China has learned to deal with Taiwan by manipulating the US and Japan, a tactic it is using to avoid stirring resentment among Taiwanese while trying to hold the Taiwanese government in check, a former official said yesterday.
"Having learnt from its dealings with Taiwan these past 10 years, [China] has realized that its hardline policies only cause repugnance among Taiwanese people," said former Mainland Affairs Council vice chairman Lin Chong-pin (
"In this regard, China has shifted its Taiwan strategy from launching verbal attacks and military threats to trying to win the support of Taiwanese people," Lin said.
Lin has also served as deputy minister of national defense, and is currently executive director of the private Foundation on International and Cross-Strait Studies.
"This time, we saw that China reacted to President Chen Shui-bian's (
For that matter, US-Taiwan and Japan-Taiwan relations might meet with difficulties in the aftermath of the planned abolishment if Taiwan fails to explain the issue thoroughly, Lin said.
"I don't think the abolishment [of the council] will influence the friendship between Taiwan and the US, but there will be difficulties, and we have to be prepared for them in advance," he said.
Lin said the government and political parties haven't been aware of China's strategy shift in recent years, which has left Taiwan in disarray when responding to China's "soft tactics," such as preferential treatment of Taiwanese fruit imports.
"It was politically correct for the government to criticize China's `Anti-Secession' Law with regard to [the legislation's implied] military coercion, but this focus neglected to address the fact that China has been using many forms of a united front strategy to curry favor with Taiwanese people," he said.
Lin made the remarks at a press conference held at the Legislative Yuan to publicize a foundation report that monitored cross-strait events last year.
The report predicted that cross-strait military tensions will continue over the next three years, and will be the most crucial factor impeding cross-strait rapprochement.
The report said that Chinese President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) two-pronged strategy -- using hard and soft power tactics -- as well as the stability of Chen's cross-strait policies will be the determining factor in how cross-strait relations play out.
In related news, Peacetime Foundation of Taiwan executive director Chien Hsi-chieh, the publisher of the report, called on Chen to convince people his policies were correct before deciding to scrap the unification council and guidelines.
"Winning people's support on abolishment [of the council] is a process that highlights Taiwan's democratic values. It will contribute to the public's understanding of the issue and help the government withstand pressure from the US and China," Chien said.
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