One-China should transcend Taiwan politics

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-20 0:38:02

Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party on Sunday endorsed Hung Hsiu-chu as its candidate for the leadership election in January. As most observers consider that Tsai Ing-wen, the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) candidate, more capable than Hung, both the KMT and Hung will face an arduous campaign.

It is unknown whether James Soong Chu-yu, chair of Taiwan's People First Party, will participate in the election. This is a major variable that will decide where the election will head.

Two topics dominate the election: governance and cross-Straits relations. The DPP failed in its bid in the elections four and eight years ago, both because of the latter. With an equivocal approach, Tsai says she will maintain the status quo in cross-Straits ties if she wins, yet avoids making clear her attitude on the 1992 Consensus. Hung has retreated from the previous "one China, same interpretation" proposal to the stance by the Ma Ying-jeou government. In general, the cross-Straits relationship remains the strong point of the KMT but the DPP's weakness. Compared with the DPP, the KMT has yet to boost its morale. However, when different coalitions in Taiwan maintain stability, voters' mentality will differ from the local elections in November. The KMT's rout then does not mean a subversion of the situation. It is premature to be assured of Tsai's victory.

The Chinese mainland has never voiced its opinions on Taiwan's general elections during these years. The majority of mainlanders wish to see the KMT win, simply because its stance against independence can avert the risks of serious confrontation across the Straits. The KMT diverges immensely with the mainland in ideology and Ma's attitude toward some sensitive issues has disappointed many mainlanders.

Elections in Taiwan are subject to many uncertain factors, but the mainland's cross-Straits policy is firmly centered on opposition against Taiwan-independence. Cooperation between the two sides has to be based on the one-China principle.

This core attitude of the mainland is well-understood by Taiwan society after years of ups and downs. The DPP has to make policy adjustments in order to win the election. Tsai, for instance, has changed her tone from four years ago, which is different from the open hard-line policies of the Chen Shui-bian era. This reflects the trend of Taiwan politics in these years.

It matters to mainland public opinion who will win the race, but it matters more as to how the result will affect cross-Straits ties. In the long run, how the one-China principle can be acknowledged in each race, making stable cross-Straits ties transcend partisan politics in Taiwan is the crux of the problem. The mainland wishes to see positive developments in the cross-Straits relationship, but it will not compromise over Taiwan-independence in any form.

It is believed Taiwan voters have grown more rational after all these years, and this rationality will be conveyed through their votes.

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