China fearing further attention being brought to Taiwan’s independence cause, has asked the US to deny her entry to fly into New York on route to Central America. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive party (DPP), is expected to transit through the US in mid January, as part of her three-country tour of Central America with stops in Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. It is believed that President Tsai Ing-wen probably will stop over in New York to meet with the President-elect Donald Trump ahead of his 20 January inauguration.
China which views Taiwan as part of its own territory, is wary of the US President-elect meeting with the Taiwan President, that would suggest symbolically or otherwise of a US opening towards the idea of Taiwan’s independence. An official from the Chinese foreign ministry told Reuters that they hope U.S “does not allow her transit, and does not send any wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces.”
The New York Times reported that Bob Dole, former Senator, acting as a foreign representative for the government of Taiwan is said to have played a role in establishing high-level contact between Taiwanese officials and President-elect Donald Trump’s staff which resulted in setting up a telephonic conversation between Trump and Taiwan’s president. Bob Dole has been quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying, “It’s fair to say that we had some influence.” He added, “When you represent a client and they make requests, you’re supposed to respond.”
Alston & Bird, Dole’s law firm, filed disclosure documents, as required by law, with the Justice department at the end of Nov. 2016 describing Bob Dole’s role between Government of Taiwan and President-elect Donal J. Trupm’s staff. The law firm reportedly have received $140,000 between May and October by theTaipei economic and cultural representative office, based in Washington, which acts as Taiwan’s defacto embassy in the US. Taiwan spends more than $170,000 a month ($2 million a year) to hire lobbyists many of whom are former lawmakers. It also has close relationship with some of the major think tanks in Washington including the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).
This disclosure of Bob Dole’s role has created further ripples of discontent in D.C. over how Trump is conducting himself that is creating foreign policy implications. Fred Wertheimer, the founder and president of watchdog group Democracy 21, stated:
“It does seem very strange that Trump is ignoring the State Department while apparently allowing Bob Dole, a lobbyist for Taiwan, to make arrangements for him in what appears to be a change in U.S. policy dealing with Taiwan.”
He further said that, “Dole’s interests here certainly involved Taiwan’s interests more than it did American interests, and the fact that he was the intermediary raises a serious issue about just how President-elect Trump is going to make U.S. foreign policy.” According to him Dole’s interests were closer to Taiwan’s interests more than those of America’s.
NYT: Bob Dole got $140k from Taiwan to lobby Trump for the phone call. Worse than incompetence. The diplomatic gaffe was bought and paid for
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) December 7, 2016
The relatively calm response shown so far by the Chinese has been noted by Chinese experts from Henry Kissinger to Jaffery Wasserstrom. However, the leadership is under pressure to show a stronger reaction to the criticism and perceived snubbing it is being given. The pressure intensified after Donald Trump’s tweets on Sunday accusing China of being a currency manipulator and creating problems in the South China Sea.
Read more: Trump taking hits at the Dragon Kingdom
The Global Times, the Chinese state run paper, has cautioned the US writing “The US strategy on the Asia-Pacific under whichever administration should not be contemplated to the detriment of the interests of other countries, and any miscalculation thereof could lead to regional instability.”