While there’s no audible objection coming from Gov. Bill Walker on China’s new 25 percent tariff hike on Alaska seafood, gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy took to Twitter to provide a possible explanation for Walker’s silence:
“The governor claims to be ‘fish first’ while dismissing the mining industry, then goes silent as China tries to sink a $2b annual Alaska seafood industry with dirty trade tactics. What is the real cost of his China-first Gasline? #alaskafirst”
Walker made his own social media remarks Saturday, but they were aimed at sending his good wishes to participants in the LGBTQ Pride Day parade in Anchorage, where his campaign had a booth.
Is Walker feeling muzzled about fish tariffs because he so badly needs China’s money to build the AK-LNG project? Is this the new reality for Alaska, to not be able to criticize Chinese foreign or trade policy for fear of retribution?
Concern has been voiced among U.S. diplomats about Alaska’s subnational (state-to-China) relations. “States should ensure that the agreements that they sign are fair (given Beijing’s penchant for predatory investment), have no bearing on state or federal legislation, and don’t ultimately undermine U.S. foreign policy,” wrote Ashley Feng and Sagatom Saha in The Diplomat publication in April. Not to mention national security.
The Council on Foreign Relations has advised the Trump administration to appoint a full-time special representative and fund an office to coordinate state diplomacy like Walker’s, and provide advice and intelligence on Chinese investment in critical infrastructure.