Messy politics behind Taiwan missile error

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/7/4 0:08:01

Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen issued a stern instruction concerning the island's erroneous missile launch, saying the accident was "unforgivable" and Taiwan troops are undisciplined. Tsai demanded immediate measures to rectify the chaos, and asked the Taiwan military to explain the causes and effects to the neighboring countries and the Chinese mainland to clear up doubts.

Jumbled politics might be the root cause for the missile mistake. Taiwan is not a state, but the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) keeps pursuing the daydream of independence. Tsai won't accept the 1992 Consensus, which has been the political foundation for the cross-Straits relationship for years, but she also vows to maintain the status quo. Recent years have seen Taiwan swaying back and forth on the path of nailing down its fundamental outlook for cross-Straits ties. The future of the island is becoming uncertain, and each rotation of the ruling parties can make a huge impact on Taiwan, like a revolution.

More and more military experts believe that, as the mainland keeps reinforcing its overwhelming competitive advantage over Taiwan in military capability, Taiwan's  troops are becoming merely guards of honor. If there is a showdown across the Taiwan Strait, the Taiwan military stands no chance of making a difference.

It has become increasingly difficult to boost confidence among Taiwan troops. The entire body is full of confusion, because the political objective and the efforts in war preparation have become meaningless. That is why the Taiwan troops are disturbed by lack of discipline and even scandals.

It is Tsai and her DPP that have steered Taiwan off the right path. The responsibility shouldn't be simply taken by some negligent soldiers.

The accidental missile launch is extremely dangerous and could trigger a war between the mainland and Taiwan. What's more serious is Tsai and her DPP evading recognition of the 1992 Consensus, which has done great damage to the hard-earned mutual trust across the Straits. Amid the rise of distrust, both sides won't be able to ask for a soft landing after accidents take place, thus the odds of a direct confrontation will get much higher. Tsai's hope of maintaining the status quo in the cross-Straits relationship can hardly be realized.

As China and the US have had a hard time in strategic communication, the DPP might think the situation will be helpful to them for seeking independence, because Washington will be more indulgent.

However, as the strategic distrust between China and the US ramps up, the risks of independence will be much higher, because the mainland will be much less tolerant about provocations, and will resort to harsher countermeasures.

The new Taiwan administration should govern discreetly. Not only should they manage their missiles well, but also watch their mouths. Denying the 1992 Consensus comes at a price, and the mainland will let Taiwan pay when the time is right.

Posted in: Editorial

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