Sun, Oct 06, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Beijing’s role in Ma-Wang strife

By Parris Chang 張旭成

One such step is his acceptance of Beijing’s “one China” framework. Former KMT chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄), former National Security Council secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起) and several other ranking KMT officials were dispatched to Beijing to deliver the message to Xi on June 13.

Previously, the KMT conducted cross-strait negotiations under the so-called “1992 consensus” in which both Taipei and Beijing maintained different interpretations as to what “China” meant. By ceding to the “one China” framework, the government will embrace unification and abandon Taiwan’s sovereignty. During the meeting, Wu also stated that the KMT opposes Taiwanese independence and will conduct negotiations according to a special relationship, which is not country to country.

Another move that Ma made was to have Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) initial the service trade agreement on June 21. Ma was hoping for its speedy and smooth passage, but it has not happened that way. He wrongly attributed the delay to Wang and believed that a new speaker would obey his bidding.

The campaign to purge Wang risks to ruining Ma’s presidency and wrecking the KMT. Despite being president, he behaves like an executioner. His use of the information obtained through alleged illegal wiretapping by Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming’s (黃世銘) office is repugnant. Ma is faced with a record-low approval rating. There is also growing criticism within the KMT.

With the seven-in-one elections to be held in October next year and the general elections in 2016, many KMT leaders — and Beijing — are apprehensive that voters could reject KMT candidates next year and vote the KMT out of office in 2016. Beijing has much at stake and is in a position to manipulate the political dynamic.

Beijing could, despite Ma’s objection, persuade and support a high-profile candidate like Sean Lien (連勝文) to run for Taipei mayor. The Chinese will repeat their tricks from last year’s general elections.

When the trade agreement comes into effect and with the establishment of representative offices in Taiwan, Chinese agents will work their way deep into Taiwan’s grassroots. They will be well placed to compromise Taiwan’s democratic process. Beijing is also recruiting “fellow travelers” in the DPP and is trying to influence the selection of the party’s Taipei mayoral and presidential candidates.

Beijing is seeking total control. For Taiwan to stay free and independent from communist China, people should keep an eye on Beijing’s plotting.

Parris Chang is professor emeritus of political science at Pennsylvania State University and the chief executive of the Taiwan Institute for Political, Economic and Strategic Studies.

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