In an interview with the United Arab Emirates newspaper the Khaleej Times on Friday, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said he was considering the direction Taiwan will take after Tuesday's legislative recall vote.
Chen said he wants to hold domestic political talks and initiate cross-strait peace talks. While it is good to extend olive branches, the opposition and media remain unimpressed. This reaction should be a warning to Chen, and regardless of the outcome of the recall vote, he should review his leadership style.
Chen has talked about domestic political negotiations and cross-strait peace talks many times since his election in 2000. Over the six years since, he has met People First Party Chairman James Soong (
The meeting between Chen and Lien took place after Chen's 2000 inauguration. Although Lien said construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be handled cautiously, the Cabinet announced that construction would be halted almost before Lien had returned home from the meeting. To Lien, this was humiliating and he has never met Chen again.
The first of Chen's meetings with Soong, also in 2000, resulted in rumors that Soong would become premier. The second meeting took place early last year, with the conclusions of the meeting supposed to be the basis for negotiations when Soong took a message from Chen to Beijing. Not long after the meeting, however, Chen claimed Soong had met Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, in the US. The Chen-Soong relationship soured and Soong even took Chen to court over the matter. Although Soong's bid for Taipei mayor may be the main reason behind his insistence on the recall motion and a no confidence vote in the Cabinet, personal animosity between him and Chen is an important factor.
The meeting between KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
Perhaps Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (
Chen's cross-strait policy has also constantly changed. With the cessation of the NUC, only "four noes" now remain of the "four noes, one without" policy proposed in his 2000 inaugural speech. He announced the "active opening, effective management" policy in 2001, and changed it to "active management, effective opening" this year. A lack of stability makes the public tend to take a wait-and-see attitude to cross-strait policy.
The recall proposed by the pan-blue camp may be unreasonable, but Chen must now review his leadership style and his handling of relations with the opposition, China and the world.
For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s “century of humiliation” is the gift that keeps on giving. Beijing returns again and again to the theme of Western imperialism, oppression and exploitation to keep stoking the embers of grievance and resentment against the West, and especially the US. However, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that in 1949 announced it had “stood up” soon made clear what that would mean for Chinese and the world — and it was not an agenda that would engender pride among ordinary Chinese, or peace of mind in the international community. At home, Mao Zedong (毛澤東) launched
With a new White House document in May — the “Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China” — the administration of US President Donald Trump has firmly set its hyper-competitive line to tackle geoeconomic and geostrategic rivalry, followed by several reinforcing speeches by Trump and other Cabinet-level officials. By identifying China as a near-equal rival, the strategy resonates well with the bipartisan consensus on China in today’s severely divided US. In the face of China’s rapidly growing aggression, the move is long overdue, yet relevant for the maintenance of the international “status quo.” The strategy seems to herald a new
To say that this year has been eventful for China and the rest of the world would be something of an understatement. First, the US-China trade dispute, already simmering for two years, reached a boiling point as Washington tightened the noose around China’s economy. Second, China unleashed the COVID-19 pandemic on the world, wreaking havoc on an unimaginable scale and turning the People’s Republic of China into a common target of international scorn. Faced with a mounting crisis at home, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) rashly decided to ratchet up military tensions with neighboring countries in a misguided attempt to divert the
Toward the end of former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) final term in office, there was much talk about his legacy. Ma himself would likely prefer history books to enshrine his achievements in reducing cross-strait tensions. He might see his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore in 2015 as the high point. However, given his statements in the past few months, he might be remembered more for contributing to the breakup of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). We are still talking about Ma and his legacy because it is inextricably tied to the so-called “1992 consensus” as the bedrock of his