“The whole planet” would be affected by a disruption in trade passing through the Taiwan Strait due to its importance for global trade, warned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday January 17. “This is the last thing we need” right now, he told the World Economic Forum in Davos.

This is a “very concrete reason” to keep the peace because “Taiwan plays a disproportionate role” to its size for the global economy, he said. The island, which China intends to retake, if necessary by force, is at the heart of Sino-American tensions, the United States being the main supplier of arms to the Taiwanese authorities.

“Our interest” is “to ensure the maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” and that “any dispute between Taiwan and China is resolved peacefully,” argued Mr. Blinken. “Many countries have an interest in preserving peace and stability,” due to Taiwan’s important place in the global supply of semiconductors. “We are not the only ones saying it” in Beijing, explained the head of American diplomacy.

Geopolitical tensions

On Saturday, the Taiwanese elected Lai Ching-te as president, who promised to protect the territory from “threats and intimidation” from Beijing. China has described him as a dangerous separatist and threatened his supporters with dire consequences.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is also “less optimistic” for world trade this year, its director general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, declared in Davos, citing in particular “the worsening of geopolitical tensions, the disruptions [observed ] in the Red Sea, on the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal”.

At the beginning of October, just before the Hamas attack on Israel, the WTO had already revised its forecasts for 2023 sharply, saying it expected the volume of world trade in goods to increase by only 0, 8%. However, it expected a rebound to 3.3% this year.