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Taiwan and China
How Much Does the China-Taiwan Summit Matter?

Ahead of elections that are predicted to oust the pro-Chinese Kuomintang government in Taiwan, the current Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who steps down next year due to term limits, announced that he will be meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday, the first time leaders from the two countries will meet since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. Reuters has the details:

The meeting in Singapore coincides with rising anti-China sentiment in Taiwan ahead of the presidential and parliamentary polls in January which the pro-China Kuomintang (KMT) is likely to lose to the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which traditionally favors independence from China.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, who steps down next year due to term limits, has made improving economic links with China a key policy since he took office in 2008. He has signed landmark business and tourism deals, though there has been no progress in resolving their political differences.

President Ma’s office insisted that the meeting not include any joint statements, and that no agreements be signed. Nevertheless, members from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party cried foul at the move, claiming its timing was suspect. “I believe people across the country, like me, felt very surprised…to let the people know in such a hasty and chaotic manner is damaging to Taiwan’s democracy”, DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen said.

We don’t know what China is thinking, but we wonder if it’s hoping to extend to Taiwan the friendlier attitude it has shown to Japan and South Korea. On Taiwan’s part, this looks like a clever political ploy by the ruling party to change the fundamental dynamic of Taiwan’s defining relationship at the last minute and upend the elections. We also wonder whether Taiwan’s decision to endorse, albeit in its capacity as the “true” government of China, the nine-dash line last May was part of the package.

But no matter what’s going on, the meeting between Ma and and Xi matters far less than what happens after the upcoming elections take place. We’ll be watching.

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  • Dhako

    It’s a good news for the greater China (i.e., Taiwan and PRC); and it’s definitely a bad news for the Neo-Con’s hired-Chinese agitators in the Washington’s Belt-Way (such Mixin Pie, Gordon Chang etc). For they have nothing to which to play a scare-tactics with where the issue of PRC and her intention towards Taiwan is concern.

    Moreover, the economical elites of the Taiwan (just like those of Hong-Kong) are to the last man and to the last woman, in the same page with Mr Ma, particularly, when it comes to dealing with the PRC, going forward, And, that is, to “shelf” all “politically ticklish” disagreement to one side; and, continue, even doubling down the economical ties between the parties.

    And, this move, not only “solidifies” the already deep-level two-way economical dependencies, but, it also, shoot it down, any contrived agenda on the part of US’s Neo-Cons (particularly at the Pentagon, and it’s affiliated Think-Tanks), especially, when it comes to “stirring up” some antagonism between the parties, so that, US can fish from the subsequent trouble waters.

    Or at least, create a situation whereby, the US’s defense contractors, can then sell a boatload of US’s arms, which will bite deeply into the Taiwan’s national budget, which in turn, will make the average citizen bit more poorer due to the governments lack of funds for the other social services, which in turn, will make the citizens to “blame” China for their “economical immiseration”.

    Consequently, this is what is known a long-game chess move by the PRC leadership, since, it blunt any mischief-making by Uncle Sam towards the political stalemate across the Taiwan Strait. Of course, the opposition DPP party may not see things that way. But, the beauty of this move, is that, it will establish a bottom line, whereby, the economical elites of Taiwan can now see that the PRC and President Xi, do not wish the worse for them.

    Subsequently, if and when, the DPP, wins the presidential election, they will be watch carefully, if they will be spoiling for a fight with the PRC, and therefore carrying out the “alien agenda” of the US’s Neo-Con perspective, even, if that is to the detriment of Taiwan.

    Or whether, they (the DPP) will pick up where the outgoing KMT left things over, so that the relationship between the parties will even be in a better position. Hence this move is essentially a down-payment move to show the Taiwanese citizens the benign intention of President Xi, especially, if you add the fact, economically, Taiwan is dependent on China much more profound way.

    Hence, this will mean, that the PRC has shown a large and boldly imaginative move, which in turn will mean, if after the election, and if the DPP wins the presidency, and therefore things go south on the bilateral relationship, then the Taiwanese will know to who to blame, provided the PRC leadership and President Xi stick to their current posture of friendliness towards the Taiwanese side.

    And, this of course, will mean that the agitators and PRC critics in the West, particularly like a certain former spook who is a Canadian gentlemen by the name of J. Micheal Cole (who teach in Nottingham University, in UK) will have a hard time in concocting a situation whereby they can demonize the PRC leadership for the Taiwanese citizens at the behest of the DPP in whose payroll he has been on for quite some time.

    All in all, this Saturday will be a good day for both parties and, of course, it will be a bad day for the US’s pivot to Asia/Pacific, a bad day for the US’s defense contractors (who are forever in search of a state to sell a boatload of Arms, regardless of what that arms could do to the financial balance sheet of the concern state), a bad day for the West’s strategical agitators against the PRC.

    And finally, it’s a bad day for those who wish to see these parties to come to blows against one another, so that they could fish, profitably and strategically, from the subsequent trouble-waters between these brotherly parties.

    • JR

      Brevity is a soul of wit my dude.

      • Jim__L

        I.e., TL:DR.

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