The United States and Japan, both in their own ways, are both seeking to build ties with a new Asian neighbor, the state of Taiwan. This growing political relationship is bound to result in greater trade opportunities. But will this new relationship be smooth sailing or might there be bumps in the road?
Taiwan is a small island located in the East China Sea that has been occupied by the Japanese during World War II. After winning the war, the U.S. brought its troops from the U.S. to Taiwan and became its president. President Carter made some important moves when it came to relations between the U.S. and Japan. He declared that the U.S. was now Taiwan’s “ally.” As a consequence, the U.S. eased its economic sanctions on Japanese companies.
The results of these actions were immediate and positive. Taiwan, which had been isolated and cut off from the rest of the world for decades, began to receive aid and support from international institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The country’s economy began to grow and its economy began to move upward.
The government in Taipei quickly realized the opportunity that lay before them, and they decided to capitalize on this by inviting more foreign companies to come into the country. With such growing acceptance came increased international investments and partnerships. Taiwan’s government became increasingly open to the idea of the West using its influence to help build up the country and spread its influence all over Asia.
So, what does this mean for the future of the Japanese-Taiwan relationship? The U.S. government, and indeed the Obama Administration in particular, will have a lot to say about it. In part, the increased openness in the Japanese government means that Taiwan will likely have an easier time getting Western technological assistance, and perhaps more access to some U.S. weapons technology, which is already available to them. But it also means that more Japanese companies will be willing to do business in Taiwan.
For example, while China is notorious for being very strict about their intellectual property rights, Taiwan is not. So, a Chinese company may find itself in a position to purchase a Taiwanese firm’s technology and build a solar cell manufacturing plant, for example, which they could then export to China for a very modest royalty. rather than having to pay royalties to a Chinese company. Of course, this would require the Chinese company to take Taiwan’s technology and license it out to a third party in China, but if that company can make a quality product and market it successfully, this could prove to be very profitable.
While China is still not likely to let this happen, it also does not mean that the U.S. or the Japanese can take on China all by ourselves. There are going to be bumps along the way, especially if relations between Taipei and Beijing are still at an early stage. But these are some things that the Obama Administration can play a role in. These are not impossible to do.
For instance, the current Chinese president, Hu Jintao, is known to be an aggressive, even authoritarian leader, and is already doing his best to tighten his grip on power. He is notorious for being difficult and sometimes even obnoxious. So, any good relations between China and Japan are not going to be easy.
However, if the United States and Japan to work out a deal with China that allows both countries to develop their relationship and not be dependent on each other, they may be able to build a stronger, more productive relationship than they currently have. If so, then the Chinese will not be able to completely dictate what is acceptable to the Japanese. in return. They may be willing to talk about trade agreements, but there is no guarantee that they will.
So, as you can see, there is certainly potential for a great deal of success with the United States and Taiwan, but it will probably come at some kind of price. on our part. And that price could be a change in how much we are willing to sacrifice for the relationship.
Indeed, this could be a very interesting time, with the United States and Japan having some real opportunities to make a move on this and to change the dynamic between the two countries. At the very least, though, it should be said that this does not mean that we cannot be cooperative with China. On the contrary, that is one thing we are trying to do.