Liberty Times: Taiwan can stand upright

2017/01/10 15:58:30 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Liberty Times: Taiwan can stand upright

Remarks by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) over the weekend during a stopover in Houston en route to a visit to Central America may have sounded causal, but they are actually crucial.

Tsai said the United States is the most important ally of Taiwan and enjoys a unique place in the minds of the Taiwanese people. Taiwan, as the ninth-largest trading partner of the United States, has directly or indirectly contributed to creating over 320,000 jobs for American people, she said.

Tsai is right. Relations between Taiwan and the United States, and actually between Taiwan and other countries, have to be built on a cooperative and mutually beneficial basis.

Tsai's remarks can be interpreted as a response to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's criticism of other countries taking away job opportunities from Americans during his presidential campaign.

According to Taiwanese data, the 320,000 jobs are divided into three parts: First are staff hired by Taiwanese businessmen investing in the United States, representing 97,000 people; jobs created by U.S. exports to Taiwan, at around 135,000 people, and jobs created by services provided by the United States to Taiwan, or 91,000 people.

In other words, not only does the U.S. invest in Taiwan, but Taiwan also invests in the U.S., and the two sides have a complementary relationship.

The two sides are also on parity in terms of regional security. When the Korean War erupted on June 25, 1950, then-U.S. President Harry Truman was forced to order the Seventh Fleet to cruise the Taiwan Strait based on U.S. interests and renewed assistance to Taiwan arms purchases, when it was about to decide to give up on the Chiang Kai-shek administration.

Over the past six decades, Taiwan has been strategically on the frontline facing China. It has spent a lot of money on military purchases, and has contributed a great deal toward stabilizing U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

Moreover, even on the surface, it was U.S.-approved arms sales -- in fact, Taiwan paying "protection money" -- by passively accepting the arms. The newly elected Trump may not be clear about the situation, but the U.S. Department of Defense knows it perfectly.

Faced with a powerful United States, especially the Trump administration, Taiwan has to stand upright and negotiate with it with substantive information.

Faced with a China that is highly hostile toward Taiwan, Taiwanese should also galvanize their will and strength.

Taiwan is small, lacking in natural resources and facing an international blockade, yet it manages to thrive among the big powers. It's not easy, and it is certainly entitled to hold its head high as new age comes along. (Editorial abstract -- Jan. 10, 2017) (Summarized by Lilian Wu)


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