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Internal politics, US elections could affect Taiwan status quo: Scholar

Japanese scholar says another Trump presidency could affect regional stability

Satellite image of the Taiwan Strait. (NASA photo)

Satellite image of the Taiwan Strait. (NASA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China believes if Donald Trump is elected as U.S. president this year, then regional instability will increase, foreign policy expert Kamo Tomoki said in a Nikkei interview, per CNA.

The Nikkei invited Dean of Faculty of Policy Management Kamo Tomoki from Keio University and three other scholars to discuss whether Taiwan could “maintain the status quo.”

Kamo said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) did not secure a majority in the legislature, which was in line with China’s expectations. The Xi Jinping (習近平) government may judge that Taiwan’s domestic politics are unstable due to administrative and legislative issues, making it difficult for the DPP to establish a cooperative relationship with the U.S., he said.

Additionally, Kamo said that China might view a Trump return as a strategic opportunity. Trump, who advocates for “America first,” will turn to domestic issues instead of maintaining the international order, he argued.

Another interviewee, former President of the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), said that as a minority government, Lai Ching-te (賴清德) must overcome the obstacles of the legislature to implement important policies. He said Lai must be patient and engage in dialogue with opposition parties to achieve policy goals, and sometimes compromises may be necessary.

Former Interim Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins Kent Calder said since China needs foreign investment, it may continue military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, yet more aggressive actions are unlikely. Although Xi is waiting for an opportunity to change the status quo, now is not the time, he said.

Professor at Renmin University of China Shi Yinhong (時殷弘) said the Chinese government will never negotiate with Lai’s government. For there to be any dialogue, the conditions are that Taiwan accepts the so-called 1992 consensus and the “one China” principle, Shi argued.

President-elect Lai won the election on Jan. 13 and will assume the presidency on May 20.