Posted by: mulrickillion | December 25, 2011

DPP’s Cross-Strait Policy Consistent with “Status Quo”

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DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen Has Demonstrated Underestimated Steadiness with the "Taiwan Consensus".

By Russell Hsia, China Brief, Vol. 11, Iss. 23, Dec 20, 2011 —

With Taiwan’s 2012 presidential and legislative elections less than one month away and public opinion polls showing the two presidential hopefuls, President Ma Ying-jeou and Chairwoman Tsai Ing-yen, in a dead heat, Washington and Beijing have been preparing for the possibility of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) returning to power. The possibility of a DPP victory in the presidential election and/or attaining a legislatively-significant number of seats in the parliament have raised questions about the extent to which the election results may affect current government’s cross-Strait policy. An analysis of the DPP’s cross-Strait policies is therefore necessary for better understanding the potential implications of the 2012 elections. While there has been an outpouring of media attention on the DPP following Tsai’s visit to Washington in September, much of the public discussion has been guided by subjective perceptions and little analysis concerning the Party’s stated policies and the context of prevailing views in Taiwanese society toward cross-Strait relations.

Domestic Political Environment

Any analysis of the DPP’s or the Chinese National Government’s (KMT) cross-Strait policy cannot be separated from the domestic political context. Politics takes place in a competitive market of ideas, making voter demand as important what the DPP and KMT policies supply.

In 2008, the Executive Yuan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) conducted a survey in which 82.6 percent respondents indicated that they preferred the “status quo,” while a combined 10.1 percent responded that they want unification or independence as soon as possible [1]. . . .

12-25-2011 2-21-48 AM

[Taiwanese public opinion. Source: Mainland Affairs Council (MAC); See the MAC website: http://www.mac.gov.tw/public/Attachment/911813284914.gif].

This signal is not lost on either political party. It appears increasingly clear that maintaining the “status quo” represents a societal consensus, and unilateral changes by either party toward unification or independence would not be widely supported by Taiwanese voters.

Absent a major stir of the pot—for example, a Chinese provocation (i.e. missile test in the Taiwan Strait) or a renouncement of the use of force (i.e. missile withdrawal), and/or the perception of changing U.S. policy (i.e. revoking the Taiwan Relations Act)—it seems unlikely that public attitudes on this particular issue will change significantly.

In other words, unless Beijing decides to intimidate Taiwanese voters by launching missile tests over the Taiwan Strait like what happened in the 1995-1996 crises; or, on other hand, demonstrate meaningful steps to reducing its military posture across the Strait; or if Washington revokes the Taiwan Relations Act, the “status quo”—as Taiwanese people see it, in general—is likely to remain as is for the foreseeable future.
What is the DPP’s Definition of the “Status Quo” for Cross-Strait Relations?

At the core of the problem in cross-Strait relations is the perception of different interpretations of the “status quo” among the major political parties in Taiwan. . . .

The Jamestown Foundation: DPP’s Cross-Strait Policy Consistent with “Status Quo”

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