TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In his bombshell book, former National Security Advisor John Bolton writes that Taiwan is high on President Trump's list of countries to abandon.
In his 577-page memoir "The Room Where it Happened," which is set to be released on June 23, Bolton predicts that based on Trump's abandonment of the Kurds last year, Taiwan is high on the list of countries he will drop next, reported UDN. He also documented how Trump ordered Bolton to "quietly" go ahead with the F-16 fighter jet deal so as not to upset Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping (習近平).
Bolton makes several references to Taiwan, with the majority of them related to arms sales to the country. According to Bolton, Xi had explicitly asked Trump not to sell arms to Taiwan and not to allow Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to visit the U.S. (蔡英文), because Xi claimed both were key to maintaining stability across the Taiwan Strait.
However, Bolton stated that he believes that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 authorizes the U.S. to sell arms to Taiwan to defend itself. He asserted that most of Xi's positions on Taiwan actually contradict this law.
Bolton wrote that he teamed up with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to persuade Trump to approve the weapons sale to Taiwan. Mulvaney is a former congressman from South Carolina, where major military contractors who would be working on the fighter jets have several factories.
According to the book, during a videoconference with Trump on Aug. 13, 2019, Bolton said that if the arms sale with Taiwan was nixed, there would be a significant political backlash. Bolton pointed out that the deal did not involve U.S. subsidies or foreign aid and that Taiwan would foot the entire US$8 billion price tag for 66 F-16Vs, creating many jobs in South Carolina.
Bolton wrote that he and Pompeo said that it would be better to swiftly approve the deal before the situation in Hong Kong started to intensify over the anti-extradition bill protests. Before agreeing to the deal, Trump allegedly asked Bolton if he had ever thought about not going through with the military sales, to which Bolton said, "no."
According to Bolton, Trump then finally said, "OK, but do it quietly." Trump then allegedly asked with apprehension if Bolton was going to give a speech announcing the sale, and Bolton wrote that he had not considered giving a speech, but later thought that he should have.
Five days later, after the Washington Post revealed the deal, Trump acknowledged that he had given his approval. He added that the deal was worth US$8 billion and boasted that "It's a lot of money. That's a lot of jobs."
After Trump decided to withdraw troops from Syria and abandon Kurdish allies, Bolton described it as the "worst day" of Trump's administration and wrote that some began to speculate on who the mercurial president might betray next. Bolton then predicted that Taiwan is high on Trump's list of countries to abandon and that as long as he is president, the possibility is always there.
Also in the book, Bolton wrote that Trump had frequently socialized with Wall Street financiers who made their fortune investing in China, but was "particularly dyspeptic" about Taiwan. Bolton added that Taiwan would very much like to sign a free-trade agreement with the U.S., but based on his observations, no one in the administration is interested.