When the president came to power, he vowed to look east with his foreign policy. But as he prepares to leave office, the US looks increasingly impotent in the region
Tsai Ing-wen is new to the job and the strain is beginning to show. Elected president of Taiwan in a landslide victory, she took office in May, buoyed by high approval ratings. Yet in a few short months, Tsai’s popularity has plunged by 25%. The reason may be summed up in one word: China. Suspicious that Tsai’s Democratic Progressive party, which also won control of parliament, harbours a pro-independence agenda, Beijing suspended official and back-channel talks with its “renegade province” and shut down an emergency hotline.
More seriously, for many Taiwanese workers, China also curbed the lucrative tourist trade, which brought millions of mainland visitors to the island during the accommodating presidency of Tsai’s predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou. Cross-strait investment and business have also been hit.
This feeble anxiety to play down differences, and evident lack of confidence in US leadership, plays into China’s hands
Link : Obama’s failed ‘Asian pivot’ leaves China ascendant | Simon Tisdall