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Tsai's moves will only backfire

China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-09 07:12

Editor's note: Taiwan authorities are reportedly planning to "punish" the international airlines that have complied with the Chinese civil aviation administration's standard of referring to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao as Chinese territories, in order to counter the rising influence of the Chinese mainland. Two experts share their views with China Daily's Yao Yuxin on how the "pro-independence" moves of Taiwan authorities will affect cross-Straits ties and Taiwan compatriots' livelihoods. Excerpts follow:

'Pro-independence' moves undermine residents' rights

Yin Cunyi, a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Tsinghua University

Thanks to Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen's refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus, cross-Straits relations have deteriorated over the past two years. And due to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's consistently "pro-independence" stance and Tsai's flexible approach to "de-Sinicization", such as downgrading of Chinese history in textbooks of senior high school, the mainland has lost trust in the island's leadership.

The fact that Fujian province has been supplying freshwater to Kinmen island shows the mainland is only targeting Tsai, her officials and "pro-independence" elements, while maintaining its stance of helping Taiwan compatriots to improve their livelihoods.

It is therefore imperative that the mainland maintains a strict vigil over the island's "separatists", especially because the DPP has never acknowledged the 1992 Consensus. We won't lose even an inch of China's national territory.

Despite the frictions in the past, cross-Straits ties have never completely broken off, because the two sides' economies are intertwined and their residents are closely connected.

The mainland's requirement is not high; it only wants the Tsai administration to abide by the 1992 Consensus. And only when Tsai accepts "there is only one China and Taiwan is part of China" can cross-Straits talks start and ties improve.

Separatist moves isolating Taiwan

Zhu Songling, a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University

The East Asian Olympic Committee made the decision to revoke Taichung's right to host the 2019 East Asian Youth Games. The stance of the EAOC members shows they respect the one-China principle, unlike the island "separatists" who have proposed a referendum on changing the name of the island from "Chinese Taipei" to "Taiwan" at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Due to Tsai's refusal to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus and her administration's efforts to restrain people-to-people exchanges, all official cross-Straits communication has been suspended. In fact, the cross-Straits situation is the opposite of what it was during the eight years when Ma Ying-jeou of Kuomintang was the island's leader.

The DPP intends to take advantage of the Sino-US trade and strategic disputes to achieve its political goal of "Taiwan independence", which has isolated the island on the world stage.

However, desisting from further provoking Beijing-after the Taiwan Travel Act came into effect in March-Washington may not allow Tsai to use New York or Washington as the transit point for her trip to Paraguay and Belize this month nor has it raised the level of her "reception".

True, the DPP's separatist moves are a big cause for worry. But they could also strengthen the mainland's resolve to reunify Taiwan with the motherland in accordance with the anti-secession law.

The mainland stands firm in its cross-Straits policy to curb "Taiwan independence" moves, although it has issued 31 preferential policies for the benefit of Taiwan compatriots and to attract them to the mainland to seek better opportunities. Also, the supply of freshwater from Fujian to Kinmen island shows the mainland is only against the "pro-independence" moves of the Taiwan authorities, not Taiwan compatriots as a whole.

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