Sun, Dec 26, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Academics predict next year’s political weather

FORTUNE-TELLING:According to academics, the 2012 presidential election will be at the forefront of China’s, the KMT’s and the DPP’s minds as they formulate policies

Staff Writer, with CNA

China will talk more about the so-called “1992 consensus” than the “one China” principle, while Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will seek dialogue with China without giving up its pro-independence stance next year, academics predicted yesterday.

“China is expected to maintain its support of Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and President Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九]. At the same time, it will launch dialogue with the DPP as a hedging strategy,” Lai I-chung (賴怡忠), a researcher of the Taiwan Thinktank, said in a symposium organized by the pro-localization Taiwan New Century Foundation.

China is likely to talk more about the so-called “1992 consensus” and anti-Taiwan -independence in the coming year rather than its long-standing “one China” principle, Lai said, because it does not want to jeopardize President Ma’s re-election bid in 2012 with a hawkish position.

The so-called “1992 consensus,” a term coined by then-Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起), refers to an alleged understanding between the KMT and the Chinese government that both sides of the Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means. Su admitted in 2006 that he had made up the term in 2000.

The DPP, meanwhile, is expected to show pragmatism in its new China policy, which has not yet been formulated, in order to move to a more centrist position for the 2012 presidential election, according to Lai.

Lai forecast that the DPP, under the leadership of Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), will present its new China policy based on a 1999 resolution stating that the DPP upholds that Taiwan is an independent country named the Republic of China.

The party will likely highlight the risk management of cross-Taiwan Strait economic exchanges and seek dialogue with China without prerequisites, he said, adding that China will also seek to engage the DPP.

However, the engagement will be confined to academic exchanges rather than a party-to-party dialogue, since the DPP still advocates Taiwanese independence, he said.

Yan Jiann-fa (顏建發), a professor at Ching Yun University who served in the former DPP government, said the DPP is going through a transformation period, in particular in its China policy.

Citing a public opinion poll conducted by Global Views magazine in May last year revealing that 48.5 percent of the respondents favored eventual independence over 16.2 percent who preferred eventual unification, Yang said the DPP had realized a change of direction is needed for the party.

While the independence-unification issue has always been the most sensitive and critical issue in Taiwan’s political debates, neither Taiwan nor China are in a hurry to touch upon the issue, Yan said.

“Beijing is not in a hurry to unify with Taiwan as long as Taiwan does not ‘stray too far,’ because it has its own domestic and exterior problems to handle,” he said.

Yan added that it would be better for Taiwan to focus on solving more urgent domestic issues at present, such as decreasing the wealth gap and improving national spatial planning, both of which affect people’s day-to-day lives.

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