The government’s strongly worded dismissal of a Chinese official’s remark that Taiwan’s future should be decided by “all Chinese” was a bid to shore up public support for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) China policy, but could be a strain on bilateral ties, a cross-strait relations expert said yesterday.
In the statement, the Ma administration said that the nation’s future is in the hands of its 23 million residents, rejecting the claim by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokesperson Fan Liqing (范麗青) on Wednesday that Taiwan’s future “must be decided by all Chinese people, including [our] Taiwanese compatriots.”
Aside from seeking to promote Ma’s China stance, the statement also represents a bottleneck in the development of cross-strait ties, said Tung Chen-yuan (童振源), director of National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Development Studies.
Even though Fan’s comment was a reiteration of Beijing’s well-known position, it sparked angry responses from the public, analysts and politicians across party lines, with some netizens warning China to keep its hands off Taiwan.
The Mainland Affairs Council and the Presidential Office issued statements on behalf of the Ma administration saying that the future of the nation and its relationship with China should be decided by its citizens.
Commenting on the strong reaction, Tung said the idea that the nation’s future should be left to Taiwanese is a consensus between the governing Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which favors closer ties with China, and the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“It’s taken for granted that the DPP would have responded the way it did,” he said, adding that the KMT administration had no choice but to follow suit given the high level of public distrust in the government.
“Had the administration not rebuked Fan’s comments, its lack of response would have been construed as acquiescence, which would have further eroded support for the Ma administration’s cross-strait policy,” said Tung, who served as deputy chief of the council in the DPP administration.
With political and sovereignty issues left unresolved, the closer economic and social integration Taiwan and China have engage in since Ma took office in 2008 has led to greater unease among the public about the cross-strait relationship, he said.
That public opinion has run counter to Beijing’s Taiwan policy over the past six years means that the development of cross-strait relations has reached a bottleneck, Tung said.
The relationship could regress if Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is forced to adjust the “peaceful development” framework established by his predecessor, former Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), Tung said.
Only 27 percent of people surveyed see Taiwan and China as “one China,” while 61 percent disagree, a poll released last month by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research showed. The figures compare with 39 percent in favor and 48 percent against in April last year.
FEW REMAIN: Conservationists tried to stop the demolition, but to no avail, and the owner cannot be fined, as the structure was not listed as a historical building One of the few remaining Japanese colonial-era granaries in Taiwan was dismantled by its owner on Friday, prompting outrage from conservationists. The granary, which was at No. 16, Lane 11, Hangzhou S Rd Sec 1 in Taipei, belonged to Taiwan Takushoku Corp during the colonial era, conservationist Chang Wan-lin (張琬琳) said, adding that she and others had been collecting information to reapply to have the building protected as a historical structure. During the colonial era, the granary served the area from Monga (艋舺) to what is now Songshan District (松山) in the north, she said. “Back then the eastern part
SEEING THE POSITIVE: A majority of respondents in Taiwan said that they favored Trump because they think Taiwan-US ties would improve with him Among eight Asia-Pacific countries and regions, only Taiwan prefers US President Donald Trump over his challenger, former US vice president Joe Biden, in the upcoming US presidential election, a survey released on Thursday showed. According to the poll published by UK-based market research firm YouGov, 42 percent of Taiwanese favor Trump in the Nov. 3 election, while 30 percent back Biden and 28 percent have no opinion. In contrast, respondents in Malaysia favor Biden over Trump 62 percent to 9 percent, and in Singapore by 66 percent to 12 percent, the survey showed. Biden also led Trump in Australia (60 percent to 21
TROUBLEMAKER: The missiles, capable of striking up to 2,000km away, would likely be used to deter other nations from coming to Taiwan’s aid, a legislator said The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has reportedly deployed advanced hypersonic missiles along China’s southeast coast, which Taiwan’s missile defense system might have difficulty intercepting, an analyst said yesterday. Citing an unnamed military source, the South China Morning Post said that the missile bases on the coasts of China’s Fujian and Zhejiang provinces have been upgraded and are stocked with DF-17 missiles, equipped with hypersonic glide vehicles. “The DF-17 hypersonic missile will gradually replace the old DF-11s and DF-15s that were deployed in the southeast region for decades,” said the source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. “The
Hong Kong air traffic controllers turning away a Taiwanese flight last week might have been China’s first move in a broader campaign to restrict Taiwan’s air access to its outlying islands, a retired air force general said on Saturday. The government needs to establish a response plan in the event that aircraft are denied entry to Flight Information Regions (FIRs) en route to Kinmen and Matsu, among others islands, retired lieutenant general Chang Yen-ting (張延廷) said. The Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of the Interior, as well as the Straits Exchange Foundation and Mainland Affairs Council, must