Wed, Dec 02, 2015 - Page 8 News List

Safeguarding democracy, security

By Parris Chang 張旭成

With next month’s elections and the end of Ma’s tenure approaching fast, Xi had to act quickly. He saw the Singapore meeting as a chance to shake up the outcome of the elections. As Beijing skillfully intervened in previous elections and helped Ma get re-elected in 2012, with the collaboration of the administration of US President Barack Obama, Xi sought an encore. Thus, during a state visit to Washington in September, Xi tried, but was unable, to persuade Obama to undertake another joint effort to intervene in the democratic process to keep the KMT in power.

Without Washington’s support, Xi decided to go it alone. His game plan was to set up the meeting with Ma in Singapore and, with Ma’s cooperation, create an irreversible and irrevocable framework to lock Taiwan into the “one China” cage that could not be undone even if DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) takes office.

Not surprisingly, Xi called for ethnic solidarity and national unity.

He claimed that the people of Taiwan and China are in fact one big family and praised the Ma administration for strengthening the bonds between the two sides since 2008.

He said that ending the political division between the two sides is critical for the task of rejuvenating the Chinese nation and restoring it to its proper place in the world.

Regarding cross-strait ties, Xi admonished the future government to “unwaveringly adhere to the common political foundation between the two sides of the Strait,” based on the [so-called] “1992 consensus,” ie, the “one China” principle, and opposition to “Taiwanese independence,” lest “the ship of peaceful development ... meet with great waves and even suffer total loss.”

He warned that at present, the greatest threat to the peaceful development of cross-strait relations is the “Taiwanese independence force” [namely the DPP].

He sternly criticized “Taiwanese independence advocates,” who instigate hostility and confrontation between the two sides of the Strait, harm state sovereignty and territorial integrity, and undermine peace and stability.

On Ma’s part, he complied with the wishes of his counterpart by emphasizing his support for the consolidation of the “1992 consensus” and the “one China” principle as defined by Beijing.

Many in Taiwan’s attentive public have accused Ma of being traitorous and having undermined the nation’s sovereignty. Ma was widely criticized in the media for his eagerness to have a photo opportunity of a handshake with Xi, but failing to mention the Republic of China, thus wasting a rare chance to reinforce to the world the concept of separate governments across the Taiwan Strait. To some, that was a major step backward to safeguarding Taiwan’s survival.

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