Thu, Jan 25, 2018 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: Taiwan must focus on ‘hard power’

The US House of Representatives earlier this month unanimously passed the Taiwan Travel Act, which stipulates that the US government should encourage US-Taiwan visits at all levels. It is no surprise that Beijing is not happy about this development, but for the act to become law, it needs to be passed by the US Senate and then signed by US President Donald Trump.

The Senate’s version of act was proposed in May last year. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018 signed by Trump suggested naval port of call exchanges between the US and Taiwan, leading the Chinese ambassador to the US to warn: If a US warship arrives in Taiwan, China will activate its “Anti-Secession” Law.

As China becomes increasingly powerful, it is reacting to US shows of friendliness toward Taiwan, politically and militarily. However, going from this to suggesting there is in any way a “normalization” of Taiwan-US relations is going too far.

Having evolved from a one-party state to “one-man rule,” Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) threat to Taiwan has also become even more serious. Xi has carried out a sustained campaign to remove his political enemies, such as the life imprisonment of disgraced official Bo Xilai (薄熙來), whose father, Bo Yibo (薄一波), was executed by former Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶); Sun Zhengcai (孫政才), who was once tipped to become a member of the party’s top leadership, being stripped of Chinese Communist Party membership and removed from office; and the arrest of Wen Yunsong (溫雲松), Wen Jiabao’s son.

It is apparent that the joint leadership and fixed-term appointment system from the eras of former Chinese leaders Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and Hu has become an empty shell, and a new dictatorship has emerged.

New authority, new state strength and new science and technology have pushed China’s levels of state violence to a new historic high. Democracy activist, dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) died in custody and his wife, Liu Xia (劉霞), has yet to be freed.

The special message that Xi sends to Western nations is that China has its own specific situation and will not accept the “universal values” espoused by the Western world. Will China become the modern version of the “yellow peril?”

Its newly gained national strength enables China to continuously pressure neighboring nations — including Taiwan — using force and economic strategies. Of all these nations, Taiwan bears the brunt, as China regards Taiwan as the strategic breaching point in the first island chain to break out to the Pacific Ocean.

During former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) terms, Taiwan not only willingly cooperated with the rise of China’s hegemony, allowing China’s political and economic influence in, but also readily played a minor and subordinate role for Beijing in the international dispute over the South China Sea and Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台). Even on the international stage, Taiwan was content to be seen as some kind of vassal state.

However, nothing can be taken for granted in politics, and the Taiwanese electorate reacted to Ma’s pro-China trajectory in 2016, when for the first time, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost the presidency and its legislative majority, and is still showing little sign of recovery from this rout.

This story has been viewed 3082 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top