Taiwanese choose Tsai, not independence

Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2016-1-17 0:03:57

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Tsai Ing-wen won by a landslide in Taiwan’s “presidential” elections on Saturday, and the DPP she leads captured the majority of seats in the Legislative Yuan, with the Kuomintang once again becoming an opposition party.

Since KMT’s defeat in Taiwan’s nine-in-one local elections in 2014, it’s expected that the DPP will assume power again. To win the election, Tsai made prudent remarks and took an ambiguous attitude toward cross-Straits policies in the past year. She kept stressing maintaining the status quo of cross-Straits ties. 

By circumventing the sensitive cross-Straits issue, Tsai had clearly drawn a lesson from her defeat four years ago. When “Taiwan’s path” was discussed in the “presidential” campaign this time around, the focus was not whether the island should seek “independence,” but how to boost the island's economy, address social inequality, and guarantee the future of younger generations. 

The vote is not a gauge of cross-Straits relations. The DPP’s victory doesn’t mean the majority of Taiwanese support Taiwan independence. Tsai and her party are aware of this, so in her victory speech, she was evasive about the current issues between Taiwan and the mainland, only scrupulously stating that she will be engaged in a “consistent, predictable and sustainable cross-Straits relations.”

The past eight years have seen greater progress for cross-Straits relations. Such progress, which is hard to be reversed, will provide some restraint on the DPP’s mainland policy. Besides, the mainland has an asymmetrical edge over Taiwan in political, military and economic terms. The mainland firmly holds the initiative in cross-Straits relations, making Taiwan independence a completely impossible scenario.

The KMT’s eight-year administration has made contributions to the current stage of cross-Straits relations, a performance that merits recognition both in Taiwan and the mainland. After this power shift, the DPP should assume the responsibility of serving the best interests of Taiwanese society, avoiding creating trouble for cross-Straits relations like it did as an opposition party. If the DPP abandons the progress made by its predecessor in the past eight years, it will jeopardize its future as a ruling party. The lesson of Chen Shui-bian should be a long-lasting lesson.

The mainland should be more prudent toward the power shift in Taiwan. No matter which party takes power, the mainland should maintain a policy calling for peaceful development between the mainland and Taiwan, while it cannot waver in opposing any form of pro-independence movement in Taiwan.

Tsai hasn’t publicly accepted the “1992 consensus,” which casts a cloud over cross-Straits official communications after she assumes office. The mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Saturday said that Beijing upholds the 1992 consensus and hasn’t shown any change toward Taiwan. 

Regardless of its relationship with the mainland, it’s impossible for the DPP to reverse Taiwan’s stagnant economy. No matter what kind of political philosophy Tsai espouses, she has to face up to the reality. She should know she has limited options. 

Tsai should keep in mind that if she revisits Chen’s dangerous path to cross the red line of cross-Straits relations, she will meet a dead end. We hope Tsai can lead the DPP out of the hallucinations of Taiwan independence, and contribute to the peaceful and common development between Taiwan and the mainland.

Posted in: Editorial

blog comments powered by Disqus