Taiwan's economy, trade break-off from mainland a dream: experts

By Wang Qi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/21 22:03:40

Taiwan’s economy, trade break-off from mainland a dream: experts

US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach alights from an aircraft after landing at the Sungshan airport in Taipei on Thursday. Photo: AFP

The Chinese foreign ministry said China will take legitimate countermeasures, including targeting individuals, after US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach ended his visit to the island of Taiwan, adding that the US must bear full responsibility for violating the one-China principle. 

Wang's remarks came after Krach left the island on Saturday with only an illusory promise to the island about an economic and business dialogue between the two sides. 

At a press briefing Sunday, Taiwan's economic affairs authority said they have reached a consensus on holding a dialogue, the agenda of which remains unsettled, as Taiwan will see "if it is at the US' convenience."

Taiwan economic affairs authority head Wang Mei-hua said on Sunday that the island and the US delegation took the opportunity to exchange views on economic cooperation, including a 5G network, industrial supply chain restructuring, the Indo-Pacific strategy and energy issues. 

Krach began his visit to Taiwan on Thursday, after US Secretary of Health and Human Resources Alex Azar visited the island in August. He became one of the most senior US officials in decades after US cut diplomatic ties with the island in 1979, and promised to abide by the one-China principle.

Although the visit was once again called a "historic breakthrough" by the incumbent pro-secessionism Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority, analysts believe that Krach's visit was a political bait for the DPP administration to continue to bet on the Trump administration in the face of pressure from the mainland, and Taiwan will get deeper into the trap of "swapping economic chips for political chips." 

Zhang Hua, an associate research fellow of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday that Krach's visit was a "reward" for the DPP authority's efforts to lift restrictions on imported US ractopamine-enhanced pork, which angered the Taiwan people. 

Krach's visit only succeeded in provoking the mainland, Zhang said, noting that the DDP stands to lose rather than win from his visit.  

The dialogue between Krach and DPP authority highlights the DPP's attempt to decouple from the mainland, taking advantage of the confrontation between the mainland and the US to join the new industrial system that the US is trying to establish and exclude the mainland, Zhang said. 

Observers believe that after the political, social and cultural aspects, the DPP wants to cut off from the mainland economically, seeking a further break-off.

The US wants Taiwan to be open to them in all areas, including high-tech and agricultural products. Once it opens up, the living space of the Taiwan market will be badly squeezed, so Taiwan will not make too many concessions, Lü Cuncheng, a research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times.

As a result, the consensus of a dialogue is more like lip service, which at best will lead to a preliminary but not influential Free Trade Agreement, Lü said, noting such a bait would keep Taiwan politically dependent on the Trump administration. 

Taiwan's economic dependence on the Chinese mainland is growing, even if the DPP authority is reluctant to admit it publicly, Lü said. He added that the economies of the mainland and Taiwan are highly complementary, and geographic factors are impossible to get rid of, which the US cannot match.  

The Chinese mainland is Taiwan's largest export market, the largest source of Taiwan's trade surplus, and the largest region for Taiwan's investment. Taiwan's global exports grew at an annual rate of only 0.5% in the first half of 2020, while its exports to the mainland and Hong Kong grew at 9.8%, accounting for 42.3% of Taiwan's total exports, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Observers said the mainland quickly resumed production and work quickly amid the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming the backbone of the global supply chain recovery. The proportion of cross-Straits trade in Taiwan's overall trade is expected to continue to rise, proving that Taiwan's economy and trade will not be able to "break off from the mainland."

Taiwan secessionism is a dead end, and connivance and support for it is doomed to fail. Any act that undermines China's core interests and interferes in China's internal affairs will be vigorously countered by China, foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday, adding no force can hold back the historical tide of China's reunification.

We urge the US to correct its mistakes, stop all official and military contacts with Taiwan, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and stop words and deeds that undermine China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, Wang said. 

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