Jan 16, 2008

US, Australia And New Zealand Criticised For Pacifc Role

Think Tank Foreign Policy in Focus has just published an interesting article on a topic that has been attracting some of our time, the competition for recognition between Taiwan and China in fragile Pacific countries. The article is a good review of the dynamic. It ends by criticising the US, Australia and New Zealand for not making positions clear on this competition:

The United States and other major political players also bear some responsibility. Mixed signals continue to be sent to Taipei, Beijing, and the island nations that are caught in this dangerous political tango. The United States, Australia, and New Zealand, all of whom have enormous leverage over the foreign policy of Pacific Island Nations, should send a very straightforward, defined message on this issue. That, so far, has not happened, leading to that cynical but correct expression often repeated in the annals of political power in the region: "Taiwan is not recognized, but it is encouraged." The exact meaning of this phrase is very much open to interpretation, and that is not how it should be. Clarification on the exact position of the United States (and that of other regional powers) on the Taiwan issue is desperately needed.