China ties could change after CCP congress: expert

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Sep 17, 2017 - Page 3

China is embattled by tumults in the Asia-Pacific region, while cross-strait relations might undergo changes after the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 19th National Congress, Central Police University professor Tung Li-wen (董立文) said yesterday.

Speaking at an international symposium in Taipei on the outlook for developments in the Asia-Pacific region, Tung, an expert on Chinese politics, said China is facing tumultuous situations in the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.

China-Japan relations are unlikely to improve due to a sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), while Beijing’s attempts at expanding its military presence have prompted Southeast Asian nations to prime their armed forces for a possible confrontation, Tung told the symposium hosted by the Taiwan National Security Institute.

Meanwhile, North Korea has incessantly conducted nuclear and missile tests, he said.

The unstable configuration of the region has invited newcomers to join the power struggle in the Asia-Pacific, Tung said, citing as an example the UK, which has participated in two military drills with the Japan and the US.

Meanwhile, China’s recent border dispute with India could have deep implications for the global arena in the long run, he added.

The tensions on the Korean Peninsula are likely to escalate, and a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July has presented new challenges for China, as will a third meeting between Xi and US President Donald Trump reportedly scheduled for November, Tung said.

He predicted that there could be some changes in cross-strait relations after the CCP congress next month, saying that he was optimistic about the possible changes.

While China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zijun (張志軍) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Chairman Yu Zhengsheng (俞正聲), who control China’s Taiwan policy, have repeated ad nauseam that “the two sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to ‘one China’” and “China is firmly against Taiwanese independence,” and have taken swipes at President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) over their refusal to back unification with China, Xi has apparently refrained from criticizing Tsai or Wu, Tung said.

Zhang’s and Yu’s combative attitude has reportedly drawn criticism from CCP members, who said their handling of cross-strait affairs failed to serve Beijing’s interests, he said.

Their inability to outline plans for development in cross-strait relations signals that there is a “glitch” in China’s Taiwan policy, he added.

The two are to be replaced after the congress, which could mean that cross-strait relations will change for the better, Tung said.