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Home The News News Think tank head says next US president should consider normalizing relations

Think tank head says next US president should consider normalizing relations

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The next president of the US should consider normalizing relations with Taiwan, a Washington conference was told on Friday.

When the US extends legitimacy to a communist regime and does not recognize a democracy, “what kind of signal does that send to the rest of the world?” Project 2049 Institute executive director Mark Stokes asked.

Stokes was addressing a Hudson Institute conference on what the next US president should do about China’s strategy in Asia.

Stokes, a former Pentagon official, said that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) strategy toward Taiwan was clear — “unification on Beijing’s terms.”

That would leave the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the sole representative of “one China” on the international stage, he said.

“The objective reality is that there are two legitimate governments, one on each side of the Taiwan Strait,” Stokes said.

He said that the US went “full bore” in switching diplomatic recognition to the PRC, but that since the first peaceful change of government on Taiwan in 2000, it has become “increasingly difficult to sustain this approach.”

From 1972 to 1979, Washington had relatively normal relations with both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Stokes said.

“There is nothing in our one China policy that would restrict us from moving towards relatively normal relations with both sides of the Strait,” he said.

Regarding the ongoing US presidential campaign and next year’s election, Taiwan should be on the agenda, Stokes said, adding that, at the very least, it was worth having candidates look into the possibility of “balancing” legitimacy on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

When asked if the next president of the US should sell diesel-electric submarines to Taiwan, Stokes said that he was overwhelmingly in favor of such a move, but that the White House should not wait for a new administration to decide on the issue.

The administration of US President Barack Obama should “sooner, rather than later” allow US companies to assist Taiwan with the development of its own indigenous diesel-electric submarines.

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Asian studies director Dan Blumenthal said that he was “very pro” selling submarines or submarine technology to Taiwan.

Blumenthal, a former senior director for China and Taiwan at the Pentagon, said that every US ally in Asia had submarines and that it was “obvious” Taiwan should also have modern submarines in its fleet.

If the US public were to be asked if they thought Taiwan should have submarines, the answer would be a “resounding ‘yes,’” he said.

Although strategic competition is not the only dimension of the Sino-American relationship, “it is beginning to define it,” Blumenthal said in a paper published on Friday by the AEI.

He said the challenge for Washington is not that China is richer or more powerful, but rather the kind of power it is becoming under continued one-party rule by the CCP.

China faces internal problems in Xinjiang, Tibet and Sichuan, Blumenthal added.

He said that recent events in Hong Kong were a reminder that China will do whatever it takes to suppress democracy movements demanding more autonomy.

However, “that is not an easy task, particularly in a partially postmodern world in which protest movements can quickly gain international support,” Blumenthal said.

Source: Taipei Times - 2015/10/25

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Beijing is fighting to have an artist’s mural promoting independence for Taiwan and Tibet removed from a brick wall in the small town of Corvallis, Oregon.

Two officials from the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco have written to the mayor of Corvallis about the mural and last week visited the town to lodge a formal complaint.

“As you are aware, the First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech in this country and this includes freedom of artistic expression,” Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning has told them.