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A New View of Taiwan and China

AS OUR STORY on Taiwan (page 16) reveals, more than 1 million Taiwanese live on the Chinese mainland, and large …

AS OUR STORY on Taiwan (page 16) reveals, more than 1 million Taiwanese live on the Chinese mainland, and large portions of Taiwan’s industrial and technological infrastructure have moved there as well.

 

 What this suggests is that a military conflict between China and Taiwan is virtually inconceivable, particularly in the run-up to the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. Politicians on both sides will vent and their propaganda machines will crank out hostile statements. But the reality on the ground is that China and Taiwan have interwoven their economies in a way that was unimaginable in the early days of China‘s economic emergence. Neither side wants to risk military conflict because it would destroy their ability to create wealth.

 

 Just as some U.S. companies now operate seamlessly across the Taiwan Straits, Washington needs to come to terms with this economic integration. Following President Bush’s trip to China, he should encourage Taiwan to bow to economic reality and further deepen its embrace of the mainland, for example, by allowing direct flights and the shift of higher-tech manufacturing. The U.S. goal should be to urge the two Chinese sides to resolve their differences in their own way-economically- as inevitably they will. That would be in everyone’s best interest.

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