The success of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative would consolidate its economic and political dominance in the world, further alienate Taiwan and spell doom for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration’s “new southbound policy,” the National Policy Foundation, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) think tank, said yesterday.
China last month held a summit on the initiative in Beijing, which was attended by 29 heads of state, but the DPP administration and the majority of Taiwanese media outlets treated the event with indifference, foundation chief executive officer Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) told a news conference in Taipei.
The DPP administration introduced the “new southbound policy” as an answer to the Chinese initiative, hoping to compete with China in terms of overseas investment — a move that is both “dubious and regrettable” as trade does not have to be a “zero-sum game,” Sun said.
Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times
All the “new southbound policy” has amounted to so far is the DPP’s promise to subsidize tourist groups from Southeast Asian nations when they visit Taiwan for four days and three nights or longer, he added.
In contrast, the scope of the One Belt, One Road initiative, albeit ambitious, would have “unimaginable” results if only a part of it were attained, he said.
“Money talks, bullshit walks,” Sun said, urging President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to “stop bullshitting” and promptly figure out a way to respond to China’s rising economic influence.
China plans to invest more than US$900 billion under the initiative to build infrastructure and establish 56 economic zones across Asia and Europe, the foundation’s Economic Development and Financial Policy Department convener Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉) said.
The overall value of bilateral trade China is to conduct with nations involved in the initiative is expected to reach US$4 trillion, Lin added.
It is worrisome that the government has not said over the past two weeks how it is to respond to the major economic game changer, in particular how it is to cooperate or compete with the initiative with the “new southbound policy,” Lin said.
“While Taiwanese developers might not have the resources to secure large infrastructure bids under the initiative, which cost billions of US dollars, at least they will be able to win smaller bids that cost several hundred million dollars if we maintain a rapport and cooperate with China,” he said.
“If we choose to compete with them, not only will we not secure any bids, but Beijing is going to exert its economic and political influence to limit our options, which will be very disadvantageous for our path southbound,” he said.
KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said that the DPP administration turned down Beijing’s invitation to join the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, which kept the nation on the sidelines of the One Belt, One Road initiative.
“If we are frustrated that our international profile is limited by China; we should ask it for more international space,” he said.
If the DPP government would not accept the so-called “1992 consensus,” it should work out a new consensus that is mutually agreeable for Taipei and Beijing, as there would be no economic breakthrough without first settling political issues, he said.
The “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and Beijing that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means. Former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) said in 2006 that he had made up the term in 2000.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers