Chen's visit to the US shows that the tail still wants to wag the dog
REPORTEDLY, Chen Ming-tong, head of Taiwan's "Mainland Affairs Council" visited Washington DC this month, where he plans to attend a seminar jointly held by the Heritage Foundation and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, and meet officials of the US Department of Defense, State Department, National Security Council and the House of Representatives. Guancha.cn comments:
The relationship between the United States and Taiwan is tricky at present. Some US officials propose containing China by playing the Taiwan card, while some simply want Taipei to lift its control on the importing of beef and pork from the US.
Trump, considering his style, is not likely to let the Taiwan question crop up unexpectedly in the tense relations with China during the trade war he is initiating, unless the trade war fails in its purpose.
Given the fanfare created by his phone conversation with Tsai Ing-wen, the Taiwan leader, when he was a president-elect, Trump has acted with considerable restraint on the issue since then.
This has left Taipei in an embarrassing position. So its appeal to the US is clear.
The first "ministerial-level official" of Taiwan visiting the US after the "Taiwan Travel Act" came into effect in March, Chen is assigned to learn about Washington's future plans, and, more important, urge Washington to further contain China, pressing it to soften its voices to Taiwan, or even come to the negotiation table that Tsai has long advocated.
But her call for a dialogue is only a guise, because she insists the two sides come to talks with no preconditions, which obviously refers to the one China consensus reached in 1992. Her suggestion is in effect to create a situation, in which Taiwan is on an equal footing with the People's Republic of China as an "independent state", something Beijing will by no means swallow.
Tsai's separatist stance means the door to dialogue remains firmly shut. And the pressure Taipei faces from across the Straits is in the first place self-inflicted.