As the results came in on election night and it became increasingly likely that Donald Trump would become the next president of the United States, a few friends who knew I was out of the country jokingly asked whether I was coming back.
I was in Taiwan, a place that — unlike the Chinese mainland — had received little if any attention during the 2016 race. What a difference a few weeks make.
Last week Trump and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen spoke on the phone, breaking four decades of diplomatic protocol and setting off a firestorm with China, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province. Washington broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, and since then no U.S. president has spoken directly to his Taiwanese counterpart.
Policy experts and China watchers are still debating whether Trump was unaware the call could cause a crisis or did it intentionally, as a way of sending a message to Beijing that the U.S. president can talk to any world leader, whenever he wants.
With U.S.-Taiwan relations in the spotlight, I thought I’d share something I picked up as a souvenir. The day after the election, I bought a couple of local newspapers in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, to see how they covered the election.
The Apple Daily, the second-largest paper in Tawain, published a special section on the results, in addition to several more pages on Clinton, the protests that followed, and a racy image from Melania Trump’s modeling days.
6 thoughts on “How Donald Trump made my vacation spot an international story”
Trump’s call was a simple act but it was historic and so complex. There’re so many things to consider – did he know what he was doing, was he aware of the cross-strait ramifications, does he really care about Taiwan or he just wanted to check up on investment deals, etc. But honestly I think it was a good thing if only because I really dislike how the international community panders to China and freezes out Taiwan.
I understand. I wasn’t trying to take sides; just merely point out how a place that was completely off Americans’ radar was suddenly thrust into the spotlight. I’d love to hear your longform opinion about this. You should write about it.
No worries, I didn’t think you were. Well, I just wrote about it. Thanks for the encouragement – I was thinking about writing it these past few days, but your message pushed me to write it tonight.
Cool, I’ll check it out tonight after work.
Where are you these days? Tell me how your life is unfolding….Charlie Martin
Hi Charlie. I’m living in Rapid City, SD, working for the local newspaper, the Rapid City Journal. Been here for a year and a half. I spent my second anniversary in Taiwan, hence the blog posts about the island state/rouge province of China. I hope you’re doing well. I miss Turoni’s pizza and jogging along the riverfront.