Sun, Jun 29, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Sunflowers altered dynamics: Schriver

UNSWERVING:The Chinese president is creating a new agenda and set of activities leading to unification, a former US deputy assistant secretary of state for Asia said

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

“Rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait are not something we look forward to,” Schriver said.

He said that if the movement made Beijing uncomfortable, causing it to respond in ways that increase tensions, “that would be problematic for the US.”

The Sunflower conference was opened by FAPA president Mark Kao (高龍榮) who said that under the Ma administration, Taiwan seemed to be “drifting” toward China.

Even so, Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia program at the Center for a New American Security, said he had a “distinct sense” that Xi was growing increasingly impatient about Taiwan.

This week’s visit to Taiwan by Zhang may not just be to find out how to win the hearts and minds of Taiwanese, but also to make sure that Beijing understands the Sunflower movement and that future activities do not come as a surprise.

“Beijing has zero tolerance for surprises from Taiwanese politics,” Cronin said. “They have no interest in growing democratic reform right now and so Taiwan is a huge threat to China.”

Cronin said it was too early to say if the Sunflower movement would have a lasting effect on security implications for Taiwan.

“Anything that moves away from China’s core objectives is something that absolutely is not to be tolerated,” he said.

There was nothing to suggest that China was going to invade Taiwan, but Beijing was not going to let up on the threat of military action, Cronin said.

He added that Taiwan needed to muster a credible asymmetric defense against growing Chinese capabilities and needed to convince China’s People’s Liberation Army that it would be very costly to launch a physical invasion of the nation.

“China is going to continue to put a stranglehold on Taiwanese politicians, whomever wins the next election,” Cronin said.

He said that Xi wanted to accelerate a political framework deal with Taiwan, and then hold Ma’s successor accountable to it.

“It leaves me very pessimistic about the security situation across the strait,” Cronin said.

Schriver said China did not have unlimited patience, raising the risk of the use of force at some point.

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