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Reunification the only way out for Taiwan

By Tang Yonghong | China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-19 07:56

Photo taken on July 21, 2019 from Xiangshan Mountain shows the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, Taiwan. [Photo/Xinhua]

Tensions across the Straits have risen because of strained relations between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan and the United States' continuous interference in the Taiwan question. And the shift in the balance of power of the three parties will determine what the situation across the Taiwan Straits is likely to be in the future.

Taiwan authorities have changed their stance on reunification in recent years possibly because, judging by the recent election results, the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party seems to have gained the upper hand over the pro-reunification Kuomintang. Due to the DPP's efforts to rewrite history and its de-Sinicization measures, some Taiwan residents may have jumped onto its pro-independence bandwagon, but the DPP will not succeed in its designs.

Sino-US relations, too, have worsened, because the US sees China's rise as a sign of its decline. That's why it has been using the "Taiwan card" as a bargaining chip to check China's rise and maintain its global hegemony.

These developments have emboldened the DPP authorities to make increasingly aggressive moves against the mainland. To advance its political agenda of "Taiwan independence", the DPP refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus that there is only one China, and is colluding with anti-Beijing forces, the US in particular, to target the mainland, thus hindering cross-Straits exchanges.

The DPP's hostile policies and attitude toward the mainland have changed cross-Straits contradictions from those among the people to those between ourselves and the enemy-reunification or division of the country.

Since the DPP is undermining the core interests of the Chinese nation in terms of territory, sovereignty, security, and development, Beijing has to take countermeasures, including reducing the scope of foreign help for the pro-independence forces on the island and reinforcing cross-Straits security to neutralize the DPP's evil plans.

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be held this year, so will the "nine-in-one" local elections in Taiwan and midterm elections in the United States. US President Joe Biden is expected to take a harder line on Beijing to garner as many votes as possible to win the midterm elections while the DPP will continue to leverage public opinion on the island and take full advantage of the Sino-US conflicts to win the island's local elections.

Yet the Taiwan Straits is widely expected to remain relatively peaceful in 2022, because despite their strategic rivalry, the US and China share many common interests, and Biden has reiterated that the US upholds the one-China principle and pledged not to support "Taiwan independence". And since the two major powers possess nuclear weapons, military means is not a good option to resolve thorny issues like the Taiwan question.

Given Beijing's military edge in the Straits, Washington may continue to display strategic ambiguity, in order to help Taiwan strengthen its self-defense capability but will not send troops to the island in case war were to break out.

Besides, the DPP's pro-independence stance and collusion with foreign forces have dealt a big blow to cross-Straits relations, and turned Taiwan into "the most dangerous place on Earth". Opinion polls show Taiwan residents are growingly unhappy with the DPP because of worsening cross-Straits ties. So, to win the local elections, the DPP authorities, too, may take a step back from "Taiwan independence".

The mainland firmly believes that peaceful reunification of the country is in the best interests of the Chinese nation including Taiwan compatriots. That's why Beijing upholds the one-China principle and "one country, two systems", a political blueprint which was originally created to resolve the Taiwan question peacefully.

Despite some resistance to reunification on the island and collusion between Taiwan secessionists and anti-China forces, the mainland continues to exercise utmost restraint. In fact, Beijing has been trying different means to promote peaceful reunification while issuing stern warnings to external forces not to interfere in the internal affairs of the country.

Of course, the DPP will try to deepen relations, covertly or otherwise, with the US, which in turn will continue to play the "Taiwan card" to check China's rise. But all their efforts will come naught.

The mainland's determination and strength to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity should never be underestimated. Separatists will never succeed in dividing the country, because reunification is the only way out.

The author is deputy director of the Taiwan Research Center at Xiamen University.

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

If you have a specific expertise and would like to contribute to China Daily, please contact us at opinion@chinadaily.com.cn, and comment@chinadaily.com.cn.


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