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.
The Han Kuang exercises, the nation’s major war games, are to start today and run for five days. The drills are to include a military aircraft emergency takeoff and landing exercise on a regular roadway on Wednesday, featuring all three fighter jet models in Taiwan’s fleet, a military source said last week. The drill is to begin at 6:30am on a 3km section of Provincial Highway No. 1 in Pingtung County’s Jiadong Township (佳冬), and feature an Indigenous Defense Fighter, an F-16V, a Mirage 2000-5 and an E-2K Hawkeye early warning aircraft, the source said. The emergency landing and takeoff drill aims to
MRNA VACCINE: Heart inflammation is rare, but possible after a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot, and students need to be aware of possible side effects, an expert said As Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations for students aged 12 to 17 are to begin on campuses on Thursday next week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged recipients to be especially watchful for five signs of possible myocarditis or pericarditis, which are rare adverse reactions to some COVID-19 vaccines. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices convener Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎) joined the CECC’s daily news briefing to report on possible side effects after receiving a BioNTech vaccine. Lee said that cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed in people in the US who have received mRNA COVID-19
Taiwan on Friday accused China of seeking to use the Honduran election to “create controversy” and undermine Taiwan’s long-standing ties with the country, saying it would strive to win support for Honduras’ relations with Taipei. Honduras’ main left-wing opposition party, the Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE), led by ousted former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, has said that if it wins November’s presidential election it would seek to “readjust” the country’s debt and establish diplomatic relations with China. Honduras is one of 15 UN member countries that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has already warned Honduras not
WORKING TOGETHER: Masahisa Sato said that the Liberal Democratic Party is aiming to share ideas about Taiwan-related policies and improve ties with Taiwan Countries in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly being threatened by China, and like-minded nations should work together to resist such threats, Japanese politicians said. Japanese House of Representatives members Keiji Furuya and Masahisa Sato made the comments in a video played on Friday at a conference held by the Taiwan Japan Academy in Taipei. Furuya praised President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration for its efforts in reinforcing exchanges with countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia through the New Southbound Policy. Taiwan also has interests in the Pacific Islands region, but they have come under threat from China in the past few years,