An opinion first, humor me. A little over a year ago on June 1, 2022, the United States and Taiwan launched the United States-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade to deepen their economic ties and trade relationship, and advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, promoting innovation, and economic growth for workers and businesses. About 2 months ago the agreement was made official. So, why did I wait to write about it now?
Well, I was actually waiting to see any sign of significant development worth reporting, in particular, a stern response from China. I heard crickets. Nonetheless, the investment from both parties will be made public at every step, as in my humble opinion, this agreement is as much about (if not more) sending China a strong message of our commitment to “bonding firmly with Taiwan” as it is strengthening our trade relationship.
Beijing has absolutely blasted the arrangement from the start, citing that any diplomatic action that appears to treat Taiwan as a sovereign nation is crossing the ever present thin red line. At this point in the relationship with China, there are only a few lines left to be crossed outside of direct military conflict, which could happen any day now in the S. China sea. The day after signatures appeared on the mutually agreed upon path to mutual economic success, no missiles were fired over Taiwan, as in the visit from Senator Pelosi, or directly after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s recent engagement with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Any distractions perhaps?
Well, Xi Jinping was busy popping out of a sunroof riding in a North Korean choreographed military parade side-by-side with Kim Jong Un, waving to the crowd of mandatorily exceedingly resolute worshipers. Russia had a presence as well via Putin sending disgraced General Sergei Shoigu. What a glorious display of unity.
Geopolitics and trade on the global stage in the current climate (hot as hell in most places on the planet) are directly related at every stage of negotiation, or not. I am surprised Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wasn’t invited to the parade along with Lukashenko. All this fanfare taking place while African leaders (only 17 of 43) were in Russia shaking hands with the Kremlin, among them, even Prigozhin.
It’s complicated. The U.S. supplies many African nations with financial support, (I recommend us nixing a few at this juncture) China supplies the badly needed infrastructure via its Belt and Road Initiative, and Russia supplies weapons and protection from the ongoing continental turmoil, via Prigozhin, while he rapes the mines of precious minerals, but I digress.