Cross-Straits ties enter era of uncertainty under Tsai

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/5/20 0:42:44

Today is the day Taiwan's new "president" Tsai Ing-wen and "vice president" Chen Chien-jen are to deliver their inauguration speeches and assume office. A new era for a cross-Straits region that is characterized by uncertainty officially kicks off.

The content of Tsai's speech was a constant source of media speculation right up until the last minute. The truth is that through a series of signals over the last two months, Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have already made known what they believe. All she needs to do is play a few word games.

It is widely believed that Tsai will not publicly recognize the 1992 Consensus and the one-China principle. But she might use some ambiguity to soften the stance, in order to make her concept of "maintaining the status quo" persuasive.

Compared with Taiwan's former leader Chen Shui-bian, who attempted to promote "jurisprudential independence" against the one-China principle, the DPP is expected to take a softer approach toward independence. It is a flanking tactic to avoid direct confrontation with the Chinese mainland. What can be assured is that DPP's rule will make the suggestion of Taiwan independence further expand in Taiwan society, and take a larger step away from the mainland politically.

According to analysts, all the DPP wants is to establish a mode which Taiwan people acknowledge, the US accepts, and the mainland will have to tolerate. If we accept it, then peace will come more easily. But it means that from then on, the mainland admits that refusing to accept the one-China policy is not only the attitude of the DPP itself, but has become the formal stance of the entire island. Meanwhile, there is another option for the mainland - shifting the focus of cross-Straits ties to piling pressure on Tsai's administration from every single aspect, including politics, economy and military.

However for the mainland, is it a worthy fight with the Tsai administration, which is more moderate than Chen Shui-bian's, but marks a significant regression in the one-China principle.

The mainland's endeavors during Chen's "presidency" showed that "jurisprudential independence" will never work out on the island. However, certain people are still holding on to the fantasy that "soft independence" might be workable. Perhaps a new round of contention is inevitable to completely drive the topic of Taiwan independence away while making the one-China principle the one and only starting point to maintain the status quo.

The DPP resuming office and refusing to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus are becoming key factors that may reverse cross-Strait ties. If the mainland indulges it, the result could be that all our previous efforts will be lost.

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