A consensus on how to deal with Beijing’s upcoming leadership transition is essential for political parties in Taiwan because they share a common rival in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), an expert on Chinese politics said yesterday.
“At the end of the day, both [the pan-blue and pan-green] camps have a common rival — the CCP — rather than each other. We’ve spent too much energy on internal fighting,” Foundation on Asia-Pacific Peace Studies president Chao Chun-shan (趙春山) told a forum organized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Yesterday’s “Open Studio” policy forum, which examined likely political developments in China after the 18th National Congress of the CCP, where Xi Jinping (習近平) is expected to take the helm after Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) steps down as Chinese president, was the first of four “Facing China” symposiums, which are aimed at increasing the party’s understanding of China.
The DPP was determined to become more “open-minded” after its loss in the January presidential election and was willing to learn from its domestic rival, evidenced by the participation of Chao — one of the top China policy advisers of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
Saying he felt he was “behind enemy lines” by participating in the forum, Chao said that both the KMT and the DPP have to understand Beijing’s political development and strategy to protect Taiwan from Chinese aggression.
Chao said that maintaining social stability would be Xi’s priority after the transition of power and that means Beijing would adopt a relaxed attitude about international affairs and on its foreign policy.
However, China may become more aggressive in international affairs which touch on non-traditional security issues, such as the environment and energy, he said.
In terms of possible changes to Beijing’s Taiwan policy, former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chairperson Chen Ming-tung (陳明通) said the comments made by CCP Political Consultative Conference chairman Jia Qinglin (賈慶林) would likely set the tone for the CCP’s Taiwan policy.
Jia said on July 28 that the “mainland [China] and Taiwan both belong to one country, so the relationship between both sides is not a nation-to-nation relationship.”
The comments also provided a reason for Taiwan’s political parties to work together, Chen said.
Jia’s definition of the “one China” framework warned the DPP over its nation-to-nation ideology and, at the same time, contradicted the KMT’s interpretation of the framework as the KMT maintains that the “China” in “one China” represents the Republic of China, not the People’s Republic of China, Chen said.
“Beijing tried to take the Republic of China out of its ‘one China’ equation with Jia’s definition,” Chen said.
Central Police University associate professor Tung Li-wen (董立文) observed that Xi would be the Chinese president with the best knowledge of Taiwan and with the most interest in cross-strait affairs.
“Although he understands Taiwan, it does not necessarily mean Xi will be a Taiwan-friendly leader,” Tung said.
Incumbent Hu, who was expected to hand over his position as chairman of the Central Military Commission to Xi, could now retain the position after the Bo Xilai (薄熙來) incident and various territorial disputes that sparked regional tensions, said Kou Chien-wen (寇建文) of National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations.