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Trump, Obama statements on China benefit Taiwan: scholar

ROC Central News Agency

2016/12/18 19:58:00

Taipei, Dec. 18 (CNA) Recent comments on relations between the United States, China and Taiwan by U.S. President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump's questioning of the one-China policy have created a favorable situation for Taiwan, a Taiwanese scholar said Sunday.

Their engagement on the sensitive diplomatic issue has "unexpectedly created a space where the Taiwan issue has stabilized for a short while," said Wu Rwei-ren (吳叡人), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica's Institute of Taiwan History, at a forum in Taipei.

The interplay between Trump's "questioning" of the U.S.'s one-China policy and the public reiteration of Washington's commitment to Taiwan by Obama has resulted in a slight loosening of the "one China" policy while keeping China at bay on the Taiwan issue.

Obama's remarks on Taiwan and China issues at his year-end press conference on Friday "has at least kept Communist China from acting to change the current situation of Taiwan being a de facto independent state," Wu said.

With the Republican Party and Democratic Party competing to show that their policy on Taiwan is the best, they have produced a result that "no one will truly betray Taiwan," he contended.

Wu argued that while neither party will truly fight for Taiwan's best interests, their criticism of each other on cross-strait issues has given Taiwan prominence in U.S. political circles and made it a "small winner" during the U.S. power transition.

He warned, however, that Taiwan needed to maintain its high degree of autonomy, saying it "must not be dragged away by Trump, or by Obama, or by China."

Facing structural changes in the international political environment, Taiwan has to develop the ability to handle challenges, Wu said.

"When someone wants to sell you out, you must have the ability to rely on yourself," the scholar said.

Wu described China as "a giant dragon wagging its tail," meaning that it has become agitated and ready to lash out, and said it was right for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to handle the situation with great caution.

He praised Tsai's cross-Taiwan Strait policy emphasizing the status quo between Taiwan and China, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory and has maintained its right to take the island by force.

(By Sophia Yeh and Elizabeth Hsu)
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