On Jan. 16, Taiwanese voters manifested their autonomy and determination to bring about reform through the presidential and legislative elections. In doing so, they added a new page to Taiwanese history books by thoroughly rejecting the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) stale old tricks and deceit.
The overwhelming landslide victories of president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) were given rarely seen attention in the international community, which also praised the accomplishments and maturity of Taiwan’s democracy.
In the eyes of the international community, the most significant aspect of these elections were that voters turned their backs on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his administration, and their policy of sacrificing Taiwan’s independence and accepting Chinese sovereignty.
A majority of the electorate agreed with Tsai’s position on maintaining the “status quo” — the “status quo” that everyone understands and that the international community supports.
Maintaining this “status quo” means safeguarding Taiwan’s status as a de facto independent nation.
The international media say it like it is, without any need for innuendo or embellishments: They are of the opinion that the outcome of the elections is a sign that identification with Taiwan has grown stronger.
The younger generation who have grown up in a democratic and free society find it impossible to accept the Chinese identity that China and the KMT are trying to shove down their throats.
The official responses from countries around the world have been to extend formal congratulations and well wishes from their top leaders. In Japan, the foreign minister issued an official statement and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his best wishes during a question-and-answer session in the Diet.
The UK, Germany, France, Australia and Canada also issued statements through their foreign ministers or in the name of their foreign ministries, while in the US, the National Security Council and the Department of State expressed their best wishes.
Perhaps all these leaders had all agreed ahead of time to congratulate Tsai on winning the presidential election and on praising the maturity of Taiwan’s democracy — the nation’s third transfer of government power — the way the Taiwanese public elected their leader in free elections and how it all confirmed Taiwan’s de facto independence and autonomy.
They also said that they looked forward to the continuation of cross-strait dialogue and that they hoped that peace and stability would continue to reign.
This was all a matter of “preventive diplomacy” aimed at China in a joint attempt to press Beijing to abstain from any actions that could endanger peace and stability.
During his two terms in office, Ma has pushed Taiwan from its de facto independence toward dependence on China and the idea that “one cannot say that the Republic of China exists” — both of which are dead ends.
These views run counter to what a majority of the public thinks, and in the end, voters have finally rejected them.
China must now find a way out by itself, by learning how to differentiate between de facto and de jure independence, and by stopping its interference in the de facto independence that the Taiwanese public have chosen and that the international community also supports.
James Wang is a political commentator.
Translated by Perry Svensson
I am just getting around to reading Dr. Chang Hsien-yi’s (張憲義) oral history published in 2016 entitled Nuclear Bomb! Spy? CIA (核彈! 間諜? CIA). Dr. Chang’s defection to the Central Intelligence Agency 33 years ago is one of the reasons that Taiwan does not have a nuclear deterrent today in the face of yet another Formosa Strait Crisis, and from his book, I can see that Dr. Chang still has strong views on the subject. In the Second Formosa Strait Crisis from August to October 1958, the United States deflected Sino-Soviet aggression against the offshore islands of Quemoy (金門) and Matsu
Australia’s decades-long battle to acquire a new French-designed attack submarine to replace its aging Collins class fleet bears all the hallmarks of a bureaucratic boondoggle. The Attack-class submarine project, initially estimated to cost A$20 billion to A$25 billion (US$15.6 billion to US$19.5 billion at the current exchange rate), had by 2016 doubled to A$50 billion, and almost doubled again to A$90 billion by February last year. Because of delays, the French-led Naval Group consortium would not begin cutting steel on the first submarine until 2024, which means the first vessel would not be operational until after 2030 — and the last
When Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) called for a reset of bilateral relations with the US, a White House spokesperson replied that Washington saw the relationship as one of strong competition that required a position of strength. It is clear that US President Joe Biden’s administration is not simply reversing former US Donald Trump’s policies. Citing Thucydides’ attribution of the Peloponnesian War to Sparta’s fear of a rising Athens, some analysts believe the US-China relationship is entering a period of conflict pitting an established hegemon against an increasingly powerful challenger. I am not that pessimistic. In my view, economic
China loves to brag that it is home to a market of 1.4 billion consumers, and it frequently uses this statistic to entice Taiwan and other countries into its poisonous embrace. Time and again, Beijing has employed a “cultivate, trap, kill” strategy. This entails using the allure of the market to attract foreign investment and businesses to set up production facilities, and then steal their agricultural and industrial technologies and use their know-how to develop its own firms. Once these domestic competitors are powerful enough, Beijing uses every excuse under the sun to impose restrictions on the import of foreign products.