US' Manipulating Politics in Taiwan to Face Restraints, Counteracts - Expert
© AP Photo / Damian DovarganesUS and Taiwan flags. File photo
© AP Photo / Damian Dovarganes
The US' thinly-veiled policy of playing the so-called Taiwan card to support its geopolitical strategy of containing China is continuing after the regional election of Taiwan island with US lawmakers reportedly scheduling to go to the island.
Analysts said that there is nothing new about the US politicians' trip to the island, but it's still a provocative move against the one-China principle, and the Chinese mainland will take actions to respond based on the level of provocation made by the US and the Taiwan authorities.
Chinese experts said that the US will keep manipulating Taiwan politics but Washington is also being restrained as being overly provocative might cause the situation losing control, especially when the US is busy to deal with the Ukraine crisis and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at the same time in the year of US presidential election.
The Chinese mainland will try to safeguard the peace across the Taiwan Straits, and be well prepared to respond to all kinds of provocations, and to push forward the reunification process step by step in its own way, experts noted.
According to Japan's Nikkei on Sunday, a US bipartisan congressional delegation will go to the island of Taiwan to "strengthen relationships with opposition party leaders," as well as the new regional leader-elect Lai, also the head of secessionist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Representative Ami Bera, top Democrat in the House subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific, will join a group of lawmakers on a trip to Taipei soon. It is expected to be the first US congressional delegation to the island after the January 13 regional election. Bera said in an interview on Friday that the US congress members are going to send a message of "welcome" and "congratulation" to Lai, stressing the visit will demonstrate "US support for island's democracy."
17 January, 09:59 GMT
However, many Taiwan residents reached by the Global Times said the election this time has failed to reflect the public opinion on the island because DPP's Lai got elected with merely 40 percent of the votes, and the reason why he got elected is that the opposition parties' candidates failed to unite, causing a division among the remaining 60 percent of the voters who wanted to end the DPP's ruling.
Chang Li-chi, from Taiwan island and currently a postdoctoral researcher at Huaqiao University in Xiamen, told the Global Times that "the real public opinion in the island is to oppose the DPP's policy that has been causing tensions with the mainland in recent years, and also oppose the incompetence and corruption of the DPP authorities that has caused economic depression in the island."
Since the island's problematic election system is under the manipulation and control of foreign interference forces and some local interest groups with pro-secessionist and anti-reunification stance, people in Taiwan are unable to effectively decide their own future, and they are very easy to be divided into different groups, so they are unable to make meaningful change to correct the wrong path of the DPP secessionists, Chang noted.
Some Taiwan residents who asked for anonymity due to the concern of political persecution by the DPP told the Global Times that the DPP being elected is not reflecting democracy at all, because the secessionist party has been pushing the "Green Terror" (green is the color of the DPP) in the island for a very long time, and this situation will only get worse in the coming years due to Lai being elected.
"Many of us are only doing very normal businesses in the mainland or have jobs to promote the cross-Straits people-to-people exchanges, but we will be targeted by the DPP authorities, they may label us 'spies' or 'proxies' that' are 'sponsored by the Communist Party of China,' and some of our families may get detained by the authorities, and some others fined heavily or barred from leaving the island," said a Taiwan resident who asked for anonymity.
No one in the island is able to challenge the "Green Terror," said Taiwan analysts.
The US politicians and White House's so-called congratulations to Lai are nothing about democracy, but about manipulating the island to contain China, or in other words, to play "the Taiwan card against China," experts said.
The US politicians from both Democrats and Republicans agree that they need to make the best use of "the Taiwan card" when competing with China as they have realized that there is very little time left for them to use this card against China, Lü Xiang, research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.
According to Nikkei, Bera declined to give specific details about the trip, but the US politician noted the delegation plans to also meet with senior members of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People's Party (TPP).
Although the DPP won the regional election, the opposition parties have got more seats in the legislative authority, and analysts said this situation will restrict Lai's secessionist policy to some extent, and this is also the reason why the US wants to strengthen engagement with the opposition parties to keep its manipulation over the politics of the island.
On one hand, the US doesn't want the DPP to be too provocative against the mainland, as this might force the mainland to take decisive action to solve the Taiwan question once and for all; on the other hand, the US also wants to divide the opposition parties and to make sure there is no political force able to effectively promote reunification progress with the mainland, experts said.
Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Sunday that "the US actions and remarks from US officials on the Taiwan regional election so far have not surpassed what it has done in the past, but China will respond based on the extent of provocations [if the US side acts recklessly]."
"What the mainland needs to do at the moment is to further promote its own development, especially the high-quality development, and use this advantage to promote the reunification process in its own way, to build the bridges with individuals of Taiwan, as well as cities and counties governed by non-secessionist political parties on the island, to push the cross-Straits integration and co-development," said Li Fei, a professor at the Taiwan Research Center at Xiamen University.
The regional election result caused pessimistic atmosphere among the people from Taiwan who support the cross-Straits peace and cooperation, as the Taiwan compatriots reached by Global Times reporters in Xiamen, a hub for cross-Straits exchanges, said the future of Taiwan's economy and security are all in serious troubles.
But there is also good news for people of Taiwan who start up or get employed in the mainland, as well as Taiwan companies and individuals who have plans to seek opportunities from the mainland's market. Chinese mainland authorities have released sweeping guidelines to support East China's Fujian Province in exploring new paths for cross-Straits integrated development, outlining a flurry of specific measures to boost economic and trade cooperation between Fujian and Taiwan region in a wide range of areas from services trade and small businesses to high-tech industrial clusters.
Li said this is a creative approach to bypass the obstacles set by DPP authorities and to build connection with Taiwan's individuals. When Taiwan's economy is very likely to face more troubles due to the cross-Straits tensions caused by secessionist DPP, more and more Taiwan people will decide to leave the island and the mainland would be a popular choice for them. This is also very important for the mainland to be prepared for post-reunification governance of the island.
Taiwan residents reached by the Global Times in Xiamen said that culture, local language and living environment in Fujian are actually very similar to those of Taiwan, and in cities like Xiamen, it's even more developed than many cities in Taiwan, adding that due to the huge market and advanced infrastructure in the mainland, as well as the mainland's rising soft power among the youth in Taiwan, they believe that more and more Taiwan youths will break the ideological bias and come to the mainland to see by their own eyes in the coming years.
This article originally appeared on the Global Times website.