Ever since Taiwan’s first direct presidential election in 1996, American and Taiwanese presidential terms have neatly overlapped. The first democratically elected Taiwanese leader, Lee Teng-hui, shared his term with Bill Clinton. Lee’s successor, Chen Shui-bian, served concurrently with George W. Bush, while Ma Ying-jeou’s presidency coincided with Barack Obama’s. Relations in the Lee/Clinton and Chen/Bush years were bumpy, but both sides were content with a low-key relationship.

The pattern broke when American voters rejected Donald Trump’s bid for a second term, making Tsai Ing-wen the first elected Taiwanese president to overlap with two different U.S. presidents, Trump and Joe Biden.

Many Taiwanese observers predicted a rocky transition. Under Trump, Taiwan gained unprecedented levels of recognition and support in Washington, and Trump himself was popular on the self-ruling island. These commentators…

Read more…

Share.

Comments are closed.