Taipei-- Incoming U.S. President Donald Trump should stand up to Beijing over Taiwan, bring the "one China" policy into the 21st century without risking war and not make Taiwan a bargaining chip in deals with China, a Wall Street Journal opinion piece said on Thursday, one day before Trump's inauguration.
Citing Trump's remarks during a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal that "everything is under negotiation including 'one China,'" the opinion piece said such remarks could rattle Beijing.
Trump's comments came after he previously suggested in December that the U.S. stance on Taiwan would depend on progress with China on other issues such as North Korea and trade.
In response, Beijing has insisted that the "one China" principle is the basis of U.S.-China ties, adding that "Trump's ignorant blundering could lead to a breach in relations, even war," the article said.
Under its "one China" policy, the U.S. recognizes the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, acknowledging Beijing's position that there is one China and Taiwan is part of China.
Despite that, Washington has never accepted mainland China's sovereignty over Taiwan and the U.S. position is that Taiwan's status should be determined peacefully and with the consent of the island's people, the article said.
The U.S. does not need to change its official position on "one China" or recognize Taiwan's independence, but "should acknowledge that Taiwan is a flourishing democracy with which Washington should expand official contacts," the article argued.
"The question is whether this is what Mr. Trump intends to do," it said. Trump sometimes seems as if he wants to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip as part of a new grand bargain with Beijing, "which would be a betrayal and a blunder," it added.
Taiwan is a major U.S. trading partner and de facto ally and the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 obligates the U.S. to help the island if it comes under attack, it said. "Putting Taiwan's status up for negotiation would unsettle allies and lead Mr. Trump into conflict with the U.S. Congress," it added.
"This is also not a game Beijing will play," given that its leaders have told the Chinese people that Taiwan is part of the motherland and must not be allowed to slip away, it said. "Any hint of a Taiwan quid pro quo with Mr. Trump would be a major climbdown for the regime and hurt its standing at home," it said.
The article argued that Trump has an opportunity "to stand up to Beijing's bullying over Taiwan, improve the island's global standing and bring the 'one China' policy into the 21st century without risking war."
"But that will depend on his willingness to set Taiwan apart from the art of the deal for the sake of principled and realistic policy," it concluded.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel