but because Beijing has decided to make Taiwan an offer that is better than one-country, two systems. So far, I see no sign it will do so. The more likely future is the continued creation and consolidation of a stabilized order, one in which economic interdependence deepens, social and cultural interaction grows, competition in the international community is muted, and all these arrangements will be institutionalized to one degree or another.
But none of this will be automatic. Issues relevant to the resolution of the dispute e. Clearly, as long as the Taiwan government wishes to pursue something like the current policies, it will have to maintain political support for its continuation in power. How the public views its cross-Strait policies are one key factor. So far, polls suggest that the public supports continued economic integration but not political integration.
A substantial majority favors keeping the status quo for the foreseeable future. If Beijing were to push for advances in political relations and the Taiwan government chose to go along before the public was prepared, there would likely be a backlash. If China is, for example, too grudging in the run-up to the elections, there is the chance that Taiwan voters will punish Ma and his party because their promise of benefits from engagement would not be realized.
The Taiwan public will be more likely to support economic, and possibly modest political integration, if it has a sense of self-confidence. Creating that will require self-strengthening in a few key areas.
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It must continue to enhance its economic competitiveness. Interdependence with the Mainland is one way.
But economic liberalization with others is also necessary, including the United States. And Taiwan should undertake domestic economic reforms to facilitate the transition to a knowledge-based and service-based economy. Taiwan also needs to strengthen itself militarily. Finally, Taiwan needs to strengthen its democratic system. Some key institutions, such as the legislature and the mass media, could serve the public better.
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Unfortunately, they reinforce a regrettable polarization that began ten years ago. A centrist foundation to politics, in which the two major parties cooperate on pressing tasks, is what the Taiwan people deserve. The growing pragmatism in public opinion, which Dr. Rigger has so ably documented, suggests that the public would welcome more constructive politics. There is no question that China has different expectations for cross-Strait relations than does Taiwan. In Chinese press commentary, writers regularly express the belief that economic integration will lead to a fairly quick political reconciliation.
Last summer, there was a very interesting poll in which people on each side were asked what was likely to happen over the long term. Sixty percent of Taiwan respondents believed that the status quo would persist. Sixty-four percent of PRC respondents said that the two sides would become one nation. When it comes to the Chinese leadership, however, I detect a different calculus.
They certainly seek unification as the ultimate outcome, and they give no hint of any deviation from one-country, two-systems.
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On the other hand, there is an appreciation that this is a protracted and complex process. What is important in the short and medium term is that nothing happens to negate the possibility that the PRC goal will be achieved. As long as the door to unification remains open, patience is possible.
It is when Beijing sees that door closing that it becomes anxious and a bit reckless. Thus, the growing emphasis before on preventing Taiwan independence. If the danger of Taiwan independence is low, the leadership can wait for political integration. Recall that in the late s and early s, Washington was worried that the situation of mutual fear might lead either or both sides to miscalculate, leading to a conflict that would likely involve the United States. As the chances of such a scenario decline and Beijing and Taipei take more responsibility for the peace and stability of their neighborhood, the United States has one less problem to worry about.
It does not need to engage in dual deterrence. For similar reasons, the stabilization of cross-Strait relations, if it occurs, would also benefit the United States. Clearly, if the situation evolved from stabilization to an attempt to resolve the fundamental Taiwan-China dispute, and if there was movement from economic integration to political integration, there would be implications for the United States. Some of these potential consequences are strategic in nature. Would unification, on whatever terms, undercut the U. It is impossible to tell, because we cannot know what the terms of that unification might be.
If the PLA were to have no presence on Taiwan, as is sometimes suggested, the consequences for the United States might be limited. But I believe that political integration, with all its attendant issues, is not even on the horizon. Even in the task of stabilizing the cross-Strait order, U.
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If Beijing agreed, then it would likely try to place on the agenda the advanced systems that the island acquires from the United States and the American security commitment. The two sides will have enough problems negotiating an economic accord, much less a peace accord.
The proper U. As Taiwan liberalizes its economic relations with China, it has an interest in pursuing liberalization with other trading partners.