Taiwan Deserves Better Than Trump’s Drive-By

Rob Cox: “Sure, Taiwan gained a flicker of national pride from Trump’s shout-out. For Tsai, it may have helped shore up her sagging popularity for a moment. But it’s hard to see how this $500 billion-plus economy will benefit from its brief dalliance with America’s Tweeter-in-chief.”

“Taiwan deserves better. The island is a model for the region – and its far larger rival 110 miles across the water. And though its economy has slowed in recent years, its people enjoy an enviable quality of life. Its GDP per capita on a purchasing power parity basis is some $47,000, higher even than in the United Kingdom, France or Canada. It’s an example of what’s possible when democracy and free markets flourish in Asia… Though it was not perfect, the One China status quo allowed Taiwan to manage its business and security while Beijing could pretend it didn’t matter.”

“But the longer-term negative effects of the call will become apparent in coming months. China can further restrict tourism. It can pry away some of the few remaining countries that still formally recognize Taiwan, such as Panama. As Moody’s recently warned, it can also exert pressure on other nations in the region to restrict trade or commerce with Taipei. Most painful, and not without a cost to its own interests, China can hit Taiwanese capital on the mainland.”

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