As expected, former deputy legislative speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), advocate of the “one China, same interpretation” formula, won the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairperson by-election and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), in his capacity as the Chinese Communist Party general secretary, promptly congratulated her.
Hung’s victory signifies that the KMT will not change its ways to become more Taiwan-centered just because it lost the Jan. 16 elections. Instead, it will continue pushing its “China ideology” and goal of eventual unification. The KMT’s stance bolsters Xi’s determination and is a victory for his political course.
Having been steeped in 5,000 years of stale, stagnant culture, the Chinese are unbeatable: Beijing would never back down from its “one China” principle and the KMT would never stop supporting the Republic of China’s “one China” Constitution.
Pro-localization parties that claim to represent Taiwan talk about “pragmatism” and “reconciliation,” as they come under pressure from cross-strait political and business organizations, and adjust their beliefs to adhere to the “one China” Constitution.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) recently said that “without its party assets, the KMT would be done for.” Is that really true?
Following the Sunflower movement, the leaders in Beijing started laying out a “four-year counterattack” plan and proposed a policy called the “three middle and one young” aimed at Taiwan’s small and medium-sized enterprises, medium and low-income households, central and southern Taiwan, and Taiwan’s younger generation.
Beijing has also set up the China National Development Foundation for outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to facilitate cooperation between the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and the Straits Exchange Foundation after president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) takes office on May 20.
The “three middle and one young” policy is aimed at consolidating the strategy of bringing about unification through economic means among Taiwan’s grassroots. However, connecting with the low-income and middle classes as well as the younger generation requires a presence in Taiwan. That is the reason Beijing and Ma continue to care about the trade in services and goods agreements.
If the two agreements are passed, China can take advantage of its huge market to take over Taiwan’s service industries — including logistics, the Internet of Things and media — in the same way that Chinese travelers dominate Taiwan’s tourism industry. And it would not take four years.
The economic unification triad formed by the two agreements and the “three middle and one young” policy would be 100 times more powerful than the KMT’s billions of New Taiwan dollars worth of party assets and it would be sufficient to redraw Taiwan’s political map over the next four years.
It is important not to be taken in by opinion polls which show that 70 percent of Taiwanese identify themselves as Taiwanese and believe in independence as a result of natural progression, because in another poll asking about people’s expectations about the direction of the nation, 49.7 percent said they think unification is unavoidable.
That view would rapidly spread once China’s economic tentacles reach into every corner of Taiwan. It would become a formidable force.
Whether or not Hung would be able to make the KMT rise from its ashes will depend on how quickly the economic triad comes together and how well it will be complemented by another triad — Beijing, Hung and the foundation.
Huang Tien-lin is a former advisory member of the National Security Council and a former Presidential Office adviser.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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