John Bolton has some typically bad recommendations for U.S. China policy:
If Beijing isn’t willing to back down, America has a diplomatic ladder of escalation that would compel Beijing’s attention. The new U.S. administration could start with receiving Taiwanese diplomats officially at the State Department; upgrading the status of U.S. representation in Taipei from a private “institute” to an official diplomatic mission; inviting Taiwan’s president to travel officially to America; allowing the most senior U.S. officials to visit Taiwan to transact government business; and ultimately restoring full diplomatic recognition.
Taking these steps might “compel Beijing’s attention,” but we wouldn’t like the results. Doing these things would also poison cross-strait relations and make it more difficult to resolve the territorial disputes between China and its neighbors. It would expose Taiwan to greater risk with no realistic chance of reversing Chinese territorial claims elsewhere. Bolton is just looking for a way to ratchet up tensions between Beijing and Taipei. Those tensions have been managed fairly well for the last eight years after the DPP was voted out, and there is not much reason to think that the newly-elected president would want to jeopardize that.
Bolton would also have the U.S. seriously damage its relationship with Beijing in a vain attempt to force China to “reverse its territorial acquisitiveness” in the South China Sea. Breaking with the “one China” policy would risk triggering the sort of crisis that Bolton claims to want to prevent. It would risk a major confrontation with China over an issue that the U.S. has successfully managed for decades while gaining the U.S. nothing. Playing the “Taiwan card,” as Bolton calls it, wouldn’t be in the interests of the U.S. or Taiwan, and could easily backfire on both.