Is China’s Move Against Hong Kong — Czeckoslovakia 1968 All Over Again? In Addition To A Free Trade Agreement With Taiwan, It Is Time For A NATO-Like U.S./Pacific Defense Alliance — To Deter And Stand Firm Against Further Chinese Aggression.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) posted a May 27, 2020 article by Ambassador Kurt Tong, the Senior Adviser (Non-resident), Simon Chair in Political Economy with the title, “Now Is The Right Time For A Trade Agreement With Taiwan.” For the entire article, I refer you to the CSIS website, The bottom line up front, the article concludes “Now is in fact a very good time for this glaringly useful idea to be revisited (free trade agreement with Taiwan) — and this time acted upon!” As the article notes, this is not a new idea and has at various times in the past two decades, garnered some Congressional suppport.
The author argues that there “are three key aspects worth emphasizing: 1) Taiwan’s role in stragegic trade.” The author notes that “Taiwan hits above its weight in a number of strategically important business lines, in particular semiconductors and other components such as flat panel displays. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is regarded as a pivotal global player in high-end chip making. A bilateral trade agreement will help secure vital supply chains and draw Taiwan’s crucial technology capacities closer to the U.S.:
2) Indo-Pacific “Economic Geopolitics:” Cementing a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and Taiwan “could help quickly rebuild the notion that the U.S. is a meaningful player in the Indo-Pacific political economy,” the author argues; and of course, signal to both Taiwan and China that the U.S. won’t stand idly by as the West and America did with respect to Czeckoslovakia in 1968;
3) Trade policy-setting agenda:” “Finally,” the author argues, “Because Taiwan is an advanced economy that shares many values with the U.S., a bilateral agreement with Taiwan could help establish some critical precedents for new trade policies that the U.S. appears likely to pursue more vigorously in coming years.”
Left unsaid by Ambassador Tong is that brokering a U.S./Taiwan free-trade agreement is the right thing to do; and, would reassure our Pacific allies that the U.S. will stand as a bulwark against Chinese bullying and aggression. Indeed, it is time for a NATO-like U.S./Pacific defense alliance — to deter further Chinese aggression.
We are at a tipping point in history. One could argue that China’s action against Hong Kong is is Czeckoslovakia 1968 all over again, someting that Steve Bannon and others have said. Does the West have what it takes and the collective will to draw a line in the sand? Beijing, during the Obama Admin., constructed and militarized artificial islands in the South China Sea, established and tried to enforce an Air Defense Identification Zone, harassed the Philippines near disputed islands, institued a more aggressive blue water navy, and even purloined a U.S. underewater drone. If America and the West does not stand firm now — well…we saw how the ‘movie’ ended in 1968 for Czeckoslovakia. Hong Kong will be absorbed and Taiwan will be the ‘next man up.’ JMO, RCP, fortunascorner.com