Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Taiwan Scenario Begins

Last month, Drew Thompson and I expressed our concerns about what might happen if Taiwan and an independent Kosovo were to establish diplomatic ties, and how this would complicate U.S. policy.

Step one has happened--and certainly should not have been unexpected. Taiwan has recognized Kosovo as an independent state.

Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang said, "As a sovereign nation, Taiwan has the right to do whatever it believes is correct and just." He also made it clear that Taiwan looks "forward to further contact with Kosovo in the future" and this could include provision of aid.

Whether Taipei will try to establish diplomatic relations with Kosovo--and whether Pristina would reciprocate--remains to be seen.

Taiwan also implicitly rejected the U.S. assertion that Kosovo is a "special case". Huang repiled, when asked, that "every country is a special case."

I wonder how that ties in with Khanna's second world thesis: Does it show that China is not a player in neo-European politics? Or that with deals with the US and EU locked up, they can afford to get some cheap Taiwanese cash.

Also wondering how this plays with Northern Cyprus....
And then there is the Palestinian scenario too ...
It doesn't mean anything, and it won't complicate China-US ties. The Bush Administration has already decided to sell Taiwan out, and only widespread sympathy for Taiwan among many conservatives, as well as some Congressional support -- and of course, the problem of appearances -- prevents a more aggressive approach. The Council on Foreign Relations has also put out rosy predictions of US-China partnership. Everyone in the US Establishment now wants to Taiwan to vanish. A friend who went on a recent mission to West and East European capitals observed that in Western Europe the Taiwan delegation was met with stony rejection. "Why don't you hurry up and re-unify so we can all make money?" while in the East, with its long tradition of authoritarian rule, it was more warmly welcomed.

Diplomacy is hypocrisy, and Kosovo isn't going to be a major US-China issue for an Administration that prosecutes Muslim insurgents for violating the Geneva Protocols while simultaneously denying them prisoners rights claiming that Geneva Protocols don't apply to them.

Nick, in case you are interested, an Asia Times piece that references your argument and discusses Beijing's strategy on Taiwan.
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