Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is making unification a more important component of his “China Dream,” despite Taipei’s pledges to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait and to preserve the “status quo” in cross-strait relations, a US-based foreign and defense policy commentator said.
“Tensions are rising between Beijing and Taipei,” American Enterprise Institute foreign and defense policy studies research fellow Michael Mazza said in an article titled “Is a Storm Brewing in the Taiwan Strait?” published by the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday.
Mazza linked Beijing’s increasing pressure on Taiwan with Xi’s vision for the future of China, or “China Dream,” of which Xi has made unification an important component.
Xi “began talking about the ‘great renewal of the Chinese nation’ — which, for him, requires formal unification with Taiwan — during a speech he gave in 2012 as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party [CCP],” Mazza said.
Xi last year at the CCP’s 19th National Congress said that by mid-century, the party would “develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful,” Mazza said.
“If Xi turns out to be unable to deliver on his promises of economic prosperity for all Chinese people, as may well be the case, the other components of the China Dream will become more important,” Mazza said, referring to the unification of China and Taiwan.
Taiwan has proven itself a responsible actor in East Asia and would seek to avert a potentially cataclysmic collision “as long as doing so does not require submitting to Beijing,” Mazza said.
However, whether Beijing will accept anything less than submission is not at all clear, he said.
“The Taiwan Strait is already known for its strong winds and choppy waters — but rougher seas lie ahead,” Mazza said.
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