Another blow to Tsai Ing-wen administration

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/13 14:43:39

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Panama's Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo in Beijing on Tuesday and signed a joint communiqué establishing diplomatic ties. The Panama government said that it recognized there was only one China, with Taiwan being an integral part of China, and that it was breaking ties with Taiwan.

This is an overdue communiqué. Panama is an important country in Central America. China is the second-most important customer of the Panama Canal. Panama has been longing to establish diplomatic ties with the Chinese mainland. As Taiwan counted on its ties with Panama to act as a "sovereign country" on the world stage, Beijing took Taiwan's feelings into consideration and did not accept the olive branch offered by Panama.

But the cross-Straits political balance has been broken since Tsai Ing-wen took office and refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus. As the mainland reopened the door to establishing diplomatic ties with new countries, Taiwan inevitably is suffering from a trend of broken ties. The newly-established diplomatic relations between Panama and China are a heavy blow to the Tsai administration. The administration must be worried that Taiwan's other Central American allies will follow suit and cause a domino effect.

This is the cost the Tsai administration needs to pay. Tsai has always refused to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus, leading to a great leap backward in cross-Straits ties. She should understand that the 1992 Consensus is an important political foundation to maintain stable cross-Straits relations. If she takes step to weaken this foundation, her administration will be bound to suffer the consequences.

During Ma Ying-jeou's eight-year rule, the number of countries that Taiwan had "diplomatic" ties with remained at 23 and Taiwan signed free trade agreements with two countries. Now Tsai has been in office for only a year or so, but three countries have severed ties with Taiwan. Tsai claimed she would win dignity for Taiwan from the international community, but Taiwan has ended up having less space on the world stage. The people of Taiwan have been taught a lesson as well.

Taiwan can no longer match the mainland's strength. The GDP of the mainland is almost 20 times that of Taiwan and the one-China principle is recognized all over the world. Taiwan independence faces a dead end politically, economically and militarily, and is only an ideological tool for Taiwan politicians. Taiwan independence thought will have to retreat in front of an ever powerful mainland. There is a tough road ahead for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Taiwan authorities have no leverage to help them maneuver. They cannot choose a showdown with the mainland, because they don't have the strength, and cannot find "a friend in need" from the international community. Meanwhile, if Taiwan loses hope in its economy or even faces the risk of war, the Taiwan public will not stand by the DPP.

Although Taiwan is an island, throughout history it was never an independent unit, geographically or politically. As China ascends and becomes a world power, the Chinese people are determined to unify their country. The longer the Tsai administration clings to the wrong path, the more losses it will bring to Taiwan and the DPP.

It is worth pointing out that China establishing diplomatic ties with Panama is obviously not aimed at competing for influence with the US in Central America. China does not seek to undermine US interests in the Western hemisphere and foreign media do not need to misinterpret this.



Posted in: EDITORIAL

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