Q&A: Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in Hong Kong

Andrew Parsons: what does he actually say to the Trump Administration when he meets US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Francis Ng: I will let you know what I say to them when they come…

Q&A: Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in Hong Kong

Andrew Parsons: what does he actually say to the Trump Administration when he meets US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

Francis Ng: I will let you know what I say to them when they come to Hong Kong, but what I can tell you is that I tried to explain to them that we will not be introducing trade tariffs on imports from the United States. We will allow any American firm – almost all of them, I should say – to do business with Taiwan. We are inviting them, they can invest in Taiwan; our exports to the United States are very important for them and we hope that they would be able to increase our trade.

And our defence ties are very deep. The relationship between our militaries is very strong. And we look forward to hearing how the United States would view Taiwan. And I think that President Trump will come to Hong Kong because he is interested in hearing from different statesmen and leaders. And it is also relevant for the first sitting of the United States President, President Trump, to see to it that Taiwan is represented. We have raised it, actually, in past meetings with the Chinese and President Trump.

Andrew Parsons: John Bolton has said that he would like to send President Trump to Taiwan. The Chinese are not happy about that. Is there anything you can do about that? Ng: not really. The relations between China and Taiwan are already very close, and the Chinese President made a statement when he came to meet President Trump that he would like to see Sino-US relations to have one-China policy, and that it is not up to President Trump to decide. He made his own comments at the White House saying that he was concerned about the Taiwan issue and that it was something that he was thinking about. But I don’t think he means to take the step of sending Trump to Taiwan to meet President Tsai or to make any other moves. It is something that President Trump may consider if he wants to, and there are no formal implications, no discussions on this, at the moment. But if he wishes to meet President Tsai, then we are more than happy to meet President Tsai. And we will represent Taiwan at these meetings and attend as the representative of Taiwan. But for any kind of substantive meetings, if President Trump wishes to make a decision, he can do so himself. Andrew Parsons: You said that the level of US-Taiwan trade relationship needs to improve. Is there anything in particular you would like to see between US and Taiwan, one-on-one, or in other words, what in principle should they be doing? Ng: this is the first time that I am hearing that President Trump and Secretary Ross will come to Hong Kong to visit us. I think one of the most important things would be to have regular meetings. We have had several visits from senior US ministers – Democratic Senators, from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump – and Commerce Secretary Ross, but we haven’t had any high-level visits from President Trump himself. And President Trump – maybe he came last year and had a meeting with President Xi Jinping, but this is the first time that I am hearing that he would come to Hong Kong to meet the leaders of Taiwan. We would like to hear his ideas and his view on China, and also to hear his views about Taiwan. So, I would hope that these meetings would take place soon.

Andrew Parsons: What happened in the last round of high-level meetings between Washington and Taipei? If the relationship isn’t quite as good as it was say, a year ago, is it why? Ng: one of the major differences was the announcement by Trump. As I said, he did not make any formal announcement or issue a formal invitation when he met President Xi Jinping and on that occasion he left the impression to the Chinese President that President Trump was not ready to make a visit to Taiwan. So that was one of the major differences.

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