Courtesy Reuters

Tough Taiwan

By Andrew J. C. Kao

In “Beyond the Pivot” (March/April 2013), Kevin Rudd suggests that Washington and Beijing should work toward establishing a new Shanghai Communiqué in order to improve and solidify their relationship. He argues that some analysts’ concerns that this type of dialogue could “reopen the contentious issue of Taiwan” are not valid because Taiwan’s relationship with the mainland is currently very good. Indeed, cross-strait relations have improved significantly since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008. However, this does not mean that Taipei is willing to make concessions on issues of political autonomy and sovereignty. Taiwan will continue to safeguard its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national dignity.

The United States should be careful not to compromise Taiwan’s position while it builds its relationship with mainland China. Not only would this defy the United States’ commitment to democracy; it would also call into question Washington’s promise to be a security partner for Asian countries other than China—damaging the United States’ reputation and influence and endangering its strategic position in the region.

ANDREW J. C. KAO
Director General, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York