The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is more likely to retake the presidency if Beijing fears that its yielding economic benefits to Taiwan or recognizing the Republic of China (ROC) would be abused by the DPP should it return to power, an expert attending a cross-strait forum said on Wednesday.
Yen Chen-shen (嚴震生), director of the International Relations Center at National Chengchi University, said that by continuing to block Taiwan’s bid to become a full member of the World Health Assembly simply because it is worried that the DPP would abuse its goodwill should Taiwan become a full member of the assembly, China was making a DPP return to power more likely.
Yen said as Taiwan, China, South Korea and possibly Japan will elect new leaders some time in the next two years, a new political climate is set to take hold in the region. It remains to be seen whether it will impact Taiwan and cross-strait relations, he said.
Since Taipei and Beijing have held six high-level talks and signed 15 agreements since 2008, Yen said the Taiwanese public has come to expect the two sides to deliver something every six months.
“I am afraid the appetite of the Taiwanese public will grow bigger and better,” he said during a panel discussion organized by the Straits Exchange Foundation to discuss the prospects of cross-strait relations.
Jack Lee (李允傑), a professor of economics at National Open University, said that since Taipei and Beijing failed to ink an agreement on investment protection last week, both sides have now entered a phase that will involve tackling more intractable issues, making future negotiations far harder.
“When it comes to politics and sovereignty, it is hard to untie the knot,” he said. “I don’t think mainland China is ready to treat Taiwan with equality and acknowledge the existence of the ROC.”
Yang Kai-huang (楊開煌), a -public affairs professor at Ming Chuan University, said negotiating on an equal footing is difficult and it is normal that negotiations drag on for years.
“How can we set a deadline and expect the government to sign a free-trade agreement within a short period of time? If that is what the public wants, the fastest way to accomplish the goal is to sell out Taiwan,” he said. “The government has the obligation to educate the public that negotiations take time.”
Yang, however, urged the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government to come up with a comprehensive cross-strait strategy as the DPP has done with its “10-year policy platform.”
“We know what President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) does not want [referring to Ma’s “three noes” policy] but he never tells us exactly what he wants,” he said. “It will be only lip service if he says he wants peace, stability and development across the Taiwan Strait.”
The “three noes” refers to no discussion of unification with Beijing during Ma’s presidency, no pursuit or support of de jure Taiwanese independence and no use of military force to resolve the issue.