台湾総統選 対中急接近が生んだ蔡新政権

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Rapid rapprochement with China led to new administration in Taiwan
台湾総統選 対中急接近が生んだ蔡新政権

The people of Taiwan have applied the brakes to rapid rapprochement with China.

In the presidential election in Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, chair of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) — the biggest opposition party — won by a wide margin over her main rival, namely Chu Li-luan. Chu is chair of the ruling Nationalist Party, which has pursued a policy of bringing about reconciliation with China. The election marked the first change of government in eight years.

Concern that Taiwan might be swallowed up by China if Taiwan’s reconciliatory policy toward China continued at the current pace may have expanded public support for Tsai.

In the previous presidential election held four years ago, Tsai asserted, “Taiwan is already a sovereign and independent country” and was defeated by Taiwan’s current president, Ma Ying-jeou.

As Taiwan has increasingly become economically dependent on China, concern over possible deterioration in relations between Taiwan and China has spread among business and other circles.

Tsai’s election strategy this time proved effective. She repeatedly reiterated her pledge to maintain the status quo in relations with China — not to seek independence or unification — while suppressing the pro-independence tone of the DPP.

Public opinion polls showed that the majority of people in Taiwan support maintaining the status quo.

In her victory speech, Tsai said, “Our message to the international community is that democracy is deeply ingrained in Taiwan.”

Imbalance spurs resentment

The Nationalist Party’s Chu has touted to voters the stability in Taiwan-China relations, in light of the first summit talks between Taiwan and China held in November. Yet there was deep resentment among the people that the fruits of closer economic ties with China have been felt only by the wealthy.

The Nationalist Party also suffered a major defeat in polls to elect legislators, held simultaneously with the presidential election. This has been attributed to a growing sense of “Taiwanese identity” among the young generation, the perception that China and Taiwan are separate.

The DPP has won a majority in the legislature for the first time, which is expected to lead to a stable administration.

The New Power Party, led by young Taiwanese who opposed Taiwan’s policy toward China and unlawfully occupied the parliament in 2014, also won seats. This indicates that the new party has absorbed those who were dissatisfied with the Nationalist Party-led administration.

The urgent challenge for Tsai is to achieve economic development that will be felt among the Taiwanese people, while stabilizing Taiwan’s relations with China.

It is worrisome that Tsai has not accepted the “1992 consensus,” under which both China and Taiwan recognized the “One China principle.” China’s administration under President Xi Jinping, which aims to eventually realize the unification of China and Taiwan, has indirectly warned that unless Tsai recognizes the 1992 consensus, there will be no “status quo.”

Should Tsai continue to refuse to endorse the 1992 consensus, China is likely to apply pressure by restricting cross-strait economic exchanges, thus rocking the new administration. China’s trump cards may include curbs on Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan and direct flights between China and Taiwan.

The future course of the cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan will affect the stability of East Asia. China must respond appropriately.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 17, 2016)

0 件のコメント: