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For those following Chinese relations, you’ve probably heard that Honduras just dropped its recognition of Taiwan to establish ties with mainland China. President Tsai responded with a trip to Central America to shore up diplomatic support, but will any of this determine the status of relations between Taiwan, China, and the rest of the world?

While all this makes for good theater, all that matters is where the money and weapons go. And the country to watch is the US.

Taiwan and US trade negotiations are already underway and will likely be wrapped up here soon. Once they’ve reached an agreement and Taiwan becomes a fully integrated trade partner, they’ll be treated as an independent country in every capacity but name.

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Hey Everyone. Peter Zeihan here coming to you from Wanaka, New Zealand, which is just a place too beautiful really for words. I mean, look at this. This is the full arch. It’s just stupid. 

Anyway, for those of you who have been following Chinese relations, you know that the Chinese have been able to convince the country of Honduras to switch the recognition from Taiwan to Beijing. And as a result, the president of Taiwan, President Tsai, is on her way to do a Central American tour to try to shore up the diplomatic support for the remaining handful of countries that still recognize Taiwan as the rightful representative of the Chinese people. Ultimately, this is a lot of theater. Taiwan’s a small country. China is huge. And when it comes down to a battle of the pocketbooks, obviously Taiwan is going to lose.

But honestly, that is not what is going to decide the status of relations between the island of the mainland and the island in the rest of the world. That is dependent upon the actual policies as opposed to things like recognition, but actually where you’re putting your money and your weapons with much larger countries. And of course, the country that is always going to matter the most in that is the United States. And the United States has begun free trade negotiations with the Taiwanese. That will probably wrap up within a year, at which point treating Taiwan as an independent country will not simply be core to American bipartisan foreign policy, but a core to domestic economic and trade policy as well. And when that happens, it really doesn’t matter what the du jour system is for recognizing Taiwan as an independent country or not, because it will be a fully fledged integrated system in American law. And once that happens, the degree to which the United States can take action and promote military ties is going to be just like it will be for any other country. And we will have recognition by the United States of Taiwan as an independent country in everything that matters except for name. And undoing that is something that would require an American president to do something that is starkly against what has been the building bipartisan consensus now for 15 years.

So we’re getting to full recognition. We’re getting there very quickly, and we’re not doing it by paper. We’re doing it with the rubber hitting the road. Anyway, that’s it for me on that topic. I’ll see you guys again soon.

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