A US think tank is advising policymakers in Washington and Beijing that they had better be ready to deal with “an empowered” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
With President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) approval ratings at record lows, it is more likely than ever that the DPP will win next year’s “seven in one” elections, the Jamestown Foundation says on its Web site. Ma’s efforts — using his role as head of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) — to oust Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) has led to widespread accusations from both the DPP and Wang’s KMT allies that Ma is abusing his power over both the party and the police.
The foundation’s “China Brief” says that the latest scandal has revived suspicions of politically motivated investigations. A DPP victory would not necessarily mean a return to the series of crises that marked the term in office of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the item written by China Brief editor David Cohen says.
“The DPP has committed itself to avoiding provocative gestures in an effort to deal with an issue it views as its Achilles’ Heel,” the article says.
A campaign has been orchestrated over the past year by the DPP to develop new polices on China relations and national defense in an effort to reassure both the Taiwanese and Washington that it can serve as a governing party without further cross-strait crises, the foundation Web site says. In a June “Blue paper on national defense,” the DPP promised to raise defense spending to 3 percent of GDP and make arms purchases from the US a priority, both policies that US representatives have encouraged, the foundation says.
“If Ma emerges from the scandal as a crippled leader, it will pose a considerable challenge to Beijing,” it says.
“Beijing has made limited efforts to engage DPP leaders informally in recent years, evidently hoping to maintain the trend toward cross-strait economic integration in the case of a DPP president,” the article says.