In February, President Tsai Ing-wen spoke in an interview with CNN with the threat of China is a top topic discussed in the interview. With the president being the first woman in office and in her first term, she has steadily lost approval from the people as she moved in her administration away from the prior Kuomintang (Nationalist) Party’s direction of easing tensions with China. However, since Chinese President Xi has come to power their policies toward Taiwan have ramped up in pressuring down on the island to “peacefully reunify” with the mainland.
At the beginning of the year, President Xi has made statements pushing for “peaceful reunification” with what China still considers Taiwan to be the “rogue province” of the People’s Republic of China (What China is formally named) versus the “Republic of China” as Taiwan is named. President Xi also stated that the continuing pursuit of fully recognized independence by Taiwan is a “dead end”. Tsai stated that Xi’s speech changed the situation of Taiwan status in China’s policies and said that she would never give in to any arrangement of Taiwan becoming another province, let alone another semi-autonomous region similar to Hong Kong and Macao.
While Tsai’s party has suffered losses in the recent elections, the further pressure from China could prove to only strengthen her position to maintain the position of a Taiwan showing to be unafraid from the overwhelming threat of China. With the push from China, the sentiments towards communism will also see a fading away as the younger generation of Taiwanese citizens will seek to be reminded of Taiwan and China’s history of Communism versus Democracy.
Unfortunately, the US is in an awkward position with Trump’s trade war with China having Taiwan caught in the middle of the war. While Trump has met with President Tsai prior to his inauguration into becoming president, his present policies are completely in Taiwan’s favor due to the nature of influence over the US economy and its influence in Asia. These trade problem could possibly provide a vital opportunity for Taiwan though as China’s technology with 5G and the security concerns with Huawei could create a huge opening for Taiwan to supply technology to the US to offset the other export problems posed by the Chinese-American Trade war.
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