Taiwan will be keeping a close eye on the first official meeting between US President Donald Trump and China’s president Xi Jinping today.
The island has already found itself at the heart of a diplomatic storm between the two powers, after Mr. Trump took a call from its president in December, infuriating China, which saw it as a direct attack on its One China policy. Mr. Trump later rowed back from his initially defiant stance, but the incident shows the extent to which Taiwan may well be a bargaining chip in this week’s talks.
The Taiwanese administration will also be watching for signs that Mr. Trump will continue to support it through trade: something that is by no means guaranteed.
Mei-Hua Wang, Taiwan’s vice minister of economic affairs, spoke to Handelsblatt about her hope that Mr. Trump will not abandon free trade.
Handelsblatt: How dangerous is President Trump’s “America First” strategy for global trade.
Mei-Hua Wang: Taiwan depends a lot on global trade. If worldwide trade is flourishing, our economy is prosperous. If trade goes down, it has an impact on our economy. So we are quite concerned about the development. The US has a long term friendship with Taiwan. At the same time mainland China makes about a third of our total exports. Companies from Taiwan manufacture products in China and ship them to the US. So every change in global trade patterns has an immediate impact on us, the same as on every exporting country.