Monday, October 19, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Taiwan Tilts Toward U.S.

"Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party dumps presidential candidate" by the Associated Press   October 17, 2015

TAIPEI — Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party selected party chairman Eric Chu, the mayor of suburban New Taipei City and a former accounting professor, to lead the ticket in the Jan. 16 election.

The Nationalists have lost favor over their pro-China policies, and Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tsai Ing-wen advocates greater caution in relations with Beijing.

While the presidency remains in doubt, a more popular candidate could help the Nationalists retain their majority in Taiwan’s 113-seat parliament.


Chu is seen as relatively more moderate on cross-Taiwan Strait relations while maintaining friendly ties with the mainland’s ruling Communist Party.

A win for Tsai would raise new questions about Taiwan’s relations with Beijing, which claims the island as its own territory to be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. Despite that threat, China is now Taiwan’s biggest trading partner and a growing source of tourism and investment.

That's why I no longer take war-mongering pre$$ seriously.

Talks between the sides have been based on the Nationalists’ acceding to Beijing’s demand that Taiwan and China be seen as part of the same country, something the Democratic Progressive Party has refused to do.

While the DPP officially advocates Taiwan’s formal split from China, it has pledged to adhere to the will of the majority of Taiwanese, who favor maintaining the status quo of de facto independence.

China took a hard line against the last DPP president, Chen Shui-bian, who served from 2000 to 2008. Its approach softened radically under current Nationalist President Ma Ying-jeou, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a third four-year term.

Ma’s government signed 23 agreements with China to promote investment, tourism and trade, helping to reduce tensions between the sides to their lowest level in more than six decades.

Although welcomed by the business community, the agreements incurred a backlash from younger Taiwanese. Tens of thousands protested in Taipei last year against the deals, saying they’d been rushed through without adequate consultation.

Young Taiwainese opposed the deals out of fear they will harm their economic prospects and eventually give China political control over the island.

A former Japanese colony, Taiwan split from the mainland in 1949 when the Nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-shek, moved their government here following their defeat by Mao Zedong’s Communists in the Chinese civil war.


RelatedThrough the Taiwan Strait

It's all about confronting China. Nothing confusing about it.