Jacob Stokes Cited In Taipei Times On U.S.-Taiwan Relationship

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Jacob Stokes Cited In Taipei Times On U.S.-Taiwan Relationship

Obama a ‘solid friend’ of Taiwan, think tank says

By William Lowther

March 16, 2012 | Taipei Times

A new report on US-China relations in an election year concludes that US President Barack Obama has been a “solid friend of Taiwan.”

Despite the White House’s failure to sell desperately needed F-16C/D aircraft to Taiwan or help with the acquisition of submarines, the report said that Obama has provided “unprecedentedly large packages of arms sales.”

Prepared by the Washington-based think tank Center for American Progress, the 35-page report accuses opposition Republican US presidential candidates of “reflexive belligerence toward China.”

It also said the Republican strategies aimed at short-term political point-scoring — calculated efforts to create a new Cold War enemy — and “will undermine global security.”

The report was released on Tuesday as the New York Times ran a front-page story saying that despite improving job growth and a divisive Republican primary battle, Obama was heading into the US presidential election “on treacherous political ground.”

A new poll by the newspaper showed that Obama’s approval rating had dropped substantially in recent weeks with a majority now disapproving of the job he is doing.

While campaign positions traditionally soften after the election, it is notable that the president’s most likely Republican opponent, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has taken a markedly harder line on China policy.

Many analysts believe that if elected, Romney might well sell F-16C/Ds to Taiwan.

The new report, written by policy analyst Jacob Stokes and Nina Hachigian, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, insists that US conservatives -continue to falsely accuse the Obama administration of “abandoning” Taiwan.

It quotes Jeffrey Bader of the Brookings Institution as suggesting that such attacks are “partisan rather than security-based.”

The report concluded: “The Obama administration has also committed to support Taiwan in ways it calculates will not destabilize the situation across the Strait, including upping the level of visits by Cabinet and sub-Cabinet officials to Taipei.”

US Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman became the highest-ranking US government official to visit the country in more than a decade when he landed in Taiwan in December last year.

The report said that Chinese military modernization was a “cause for concern,” but said the two new weapons systems unveiled by Beijing over the past year were more “symbolic advances than true technical challenges to US supremacy.”

It said analysts agree that China’s first aircraft carrier is a relative “piece of junk” and that the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter is “based on relatively old designs and relies on Russian jet-engine technology.”

“The challenge for the United States is to press China to make responsible choices that contribute to stability, prosperity, peace and human rights,’ the report said.

“This means the way forward for the United States is to combine strong and forward-looking bonds with our Asian allies old and new with a strong relationship with China,” it added.

“The US should welcome China’s rise, while at the same time insisting that China adhere to internationally accepted rules and norms of behavior at home and abroad,” the report said.

For the original piece, click here.

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