Well, I’m glad to know I’m in good company in not Twittering–US President Barack Obama told a town hall style meeting of students in Shanghai yesterday that he doesn’t either (though I’d like to quickly point out that The Diplomat, or more precisely associate editor Ulara Nakagawa, has the Tweets covered for us).
More seriously, though, one student also raised the question of US military sales to Taiwan. The question was supposedly relayed to her by a Taiwanese businessman (possible, I guess, but I’m not completely convinced) and raised the issue of whether such sales risk aggravating cross-Straits ties.
Obama, perhaps not unsurprisingly, dodged the question. But the issues surrounding China’s military build-up, including missiles pointing toward Taiwan, clearly have wider implications than cross-Straits ties. Not only for what the build-up suggests for the future, but also, as our defence correspondent Toshi Yoshihara has pointed out, for what it says about other nations failure to see the big leap forward (no pun intended) that has occurred over the past decade.
And on a related side note, there’s this interesting observation by The Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time Report:
‘In the latest issue of Oriental Outlook, an article called “Chinese people’s view on Obama” (in Chinese) indicates that there is plummeting support. The publication conducted informal polls and interviews, resulting in a sober prognosis. After slapping tariffs on Chinese products, the magazine found that, “In many Chinese people’s eyes, he hasn’t been able to maintain a positive image.”‘