New Chinese Communist Party leader (CCP) Xi Jinping (習近平) will focus on solidifying his power base in the initial stage and will not change China’s policy toward Taiwan in the short term, academics said in Taipei yesterday.
Xi will be faced immediately with issues such as domestic problems, relations with the US and territorial disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, Tamkang University professor Chao Chun-shan (趙春山) said.
The new leader’s Taiwan policy “will not change — at least not in the short term,” Chao said.
In addition, the Mainland Affairs Council and Straits Exchange Foundation recently underwent top personnel changes and China will need time to observe if there are any shifts in Taiwan’s cross-strait policy, Chao said.
Xi yesterday was elected general secretary of the CCP for the next 10 years.
Under Xi’s leadership over the next decade, there are three factors that have to be taken into consideration when viewing China’s policy toward Taiwan, Chao said.
First and foremost is the US’ policy toward Asia, especially toward China after the Nov. 6 US presidential election, which is also to affect China and Taiwan’s policy toward each other, Chao said.
Second, China will have to consider its internal situation, focusing on domestic stability and whether other corruption scandals, such as the one involving the former CCP boss in Chongqing, Bo Xilai (薄熙來), will surface, the professor said.
The third factor is Taiwan’s seven-in-one elections in 2014 and its presidential election in 2016, which would indicate any shifts in the popularity of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party, Chao said.
He also said that outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao’s (胡錦濤) policy toward Taiwan had won recognition in the international community and Xi will basically follow the same path.
Wang Kao-cheng (王高成), a professor at Tamkang University, said Xi will basically follow in Hu’s footsteps, focusing on the “peaceful development” of cross-strait ties.
However, at some point, China will want to develop political relations with Taiwan, in addition to the present trade ties, he said.
Yang Kai-huang (楊開煌) of Ming Chuan University said that even if Xi makes changes in China’s policy toward Taiwan, they would not be too dramatic, unless Taiwan in 2016 elects a new government that completely rejects the “one China” policy.
However, in Xi’s second five-year term, he could develop his own thoughts on cross-strait ties, Yang said.
In addition to strengthening economic and cultural cross-strait exchanges, Xi may look to opening political dialogue and consultation and “even the possibility of a peace agreement,” Yang said.