From the Desk of Donald Trump to Xi Jinping: Let's Make a Deal
Hello President Xi.
I know you appreciate me calling you that and treating you as a fellow president even though I was actually elected by the American people and you were appointed by other Communist dictators.
Anyway, I'm calling you about some serious business you and I need to resolve on North Korea and Taiwan — what the experts call two of Asia's most dangerous flash points, but what I like to see as a couple of opportunities for us to become known as the Peace Presidents. We could absolutely get a Nobel Prize or two, and this time it would be for accomplishing something great, unlike that phony prize given to Barack Obama before he accomplished anything at all, although later he left us with his disastrous Iran nuclear surrender agreement. No way I'll agree to something like that for North Korea, believe me.
So here's the deal I have in mind. I know your big 19th Party Congress is coming up soon. (Lucky you! I have to deal with our Congress every year.) And I know you want to strengthen your hold on power while achieving something historic for your personal legacy. Well, here's good advice from someone who knows how to succeed by doing the completely unexpected.
First, as the doctors say, do no harm. In your situation, that means leaving the Taiwan tar baby alone -- don't touch the issue, except for maybe a passing mention of eventual unification. No talk of deadlines, red lines, generational decisions, or ultimatums. In other words, no upping the ante as your predecessors recklessly did in 2005, and my predecessors foolishly let them get away with -- passing the Anti-Secession Law that claimed the right to attack Taiwan simply for not agreeing to your so-called "peaceful reunification." That was a prescription for eventual war with the United States. Don't make matters worse by stirring up fake nationalism. My sources tell me most Chinese don't care about Taiwan, although they do wish to enjoy the same freedoms it offers its people.
If I had been president when the ASL was being considered, I would have done what I will do now if your Congress decides to set some kind of timetable for Taipei to knuckle under to Chinese demands. I will declare an unambiguous American commitment to defend Taiwan, increase U.S. arms sales, upgrade diplomatic relations and military cooperation -- and I will announce it all in a phone call to Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen. Like me and unlike you, she is an actual, democratically elected president. I promised I would notify you before speaking with her again -- this is my notice.
We are both smart enough to avoid that kind of confrontation, and we both want the international acclaim of the Nobel Peace Prize. So why don't you show your Party and the world your real strength by pulling off not a Xi-to-Mao but a Nixon-to-China move. Announce that you are repealing the ASL, withdrawing all those anti-ballistic missiles threatening Taiwan, and renouncing the use of force against Taiwan.
For good measure, and to really sew up that prize, you could declare a ten- or twenty-year plan to put China on the path to democracy, just as Taiwan's dictators did back in the 1970s and 1980s. The Taiwanese people might actually be willing to consider a closer political relationship in those circumstances, but the decision will always be theirs. In the meantime, my new friend and partner in peace, I would appreciate it if you would stop blocking Taiwan's participation in international organizations, where it has so much to contribute. That would also earn you a lot of goodwill among the Taiwanese and with Americans.
Now to North Korea, an explosive crisis enabled by your predecessors and tolerated by mine. Let's show history that we have what it takes to correct their mistakes and eliminate this problem once and for all. I've certainly praised you publicly for what you have done so far, but while it's somewhat more than China has done previously, we both know it's a lot less than what you can do.
How about starting by joining the Proliferation Security Initiative and cutting off North Korea's exports and imports of components and technology for weapons of mass destruction? Pyongyang earns a lot of money by selling prohibited items. Given China's critical role in getting it started on its nuclear and missile programs, which it has shared with other anti-Western regimes, you have earned the dubious distinction of being a proliferator of proliferators.
And, by the way, China helped North Korea nuclearize at the same time as it pressured the U.S. to withdraw our tactical nukes from South Korea in the interest of "denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula,” which is still Beijing's mantra today. That was another empty trade-off I would not have made and which I may have to revisit if you don't do your part. Don't you agree, Mr. President, that it's time for your government to deliver on that denuclearization commitment? I don't have to tell you about all the economic weapons you have available to bring Rocket Man to heel. You're quite skillful at using economic pressure on other governments when they don't dance to China's tune -- and this guy is totally dependent on your deep pockets and willing support.
In return for China meeting its international security obligations, I pledge to work with you to bring about a unified, denuclearized, civilized Korea that is not a threat to either China or the West. This is an offer you should not refuse. So, to sum up, tighten the screws on North Korea, not on Taiwan, OK? Are you still there, Mr. President? What's that snoring sound?
Kelly, put through that call to Taipei.