Criticism by China and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) last week of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) position on Taiwanese independence were examples of “miscalculations” and would not “score any points” for the KMT in the presidential election in January, analysts told a forum yesterday.
“Taiwanese independence will only be a ‘ceremonial war’ between the pan-green and pan-blue camps in which you will see a lot of rhetoric without substantial content,” said Lin Cho-shui (林濁水), a former DPP legislator and commentator on cross-strait relations.
In an interview aired on Thursday evening, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), tapped by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as his vice presidential running mate, attacked DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) advocacy of independence as “only rhetoric that she dare not implement,” adding that it was akin to “fraud.”
King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), executive director of Ma’s re-election campaign, meanwhile, said Tsai would not dare include the slogan “no independence” as part of her presidential campaign platform.
Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi (王毅), on a visit to Washington last week, reiterated Beijing’s stance and its position on the so-called “1992 consensus.”
He also accused Tsai of supporting the “one country on each side” formula and described her as “walking the path of Taiwan independence.”
The KMT, as well as some mainstream media in Taipei, consider China policy to be the DPP’s “Achilles heel,” as its pro-independence position has contributed to “unstable cross-strait relations,” Lin said.
While 73 percent of respondents in a recent survey conducted by Global Views magazine said they did not understand Tsai’s China policy, only 43 percent approved of Ma’s cross-strait policy, he said.
“This shows that both sides have their merits: The pan-blue camp has been able to maintain stable bilateral relations with China, but has failed to safeguard [Taiwan’s] sovereignty, while the DPP has achieved the opposite,” he said.
The same scenario was also seen on the economic front, he said, as the Ma administration says it has been able to boost the nation’s GDP by strengthening economic exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, but it could not prevent a hollowing out of Taiwan’s local industries.
“Engaging in a war [of words] like this will not help President Ma and his party in the elections,” Lin said. “With help from Beijing, however, they will keep attacking. It’s just that they will not score any points.”
Also at the forum, World United Formosans for Independence chairman Ng Chiau-tong (黃昭堂) called the KMT’s attack on Tsai “boring” and said its reasoning on Taiwan’s status was illogical.
While Ma has reiterated that the Republic of China (ROC) is an independent country, he should also understand that China is always opposed to “any form of independence,” be it “one China, one Taiwan,” “Taiwan independence” or “Two Chinas,” Ng said.
“China also opposes ‘an independent ROC.’ If Ma is against Taiwanese independence in any form, then the ROC cannot exist,” he said.
The DPP’s position on Taiwan’s status has been very clear since its party resolution in 1999, stating that Taiwan is an independent country with the current moniker of the ROC, Ng said.
The independence-unification controversy has been a decade-old issue and “an international issue — to some extent,” Ng said, as a majority of voters are more concerned with their own well-being.