By Kayleigh Madjar / Staff Reporter
The economic “status quo” that benefits China is changing, offering opportunities for closer cooperation between Taiwan and the United States, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today during a briefing. a business forum in Kaohsiung.
The former secretary is traveling to Taiwan for the second time this year to participate in the Global Taiwan Business Forum, organized by the Liberty Times (twin newspaper of the Taipei Times).
In a keynote address to more than 300 business representatives at the Kaohsiung Marriott Hotel, Pompeo discussed changing relations in Southeast Asia due to China’s aggressive conduct.
Photo: Kayleigh Madjar, Taipei Times
His actions have changed the region and “brought even closer those who prefer peace and trade”, he said.
As secretary of state, Pomepo said he and his department grapple with fundamental questions about longstanding US policy toward China.
“America must admit a hard truth, a truth that should guide us in the years and decades to come,” he said. “If we want a free 21st century and not a Chinese century, the century that [Chinese President] Xi Jinping (習近平) dream, the old blind commitment paradigm must end.
Instead, the United States must engage with China “realistically and on our terms,” which would include a “deep and much more enthusiastic relationship” with Taiwan, he said.
That relationship includes security, but also the trade and economic ties on which a security relationship can be built, he said, touting tariffs and export controls on Chinese goods put in place under former US President Donald Trump.
“The result is not a decoupling of China by the United States and Taiwan, but a turning point,” he said.
“There was nothing free or fair” about the US-China trade relationship, and free trade is not even possible with a country that does not respect the basic rule of law, human rights. man or intellectual property, he said.
“The good news here today is that Taiwan is completely different. It’s the opposite of China in every one of those respects,” he said, praising Taiwan as a global model of free trade.
While the possibility of a trade agreement between the two nations has received much attention, it was not innovative until it was first proposed in the 1970s, given the de facto reality of today, he said.
The private sector is where things happen faster, he added.
“Politics is often a lot of talk with too little action,” he said. “It’s the business level…where good things happen first and most often, and where great minds meet.”
To facilitate their work, Pompeo urged taking concrete steps to facilitate cross-border business, such as streamlining access to business licenses, making it easier to incorporate in Taiwan, and using the same credit ratings.
“I see a young and incredibly aggressive and innovative people here in Taiwan. I see the rule of law and free markets flourishing, I see a government that focuses on common sense and infrastructure,” he said. “These are just a few reasons why I am optimistic this morning that it is in the interest of the United States and Taiwan to work together.”
Pompeo was greeted before his speech by Vice President William Lai (賴清德) and Liberty Times President Lin Hung-bang (林鴻邦), who hailed the businessmen as the engines of Taiwan’s economic miracle.
Taiwanese can no longer take advantage of low-cost production in China as trade barriers become the norm, Lai said, calling on democracies to work together to build a reliable supply chain and meet the challenges of change climatic.
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