Taiwanese President Takes Office, Promises Close Ties with China
Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou was inaugurated on Sunday after winning a new term in the office in January to Democratic Progressive party candidate Tsai Ing-wen, in the first campaign the analysts say not to have been about the ties with China but about the realities of Taiwanese economy.
The president, who was voted for the first time in 2008 on promises to thaw ties with the continental rival, said that the relation with the rising economic and military power is improving and will get even deeper but added that a formal peace accord with Beijing was not an urgent matter.
He said though that he was expecting more trade, transit and economic agreements to be signed with the Chinese counterpart, following the example of the 16 similar agreements signed over the last four years.
He was careful to say, in a press conference, that the formal peace treaty with China will not be signed in a hurry and that a popular consensus on the matter would be sought. He came under criticism last year for making the suggestion.
He explained that the economic matters will be discussed with China before the political ones, and that a formal peace agreement would be discussed with Beijing only after such idea gains massive support in Taiwan and it has been approved by a voter referendum.
The president said that the people of Taiwan have begun appreciating this pace of closing ties with China. Opinion polls show that more than forty percent of the Taiwanese favor the idea of advancing toward improving ties with China at this rate, while smaller numbers are in favor of either speeding up or slowing down the process.
The relations between Taipei and Beijing have improved considerably since 2008, when Ma took office. The deals signed since then improved Taiwanese competitiveness on the Asian market and brought Taiwan billions of dollars.
Beijing, which has claimed sovereignty over the island since the 1940s, when Kuomingtang, Ma’s nationalist party fled the continent and established its republic in the little island, claiming to be the representative of all Chinese.
Kuomingtang is the party which established the first Chinese republic, back in the 1920s, and Taiwan, also called the Republic of China, was the representative of Chinese people until 1971, when it was deposed of this right, and stripped of U.N. membership by resolution 2758, by which the People’s Republic of China got the seat that represents the Chinese people and the recognition of sovereignty over Taiwan.
Taiwan has kept applying for membership until 2009, when it renounced, but its efforts were foiled by the powerful stand of the Chinese government in the U.N. Security Council, which is the one to accept or reject application for membership.
Taiwan renounced its claim over mainland China and Mongolia in the 1990s, in hopes that this would make it easier to get a membership in the UNSC, and even renamed itself, renouncing the name of Republic of China and becoming Taiwan. At that time Kuomintang was an opposition party.
Kuomintang came back to power in 2008, and a new era for the Republic of China claim dawned. It was at this time that Taiwan renounced the bid for independence, considering that it would mean to give up their claim for China and Mongolia.
Taiwan was under constant threat from mainland China since its inception as republic, and it is for this reason that it spent until the 1980s under a emergency state regime, which brought some breach of the human rights.
However, in the 1980s, the island populated by some 30 million people became one of the Asian economic “tigers,” its advancement being based in the low cost of labor force and on the market it had at its disposal in Asia.
The emergence of China as a world power and the liberalization to some extent of the market turned China into a powerful economic competitor because the market in China is huge and the labor force cost is at a dumping rate.
Protests existed in the streets of Taipei on Saturday and Sunday with people shouting their concern that the new policy toward China could lead to a consumption of their island by the huge state and to a shock at political level as a peace and freedom loving population would be confronted with the Communist rule.11