May 13, 2021

China and Taiwan, between "the stick and the carrot" but far from the distension

China and Taiwan, between "the stick and the carrot" but far from the distension



The recently concluded Popular National Assembly (ANP, Legislative) in Beijing has reaffirmed the hardened policy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, which demands the reunification of Taiwan with China under the formula of "One country, two systems" as a precondition for any dialogue with the island.

Xi has eliminated the ambiguity of earlier times that made possible the détente between Taiwan and China, which until the stage of his predecessor, Hu Jintao, only demanded that the island accept the so-called 1992 Consensus as a formula for dialogue.

"No party in Taiwan can meet the current Chinese demands, so the tensions will continue, whoever wins the Taiwanese elections of 2020," the former vice minister of the China Affairs Council Alexander Huang told Efe.

Thus, China has launched an incentive campaign to attract the island while showing its hardest side, and that island experts qualify as "carrot and stick strategy."

The demand to accept the reunification under the model applied by China in Hong Kong – which allows the British exile to enjoy certain democratic freedoms that do not exist in the mainland – makes it impossible at the moment for dialogue with the island government, but China trusts that Taiwan it will end up yielding and will accept to join before its growing economic and strategic power.

In the opening of the ANP, the prime minister, Li Keqiang, reiterated that China will "resolutely" stop any activity related to a possible "Taiwan independence".

For his part, the Chinese Minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun, warned that Beijing now has "a greater influence" and is "more capable than ever" of carrying cross-strait relations "in the right direction. correct. "

These words come after Chinese spokesmen said in February that Beijing "keeps open the door" of the dialogue with Taiwan, as long as the island helps promote reunification under the aforementioned formula of "One country, two systems."

The friendly side of Chinese policies with the island, which is based on attracting entrepreneurs and giving incentives to study and work in China, as well as aid to groups called unionists, is hardly having an impact, according to experts.

"Both incentives and intimidation have limits and we must not forget that the island now has all the American support," adds Huang.

The source assures that Washington, in commercial dispute and hegemony with China, is "the only one that can protect Taiwan" in case of a Chinese attack, according to the Law of Relations with Taiwan, of 1979.

The growing US support for Taiwan has been expressed in arms sales and laws that raise the level of ties and warnings to island allies not to go to Beijing, which has unleashed the wrath of China and "punishments" to the island.

On the other hand, island media point out that the inclusion of Taiwan, together with Hong Kong and Macao, in the new foreign investment law, approved by the ANP, "will not be so positive" for the multi-billion dollar island investments in China, which they exceed 100,000 million dollars.

Nor does Taiwan's domestic policy incentivize concessions to Beijing with an island government that, after the victory of the Kuomintang (KMT) in the local elections of November 2018, has hardened its rhetoric towards China.

In fact, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (PDP) saw her rejection of the offer of "One country, two systems" added ten percent in January to her popular support, and during the Sessions has increased its criticism of China and its defense of island independence.

Back in March, Tsai rejected "any transition agreement towards unification", defended "the 'status quo' of" sovereignty and independence "and vindicated the right of Taiwanese to democracy and the right to decide their future.

According to polls in January of this year, 80 percent of Taiwanese do not accept under any circumstances the union under the model of "One country, two systems", because they believe that it would mean the loss of autonomy and de facto independence of the who enjoy now.

Francisco Luis Pérez

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