Trump May Use Taiwan and Trade Cards as Bargaining Chips in US-China Ties

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Governor of Texas Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz met with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in Texas to discuss energy, trade relations and commercial ties as well as arms trade, despite China's protests over the Taiwanese president’s visit to the US.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech before traveling to visit Central American allies including a U.S. transit, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, at the Taoyuan International Airport in Taouyuan, Taiwan. Tsai pledged to bolster Taiwan's presence on the international stage on her visit four Central American allies on a trip that includes U.S. transits and looks set to raise China's ire. - Sputnik International
China Condemns Meeting Between Taiwan's Leader, US Officials
Director of the China Institute of International Relations of the People's University, Wang Yiwei, told Sputnik China that “Tsai Ing-wen should realize that Taiwan is just a card that Trump is playing in the field of Sino-US relations.”

The analyst further said that, “Since Trump and Tsai Ing-wen held a telephone conversation; the issue of Taiwan became increasingly urgent in relations between China and the US. Nevertheless, Taiwan should not relax because Trump allowed Taiwan to buy more US weapons, which, in turn, affected budget of the whole administration.”

Having won the presidential race, Trump has both political and economic motives in playing the Taiwan card. In particular, the US President-elect hopes to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip in relations with China, including the one-China policy.

Earlier, Taiwanese authorities also visited the US so it is important to note what level of persons Tsai Ing-wen held a meeting with. The analyst said that the hope to meet with Trump himself is currently dispersed.

“However, if there was a meeting with someone from Trump’s circle, including a discussion of cooperation between the parties on some specific issues, of course, that would have caused protests from China, causing damage to Sino-US relations,” Yiwei said.

Relations between US-China worsened in December 2016 after US President-elect Donald Trump had a phone call with Tsai. Trump became the first US president or president-elect to speak with a Taiwanese leader in an official capacity since the United States severed ties with the island nation in 1979 in favor of pursuing a one China policy with the government in Beijing.

On December 11, Trump said he would not be bound by the "One China" policy regarding relations with Taiwan.

Later in the month, Trump said that he did not exclude the possibility of a meeting with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, who was going to pay a working visit to Latin American countries in January with a stop in the United States.

After Chinese Nationalist forces were defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communists, the Nationalist government moved to Taiwan in 1949. Since then, Beijing has viewed the self-ruled, democratic island as a breakaway province. The United States, along with many other countries, does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation and sticks officially to the "One China" position, but has kept informal relations with the island after severing diplomatic ties with it in 1979.

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