Taiwan

Clinton viewed as more sympathetic to Taipei

US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaking during a rally at Eastern Market, on Nov 4, 2016, in Detroit, Michigan.
US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaking during a rally at Eastern Market, on Nov 4, 2016, in Detroit, Michigan.PHOTO: AFP

Taipei wants to continue enjoying Washington's backing in security and international affairs, and a Hillary Clinton presidency seems more likely to provide for that.

The Democratic presidential candidate's good understanding of cross-strait issues and tough attitude towards Beijing are seen as a plus for Taipei, amid worsening China-Taiwan ties.

A Clinton administration is more likely to be sympathetic to Taipei, as Mrs Clinton is a well-known critic of China's authoritarian political system and has praised Taiwan for being a model of democracy.

Analysts say Taipei would also be more comfortable with the former US secretary of state as it knows most of her foreign policy advisers, including Mr Jake Sullivan, a former policymaker in the Barack Obama administration.

In comparison, it is hard to say which way Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will lean on cross-strait affairs.

 

"We don't know what we don't know. And it will be a wild guess for anyone," said strategic studies expert Alexander Huang of Tamkang University in Taipei.

Some say Mr Trump's isolationist foreign policy stance could prove problematic for Taipei.

"His view on self-sufficiency in national defence for Japan and South Korea appears to be troubling for Taiwan," international relations academic Yen Chen-shen of the National Chengchi Univer- sity in Taipei told The Straits Times.

While Mr Trump has advocated a tough stance on China in economic issues, there is little indication of how he will deal with China when it comes to issues such as security or cross-strait ties.

"We simply don't know what he would do should cross-strait tensions arise," Dr Yen added.

Chong Koh Ping and Jermyn Chow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2016, with the headline 'Clinton viewed as more sympathetic to Taipei'. Print Edition | Subscribe