Former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) director William Stanton yesterday took issue with opinion polls showing that a majority of Taiwanese prefer maintaining the “status quo” in dealings with China.
Taiwan is actually increasingly leaning toward China, he said, and the “status quo,” as perceived by Taiwanese, was “problematic” and “an illusion,” given that China is growing ever stronger and Taiwan is increasingly dependent on China economically.
Taiwanese cannot unilaterally decide the development of cross-strait ties, Stanton said at the annual meeting of the World Taiwanese Congress in Taipei, adding that how much patience China shows toward maintaining the “status quo” remains a question if bilateral relations do not proceed the way China sees fit.
Pro-unification advocates often think of themselves as realists and say Taiwan has no choice other than uniting with China, and they optimistically imagine that with time and the model that Taiwan provides, it would ultimately produce a beneficial influence over China, Stanton said.
However, the Chinese Communist Party has given no indication that it would actually support democracy or brook any challenge to its authoritarian rule, Stanton said.
Moreover, although China’s economy is stronger than ever, it has also brought with it a rekindling of nationalism, expansionism and a hawkish mindset, he said.
Taiwan should develop a broader and more in-depth understanding of what challenges its national security faces, and re-examine its national defense budget, he said.
The declining support for national security may stem from the falling morale of its armed forces, he added.
Taiwan should strengthen and invest more in national defense, while reducing market protectionism, Stanton said, adding that Taiwan should adopt measures that would increase its appeal to foreign investors, as well as step up processes to set up free-trade agreements with other nations.
BLUE WAVE: The KMT’s Chiang Wan-an defeated the DPP’s Chen Shih-chung and is to become Taipei mayor, while President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after many of the party’s candidates, handpicked by the leadership, performed poorly The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday flipped key mayoral seats in Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung, and won control of 13 out of 22 cities and counties in the nine-in-one local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last night resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson over a poor showing by the party’s candidates, who were handpicked by the DPP leadership rather than chosen through primaries. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won its first high-profile race with Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安) defeating Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) of the DPP with 45.02 percent of the vote to Shen’s 35.68 percent. Voters were choosing more than
CAUTION: Wearing a mask in crowded places and for people with chronic illnesses or allergies can help prevent COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, the CECC said The mask mandate for outdoor settings is to lifted on Thursday, and the weekly cap on international inbound travelers is to be removed on Dec. 10, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said at its regular news conference yesterday. The center also announced that starting from Friday, children aged five to 11 can receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster, and that rules for visiting hospital patients are to be partially eased from Dec. 10. While wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory outdoors, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝) reminded the public that it would still be required
ANALYSIS: The local elections showed that the KMT is a competitive player, but needs to work at changing its image regarding China, experts said The nine-in-one local election results would bolster the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but are unlikely to have a major effect on the 2024 presidential election, when cross-strait issues are back in focus, political commentators said. In Saturday’s elections, the KMT won 13 of the 21 cities and counties up for grabs, including four of the country’s six biggest metropolitan areas, where nearly 70 percent of the population lives. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost three of the seven cities and counties it held, although it gained Penghu County. Its poor results prompted President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to announce her resignation as party
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: China might impose a blockade, conduct limited force operations, use an air and missile campaign, or resort to an invasion, the report said The US Department of Defense has identified four possible military courses of action that China could take against Taiwan, but did not offer any guess on when Beijing might be ready to act. In an annual report to the US Congress released on Tuesday titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2022, the department gave a broad overview of China’s military capabilities, strategy, ambitions and intentions. The report devoted significant space to developments related to Taiwan, against which it said China had intensified diplomatic, economic, political and military pressure last year. For example, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)