The uncomfortable economic truth behind Xi Jinping’s Taiwan threats
Jeremy Mark, 08/11/22
China’s response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taipei --launching missiles and conducting aggressive naval and air exercises -- has changed the military status quo in the waters surrounding Taiwan. But Beijing’s economic actions -- barring imports of various Taiwanese food products, as well as ending Chinese exports of sand -- appear designed to leave cross-strait trade largely undisturbed.
This imbalance highlights the uncomfortable truth facing Chinese leader Xi Jinping as he turns up the heat in the Taiwan Strait: Both countries’ economies stand to lose if the situation continues to escalate. While Taiwan, powered by its world-leading semiconductor industry, is experiencing solid growth, China’s economy is poised on a knife’s edge -- its vaunted economic “miracle” undermined by a real-estate crisis and Xi’s “zero-COVID” policies.
The fortunes of China and Taiwan are built on co-dependence, and the ties that have developed over the past generation to bind key industries like electronics cannot be severed without damaging both countries. That’s not even mentioning the suppliers, manufacturers, financiers, investors, and consumers around the world who rely on the same supply chains.
Had Beijing been serious about imposing economic punishment on Taiwan for hosting Pelosi, it could have targeted its economic ties with Taipei more directly. For example, it could have disrupted the export of Taiwanese electrical products to the mainland, which last year totaled more than 50 percent of the country’s $189 billion of exports to China and Hong Kong. It could have also seriously impeded the flow of goods through the Taiwan Strait, one of the most important waterways in the world for container vessels. Indeed, Goldman Sachs predicts that lasting restrictions on cross-strait trade would be “highly damaging” to the Taiwan economy and “highly disruptive” to technology supply chains.
But such actions also would amount to Beijing shooting itself in the foot. China’s export machine would be crippled without Taiwan-made electronic components (let alone all the other imports offloaded at its ports). This delicate balance was underlined by a Taiwanese finance ministry official, who told reporters after Pelosi departed that “Taiwan’s and China’s electronics industries are highly dependent on each other. Therefore, we expect very little chance of China imposing stricter economic sanctions on Taiwanese businesses.”
本文於 修改第 3 次