Thu, Sep 24, 2015 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: China redefines the ‘status quo’

US National Security adviser Susan Rice on Monday said the US’ fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable relations between Taiwan and China, and that Washington opposes any unilateral attempt to change the “status quo.”

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has also pledged her cross-strait policy would be to maintain the “status quo,” while President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has claimed that cross-strait relations are at their best in more than 60 years.

What exactly is the cross-strait “status quo?” Who decided what is it? Who defines the term?

In view of recent incidents, China has been unilaterally changing the “status quo” and asserting its position as the dominant state in defining the so-called “cross-strait status quo.”

In terms of military might, China is changing the “status quo” through its buildup of ballistic missiles. The number of missiles China has aimed at the nation has increased to more than 1,600 over the years.

A defense paper released by the Japanese government suggested China’s military buildup has led to a shift in the Taiwan-China military balance in Beijing’s favor.

A Pentagon report released in May said that China’s military modernization program is dominated by preparations for a potential conflict with Taiwan.

Economically, China continues to suck away Taiwanese capital, resulting in a marginalized Taiwan.

Statistics from the Mainland Affairs Council show that Taiwanese exports to China in 1980 were 1.4 percent. That has increased to 45 percent last year.

This economic dependence on China to buy exports no doubt makes the nation more vulnerable to China and dampens its international economic competitiveness.

China has thrown away the principle of mutual respect in its dealings with Taiwan, evidenced by a new policy issuing an electronic “Taiwan compatriot travel document” to Taiwanese visitors, without discussions with the Executive Yuan.

The move, following China’s previous unilateral designation of the controversial M503 flight path and Beijing’s proclamation that cross-strait exchanges must be carried out on the basis of the so-called “1992 consensus” and that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China,” are all aimed at fostering a political illusion among members of the international community that the relationship between Beijing and Taipei is “central versus local,” in which China has the final say.

However, regardless of how brazenly Beijing alters the “status quo,” under the Ma government the nation remains relatively quiet with the government failing to assert Taiwan’s dignity.

Not a single word of condemnation nor protest was uttered by the Ma administration, just quiet rhetoric expressing regret.

While China has been changing the “status quo” all along, the Ma government continues to tout the fictitious “1992 consensus” as the basis for maintaining peaceful relations between Taiwan and China.

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