Thursday, August 09, 2018

Trump Hurts Taiwan in Latin America

Latin American countries have been key allies of Taiwan for many years. But it occurs to me that the Trump administration's Latin America policy is especially hard on it. The president is heading to the region to shore up crumbling support.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen will head to Paraguay and Belize – two of the island’s remaining 18 formal allies – on Sunday, in her fifth state visit, described by her government as a “Journey of Joint Celebration”, but seen by analysts as cementing ties in the face of a growing diplomatic squeeze by Beijing.
Paraguay and Belize are not what you call diplomatic heavyweights but Taiwan is keenly interested in Latin America. China is using its financial might to lure countries to recognize it, and Taiwan has been doing what it can (including bribes) to counter that.

Trump's tariff policies give China a big boost in this regard because it reduces the need to woo so much. Latin American countries are consciously looking to China given the uncertainty of future trade relations with the United States. The logical next step is recognition.


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