Training for an emergency: Conscripts in Taiwan practice putting on a bandage on a dummy.
Image: Reuters

Like NATO countries, Taiwan cannot be sure whether Trump would send help in the event of an attack. But people in Beijing are not looking forward to re-election either.

AAs president, Donald Trump is said to have sometimes compared Taiwan to the tip of a felt-tip pen. “This is Taiwan,” said Trump, pointing to his desk in the Oval Office: “And this is China.” Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton reported this in his book published in 2020. The message: He doesn't really care about Taiwan. “So much for American commitments and commitments to another democratic ally,” Bolton concluded. “If I were in Taiwan, I would be very concerned about a Trump administration,” he later repeated on CNN.

Jochen Stahnke

Political correspondent for China, Taiwan and North Korea based in Beijing.

In fact, Trump is sending mixed signals to Taiwan. On the one hand, recognition and arms deals increased. Unlike his predecessors, Trump accepted a congratulatory call from Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen after his election victory in 2016. Under Trump, arms deals with Taipei increased dramatically, including F-16 fighter jets and advanced anti-ship missiles. Trump sold Taiwan everything it ordered, says a former general in Taipei. Trump's former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Taiwan a “sovereign country” two years ago. In addition, Trump allowed high-ranking American officials to visit Taiwan through the Taiwan Travel Act, which was passed during his term in office – all to the great annoyance of Beijing.