Sunday, December 4, 2016

Taiwan: Trump Made the Right Call

2016 had been a tough year for Taiwan, the jewel of an island nation that China views as an illegitimate breakaway province. In January, it elected a new president–a progressive female law professor who takes a decidedly dim view of the Communist tyranny a few hundred miles from Taiwan's shores. Mainland China, Taiwan's largest trading partner, was incensed by the Taiwanese people's daring to make a democratic decision—the temerity! And so it began a campaign of collective punishment.
Tourism from the mainland, a key source of revenue for Taiwan, was severely curtailed. And Taiwan was humiliated on the international stage repeatedly. First, at Beijing's behest, it was snubbed by ICAO. When the United Nations' aviation safety group met in Montreal earlier this year, Taiwan wasn't even allowed in as a guest. Then the democratic island of 23 million was given the cold shoulder by INTERPOL. When the global law enforcement group got together in November, Taiwan was shut out again. Despite its remarkable achievements—creating an open, prosperous country with a robust democratic political culture, all in the shadow of an aggressive tyranny hell-bent on reclaiming it—2016 saw Taiwan become, increasingly, a Rodney Dangerfield nation, commanding little to no respect on the global stage.
And then along came Donald Trump.
On Friday, Trump conducted a phone conversation with the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen. It's thought to be the first time that a U.S. president or president-elect has spoken directly with a Taiwanese leader since 1979. The call signals a major shift in America's posture towards China and Taiwan.
Trump's remarkable display of courtesy and solidarity with a beleaguered democracy will no doubt be welcomed warmly on the island. The Taiwanese are acutely, painfully aware of the lack of respect they command on the global stage. On my most recent trip there, in September, the ICAO issue came up repeatedly in discussions with figures in government and academia. Far more important, it seemed, than the technical impact of the snubbing—Taiwan's airlines will have to rely on secondhand sources for the latest technical information, an annoyance but hardly a massive setback—was what it represented: a country unfairly maligned and ignored. Trump's phone call shows that they will be ignored no more.
Read the rest from The Weekly Standard HERE and follow a link to a related story below:

Why Donald Trump's Taiwan Call Changes Everything

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