Foreign Policy: Now Is the Perfect Time for Canada to Engage Taiwan

Commentary Two recently coinciding milestones capture the complicated realities of geopolitics and provide a jumping-off point for how Canadian foreign policy should evolve from now on. The first was Taiwan’s celebration of National Day on Oct. 10, an annual commemoration of the island nation’s independence and the current success of the democratic project. The second was a statement from Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne on Oct. 13 marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and the People’s Republic of China. Of course, Champagne’s statement commemorates Canada’s shift from understanding the government in Taiwan as the rightful representatives of the Chinese state to recognizing the communists in Beijing as such. This fits with the hotly contested claim that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. But as with much else, the reality of how the Chinese Communist Party handled the pandemic—in addition to the hostile intimidation the regime has shown regarding Meng Wanzhou’s arrest and the subsequent detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China on baseless charges—has gutted conventional wisdom and opened up opportunities for bolder strategic thinking. The situation indicates the urgent need to revisit our relationship with Taiwan, which has mostly been handled by steadfastly avoiding any confident gesture of allyship in order to keep the CCP’s hostility at bay. Following Beijing’s “One China” shibboleth so stringently simply won’t serve our foreign policy well in this era. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s National Day address touted the island’s efforts during the pandemic to contain the virus and offer a model of good self-governance, in addition to acknowledging the need to recalibrate Taiwan’s national defence and pursuing further ties with like-minded nations to sustain a stable Pacific. Indeed, this comes amid the recent uptick in brazen militancy by the CCP, with more frequent breaches of the Taiwan Strait’s median line and Beijing’s propaganda threatening “Taiwan secessionists” with non-peaceful reunification. In response to such provocations, Tsai pledged Taipei’s commitment to “upholding cross-Strait stability” and stressed to Beijing that this must be a “joint responsibility of both sides.” The speech was an expression of prudence by a leader under an intensifying threat. The consequences of Beijing attempting to absorb Taiwan should be a serious policy consideration for those nations worried about the communist regime’s ambitions. This requires making the Taiwan question much more central to discussions of strategy, since the fate of Taiwan is crucial for telling whether the balance of power in the Pacific will tilt in Beijing’s favour or remain as it presently is. As J.Michael Cole puts it, “Taiwan’s fate will determine the kind of China that the rest of the world will have to deal with for decades to come.” Which brings us to where Canada stands and the desired direction of its foreign policy. Champagne’s statement is an improvement, striking a tone that is more conducive to a tough-minded approach to China. It deems Canada a “Pacific nation” and asserts that a “new framework for relations with China” will rely on working with partners to hold Beijing “accountable to its international obligations.” Abandoning the free trade talks that were initiated four years ago also suggests that the government is at last beginning to realize the futility of economic engagement with the communists. But how would Taiwan fit into a new policy? American and European officials have recently visited Taiwan, signalling a warming of ties in reaction to Beijing’s never-ending belligerence. But there have been no public statements or action from any member of Canada’s government indicating a visit to their counterparts in Taipei to cultivate relations. Thus far, it has only been members of the Conservatives’ shadow cabinet who have shown any real public engagement with Taiwan’s representatives. To form any viable strategy for China, politicians across the spectrum should not be afraid to engage with Taiwan. A bipartisan consensus is much needed. Aiding this could be more institutionalization of relations through parliamentary groups and other venues, which could be reinforced by Parliament debating and passing new legislation similar to America’s Taiwan Relations Act. Ottawa should also counter Beijing’s tactics to isolate Taiwan in the region by supporting its participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. This alliance offers a robust bulwark against Beijing’s attempts to consolidate a sphere of influence around the Pacific. It has become an oft-repeated point these days, but Canada’s national interest can only be pursued effectively through working with partners that share a common understanding of threats and visions of world order. Since Taiwan undeniably fits this criteria, it’d be foolish not to consider involving it in these initiatives. Much has happened since Canada first established official ties with Beijing that warrants a review of the policies that have come out of those ties. An efficacious foreign policy in this era will require a morally and strategically clear assessment of who are our adversaries and who are our allies. Events of the past 18 months alone have made quite obvious the answer to who, between Beijing and Taipei, our true friend is. It’s time to stop allowing fear of Beijing’s reaction to dictate our foreign policy and take our relationship with the small, resilient island of Taiwan more seriously. Shane Miller is a political writer based in London, Ontario. Follow him at @Miller_Shane94. Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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Two asteroids set to cross Earth’s orbit just hours apart while another Great Pyramid-sized space rock barrels our way

Two asteroids set to cross Earth’s orbit just hours apart as another Great Pyramid-sized space rock barrels our way. Picture: Pixabay / urikyo33 Two 100-meter-wide asteroids are set to cross Earth’s orbit within hours of each other on Friday, September 25, 2020.Meanwhile, another space rock the size of ancient Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza is heading towards our planet. NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, which tracks asteroids and comets that will come close to Earth, has confirmed that it is monitoring two asteroids that are due to hurtle past on Friday, September 25. Both bodies are classed as Apollo asteroids, meaning they will cross Earth’s orbit as they fly through space. The first asteroid, which is named 2020 RO, is estimated to be up to 130 meters wide. It will fly past on September 25 at 00:10 EST at a speed of 11.84km per second. The second asteroid, named 2020 SM, is expected to sail past Earth later that day, at a speed of 18.43 km per second. The slightly smaller space rock is estimated to measure up to 100 meters in diameter. Although both asteroids are classed as near-Earth objects (NEOs) they are forecast to sail safely past our planet, despite coming into contact with its orbit. They were both discovered this year. On September 29, another giant 200-meter-wide space rock will silently pass Earth at a distance of around 1.78 million miles. The enormous visitor is comparable in size to Ancient Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza. The interesting spate of asteroidal activity comes hot on the heels of an amateur astronomer in Brazil discovering a large asteroid that somehow slipped past Earth’s main planetary defenses just last month.  The discovery served as a reminder to the world’s space agencies that there are still many asteroids out there that have yet to be detected. Meanwhile a large meteorite chunk was found last month in Brazil too. Imagine now one of those gigantic asteroids impacting earth. OMG! More space news on RT, Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. Follow us: Facebook and Twitter. By the way you can also support us on Paypal. Please and thank you!

Continue Reading Two asteroids set to cross Earth’s orbit just hours apart while another Great Pyramid-sized space rock barrels our way