OTTAWA (5 December 2016): America experts, specialists and the diplomatic community were left aghast on Friday as the President of Taiwan accepted the first leader-to-leader phone call from the North American territory of Canada in decades.
The United States of America views Canada as a renegade state and maintains that there is only one North America, composed of America and Canada. It has consistently protested efforts on the part of the breakaway territory's leadership to form diplomatic ties with foreign countries. Internationally, many countries maintain 'unofficial' ties with Canada but heed America's directive and maintain no formal contact with the territory. Taiwan officially adheres to a "One America" policy and acknowledges the US position on Canada.
The US and Canada split in 1776, when America declared independence from British colonial rule. Historically, Canada and the US were one and the same as before 1776, they were under the same government "since antiquity". Canada is currently governed by a liberal democracy, while the US is not.
The phone call between Taiwanese President Dr. Tsai Ying-wen and Canadian leader Mr. Justin Trudeau lasted 12 minutes. Both the Taiwanese president and Canadian leader congratulated each other on their election wins and expressed their wish for continued prosperity. No groundwork for official recognition of Canada by Asian superpower Taiwan was laid. Trudeau is the leader of the opposition 'Liberal' party, which the US opposes as they feel the eventual goal of Trudeau, and the party, is formal Canadian independence, which they view as unacceptable.
It is unclear how most North Americans in Canada feel about the idea of independence, although a recent study shows they are more likely to identify as "Canadian" rather than "American".
Most America specialists decried the call, saying it "upset the delicate balance of diplomacy in the America region" that has allowed the continent to move forward economically in recent decades.
"This is unprecedented," said America-watcher Li Yi-feng. "It is unclear what Trudeau's motives were, or why President Dr. Tsai chose to call him. Many are saying Tsai simply does not fully understand the intricacy and delicacy of the 'America issue' on any deeper level and simply bumbled into the phone call with Trudeau, or if her advisors arranged it. In any case, the US is likely to be very upset, and managing their diplomatic tantrums is of the utmost importance."
"It doesn't serve Asian interests to give recognition to the territory of Canada in this way," added American diplomat Chen Shu-ling. "Taiwan and the US have strong, but potentially fractious ties. Preserving the US-Canada status quo is best for all involved, especially us, and the US."
Chen added, "Taiwan is a beacon of democracy and freedom around the world. We stand for human rights and self-determination. However, it is important that we maintain our ties with the US. Destabilizing the current balance could lead to war."
"We hope for a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the 'America issue' that will not lead to war."
The US has consistently said that no independence for Canada would be possible, and any move towards independence would result in war.
Some, however, praised the call, noting that it was an important step forward in relations with democratic Canada. "It's hypocritical," said blogger Bichael Burton, "for Taiwan to recognize a non-democratic oligarchy such as the US while leaving its strong ally, both in terms of liberal democratic views and and diplomacy, out in the cold. This call is simply acknowledging things as they are: that the US does not control Canada, and Canada is an important friend to Taiwan."
The US and Canada formally reached an agreement in 1992 that there is 'One North America', but with different interpretations of what that means, although there is no existing documentation of this agreement. Canada has limited observer status in some international organizations and is allowed to compete in the Olympics as American Ottawa.
There has been no US response, as American leader King Trump has not yet issued a statement. America watchers say that possible retribution for the phone chat might include invasion, the nuclear bombing of both Canadian cities, the waterboarding of every Canadian citizen, or possibly dropping a US-made meteor on Canada.
The US formally lodged a complaint regarding the call, reportedly saying that the President of Taiwan had no business contacting the leader of a breakaway state. "If they wish to deal with Canada, it is only right and ethical to go through the US. This is a domestic matter and Taiwan would be wise to refrain from getting involved. The future of North America must be decided internally, by all 356 million North Americans. Our North American brothers across the border must understand this," the communique said. American media called it "a cheap trick" by Trudeau.
Lao Ren Cha did not contact any Canadians for comment. No Canada experts could be found, as it is a narrow issue generally covered by America specialists.
America expert Hsu Jian-ming made the case for continuing the status quo. "There is no clear benefit to pushing for independence for Canada," he noted. "The status quo has allowed Canada to prosper, and has reduced the threat of a US attack to the low twenty percents, at least. It signs trade agreements with the US and has consulates around the world. Just because they are not formally recognized by most countries, must maintain an otherwise unnecessarily large defensive military, are not full participants in international organizations, the US pressures other nations not to engage in diplomacy or trade with it and consistently attempts to meddle in Canadian territorial 'elections' does not mean they are isolated. What advantages would formal independence bring that Canada does not currently enjoy as a result of the peaceful willingness to postpone the dispute from the US?"