Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) may be seeking “huge political concessions” before he will agree to meet President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), a new analysis published this week in the US said.
“What Xi wants most is Ma’s firm pledge to begin cross-strait political dialogue soon,” former deputy secretary-general of Taiwan’s National Security Council Parris Chang (張旭成) wrote.
Chang, a professor emeritus of political science at Penn State University, said that Xi seeks to “set the train in motion” while Ma is in office and create an irreversible framework to “lock Taiwan into the ‘one China’ cage.”
Such a framework could not be undone even if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) were to return to power in 2016, Chang wrote.
Beijing is exerting “immense pressure” on the Ma regime for more cross-strait political dialogue, Chang wrote.
Writing in the current edition of World Tribune, Chang said that the cross-strait service trade agreement will provide legal cover for China’s agents to live and work throughout Taiwan.
“Through Chinese enterprises and shops, China’s operatives would continue to build up its resources, and strengthen its capability to influence and shape Taiwan’s political process and policy efforts toward peaceful unification without firing a shot,” he said.
Chang also said that Beijing is attempting to hand-pick former vice president Lien Chan’s (連戰) son Sean Lien (連勝文) as a candidate in the election for Taipei mayor.
“As mayor of Taiwan’s capital, [Sien] Lien would provide Beijing not just a direct link to the [Chinese Nationalist Party] KMT leadership, but also a strategic power base to counterbalance Ma and post-Ma leaders and to affect Taiwan’s cross-strait policy,” Chang wrote.
He said that Beijing is also trying to manipulate the selection of Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) as the mayoral candidate for the DPP.
Ko could be China’s “Manchurian candidate,” Chang wrote.
“To exert greater influence over the DPP, Beijing also seeks to influence the election of its party chairman in May,” Chang said.
“Beijing’s approach toward Taiwan has changed so much and so quickly that it seems to be catching observers in both Taiwan and abroad dangerously off guard,” Chang added.