DPP gamble stifles Taiwan’s global space

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/17 23:03:43

In a letter sent to the World Health Organization, a group of 172 US lawmakers called for Taiwan's participation in this year's World Health Assembly (WHA) to be held on May 21. The lawmakers, deliberately neglecting the fact that the WHA is an event for sovereign countries, said in the letter: "Global health and safety should not be held hostage to China's political objectives."

Taiwan was allowed to attend the WHA with observer status as "Chinese Taipei" from 2009 to 2016 under the backdrop of peaceful development of cross-Straits relations. But the Tsai Ing-wen administration has been refusing to recognize the 1992 Consensus since assuming office and this prompted the shift in the central government's attitude to Taiwan's WHA bid. Taiwan wasn't invited to the WHA last year, but still sent a delegation to Geneva, which was treated with contempt.

This year, Taiwan has mobilized US lawmakers to appeal to the WHO. But this won't have any effect. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s disrespect for the one-China policy has triggered tensions in cross-Straits relations and the only way it can handle the consequences is to talk tough.

This week, Air Canada labeled Taiwan as a part of China on its booking website, the latest example of a growing list of air carriers that made such changes at the request of the Chinese mainland. Despite protests by pro-independence organizations, the airline refused to comment.

Taiwan will experience a further squeezing of international room. The number of its "allies" drops. Taiwan is expelled from an increasing number of international occasions. Its activities are subject to stricter restrictions in the global arena. The Tsai authority might receive sympathy from certain political forces in the US. Washington may take bolder actions, but it won't risk its entire ties with Beijing to develop official relations with Taiwan.

May 20 marks the second anniversary of Tsai's term in office. The pro-independence leader saw slumping approval ratings in the last two years and will have to celebrate her anniversary with anxieties amid WHA exclusion and the loss of "allies."

The mainland, from the higher levels to the grass roots, has become more confident, and this has alleviated its anger in the face of DPP provocations. Suppressing pro-independence forces is an entertaining cause for the mainland.

The mainland is seeing an enhanced capability in dominating the cross-Straits situation and thus Washington making trouble with the Taiwan question may not be bad for the mainland.

Recognizing the 1992 Consensus is the only option for Tsai. Otherwise Taiwan will inevitably be isolated and become a political freak in the world.

Taiwan is merely a chess piece for Washington, with no initiative in its ties with the superpower. Charting the wrong path, Tsai and the DPP now have no choice but to go with the flow.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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