Lally Weymouth’s July 24 Outlook interview with Tsai Ing-wen, “Taiwan’s new president: Beijing must respect our will,” highlighted Ms. Tsai’s non-provocative approach toward Beijing, aiming to preserve stability across the Taiwan Strait and enhance the high-tech island republic’s role as a reliable and responsible regional player.
In her May 20 inaugural address and again in The Post’s interview, Ms. Tsai had extended an olive branch to mainland Chinese authorities in the hope of maintaining channels of communication for candid and direct dialogue. As she rightly pointed out, the best way for both sides to increase understanding and lessen tensions is through regular conversations.
Taiwan and the United States enjoy strong economic ties and share common values of freedom, democracy and human rights. The international community should continue its support for Taiwan and help safeguard peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Dennis P. Halpin, Fairfax
The writer, a former Foreign Service officer, is a consultant to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.
In a July 24 Outlook interview, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said, “Different levels of the government have different ways of communicating with their counterparts in China.” Actually, in the two months since her inauguration, Taiwan and mainland China relations have deteriorated to the lows of the Democratic Progressive Party administration from 2000 to 2008. Ms. Tsai’s rejection of the previous Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) administration’s “flexible diplomacy” led to the mainland suspension of government-to-government communication.
Ms. Tsai’s nonchalance about this concerns the people of Taiwan and all stakeholders in continued peace and prosperity between Taiwan and mainland China. Recent agreements and dialogue between the two sides generate economic opportunity for Taiwan; despite slowing economic growth, Taiwan’s trade surplus with the mainland was $27 billion in 2015.
Ms. Tsai’s characterization of the mainland as an economic “competitor” means it will be no surprise if one of Taiwan’s best customers takes its business elsewhere. Because so much is at stake for Taiwan’s economic and political security, the prudence of this policy is unclear.
Eric Huang, Bristow
The writer is head of international affairs
for the Kuomintang.