- - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I enjoyed John J. Tkacik’s op-ed essay on the Taiwan situation (“Taiwan struggles in China’s trade grip,” Web, April 1). Aside from the meticulous accounting Mr. Tkacik does of the downsides of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) for Taiwan, I think that the issue hinges on the meaning of trade — and the student demonstrators are well aware of this.

In general, one trades with another for mutual benefit. However, the notion of making an exchange with someone holding a gun to your head (or, in this case, more than a thousand missiles) seems a strange form of trade indeed.

Trade agreements are between individuals and countries that have something of value to offer each other. Anything else is extortion.

JOSEPH McHUGH

Revere, Mass.