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Washington is rethinking 'One China policy' and Taiwan relations: analysis

Researcher Marvin Ott examines how Taiwan is a 'tripwire' and will likely take 'center stage in the contest for the future of Asia'

President Tsai and President Trump (Images by Associated Press, modified)

President Tsai and President Trump (Images by Associated Press, modified)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – According to some analysts, amid the increasing trade tensions of the Washington’s trade war with Beijing, there may be signs that the Trump Administration is reconsidering the “One China Policy” of the United States Government.

A researcher at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Marvin Ott, recently published an article that calls Taiwan a “tripwire” and suggests the country may take “center stage” in determining the future relationship between China and the United States.

According to Ott, Taiwan’s democratization and geo-strategic importance make it impossible for Washington to ignore Taiwan’s precarious relationship with China.

He suggests that considering the new posture Washington has taken towards China, having openly declaring them as a strategic competitor, that a reconsideration and possibly a rejection of the “One China Policy” may be under discussion behind the scenes.

Ott cites the unprecedented response from Washington when El Salvador and Taiwan broke ties, and the State Department surprised many with the decision to recall diplomatic envoys from three Central American Countries that had recently abandoned diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, El Salvador, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.

He also cites the Trump-Tsai phone call in 2016 and the passage of the Taiwan Travel Act earlier in 2018.

As many have pointed out, if the Taiwan Travel Act is ever applied to high level official meetings, it would prove a clear signal that a transformation of the relationship between the two countries is underway.

This would indicate that the hard interpretation of a “One China Policy” has actually become malleable in the eyes of Washington, a move that would be very distressing to Beijing.

Behind the very visible and ever intensifying trade conflict between China and the US, which many suggest may last a decade or more, Ott states “it does not require great strategic acumen to suggest that for the first time since the 1950s, Taiwan may move to center stage in the contest for the future of Asia.”

Read Marvin Ott’s publication “U.S.-China Competition and the Taiwan Tripwire” at the FPRI website.