Taiwan And China
Just 180 kilometers (112 mi) off the shores of China is an island nation that we call Taiwan. It is populated by over 23 million people. Its political system is a unitary semi-presidential republic. Its people are very hard working and its economy is made up of mostly small and medium-sized businesses.
Taiwan has been very successful and continues on in international commerce and trade. However, the eyes of China have been fixed on Taiwan for decades. They want it, they want it all.
What is the relationship between Taiwan and China? To understand this we need to go back to before the Chinese civil war. The ancient Qing dynasty had ruled China for 268 years but early in the twentieth century it fell apart and was replaced by a republic form of government known as the ROC. However, these developments were watched by communists who longed to see China come over into the fold of the communist world. They organized themselves and between the years of 1927 and 1949, the Chinese communist government battled a brutal and bloody war against the ROC, displacing them from most of China. The ROC were beaten back to the island of Taiwan, some smaller islands, and Mongolia. Eventually, they lost control of Mongolia and even the island of Taiwan was taken over, not by China but, by the Japanese. After Japan's loss of WWII, America helped the ROC get re-established in Taiwan and the ROC has ruled it ever since.
Even though the Communist Party of China has never owned or ruled Taiwan, their greedy eyes have been fixed on it for decades. They do not recognize Taiwan as being a separate country and they do not want the rest of the world to do so either.
The Communist Party of China has laid it on the line. They say that they will not have any diplomatic relations with any country that officially recognizes the government of Taiwan. However, they will allow countries to do financial business with Taiwan.
How much political leverage has the Communist government of China been able to use against Taiwan. They have leveraged a great deal of power against Taiwan, thanks to the United Nations. In 1791, wanting to embrace Communist China, the United Nations banished the Taiwan government from having a seat in the United Nations and gave their seat to China. Taiwan has since requested to re-join the U.N. multiple times but has been refused each time.
How have other countries responded to Taiwan and to China's threat to break diplomatic relations with those who recognize Taiwan? Most countries are quite willing to do business with Taiwan but are not willing to officially recognize her as a nation. The shunning must continue in order to continue to do business with China. Canada is one such country that follows this two-faced approach. There is much economic trade between Canada and China, so many of our politicians want the status quo maintained. Recognizing Taiwan might disrupt the flow of money and that frightens many Canadian politicians, especially Liberal politicians who established the relationship with Communist China in the first place, under Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and who greatly deepened it under its other administrations, especially that of John Chretien.
Taiwan may be out in the cold, with the U.N. and most U.N. nations against them, but there are a handful of brave nations that have defied China and the U.N. and established relations anyway. They are;Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Swaziland, Solomon Islands, Belize, Saint Lucia, Kiribati, Saint Vincent And The Grenadines, Marshall Islands, Saint Kitts And Nevis, Palau, Tuvalu, Nauru, and Vatican City.
What about the United States? Does the United States officially recognize Taiwan? This is a very interesting question because before Donald Trump became president the answer would be, “No.” Pre- Trump U.S. presidents did not want to rock the boat and offend China, nor did they dare to threaten the business relationship that the United States has had with China. However, with the passing of the Taiwan Travel Act on March 16, 2018, by the U.S., relations between the United States and Taiwan are now official. Both governments have also signed a consular agreement, on September 13, 2019, formalizing their existent consular relations.
The question is, “Does the signing of this act and these agreements constitute official diplomatic recognition?” It appears that it does and this has majorly poked Communist China in the eye. China could not afford to cut off relations with The United States without incurring colossal economy damage. At the same time there is now a country that has defied their threat and defied the United Nations. China won't break off relations with the United States. China is having to suck it up as Trump America has blown their bluff.
What about Canada? Lets take a closer look at this relationship. Liberal Canada is all too willing to do business with both China and Taiwan. Canada imports from China vastly more than it exports to them. What is the difference? Well, according to The University Of Alberta's China Institute, in 2019 Canada imported $75 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods. However, the Canadian government reports to the public a more modest number of $46.8 billion. Canadian exports to China that year were $24.4 billion.Canada's exports to China are mainly Agri-food, motor vehicles, wood pulp and lumber resources. In 2019, Canadian agricultural exports have been hit hard, due to Chinese imposed tariffs with the value of soybean and canola seed exports down 98.1% and 69%.
Does Canada trade with Taiwan? Oh, yes. From the Canadian government I was only able to get information from 2018 but, in that year, Canada sold $2 billion in goods to Taiwan, and purchased $5.9 billion from them.
Liberal Canadian politicians have been very careful not to offend China, while atthe same time do business with Taiwan. They have walked in step with the United Nations policy of not officially recognizing Taiwan. Canadian Liberals have been keeping China happy and defending China's image of strength.
Is it not time to re-think our policy towards Taiwan and China? China benefits from trade with Canada in a far greater way than Canada benefits from its trade with China. Even if we accept the Canadian governments low numbers as correct, Canada is buying twice as much from China as it is selling to them. China has Canada over a barrel, heavily tariffing our exports, to China's advantage. China is bullying Taiwan and is coercing most of the world into going along with this bullying. Up until now Canada has been looking the other way nervously not wanting to disrupt the status quo.
What if we blew China's bluff and officially recognized Taiwan? Would China cut Canada off? They would have to be a fool to cut off a relationship with Canada that they have been milking for decades. China has separated us from so much of our money and continues to rake in so much of Canada's wealth that I doubt that they would break relations with us. However a decision to recognize Taiwan would be one way of standing up to the bully, calling China's bluff and weakening China's influence. Beyond that, it is just the right thing to do. Canadian values reject communist revolutions and police states. I think its time for our liberal politicians to start respecting and reflecting Canadian values.