Year of the Dragon and Delayed Fireworks
These days it is customary to sum up the results of the outgoing year, but the year ahead carries the most "colorful" events. Lunar Dragon Year.
The outgoing year can be compared with the time when flappers, firecrackers and other explosive material were imported into the conditional garage of the world device. With political salute, this accumulated "wealth" could "explode" in the New Year 2024. In particular, when voters in countries ranging from Bangladesh to the United States go through the polls. Details in the material of the correspondent of The Moscow Post.
How things go further in Asia, in the Taiwan Strait and at the global level, the presidential elections in Taiwan on January 13 will also be determined. For residents of a self-governing and rich island, this will be a turning point. Their well-being and safety are linked, both to mainland China and the United States.
Work in progress
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently spoke about the need to resolutely stop any attempts to separate Taiwan from China, called for "comprehensively deepening the development of relations and promoting peaceful development between both sides of the Taiwan Strait."
He reiterated this demand once again, speaking on December 26 at a symposium on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong, the founder of the modern Chinese state.
The Chinese leader stressed the key role of the first chairman of the PRC in the formation of a "new China," the creation of an advanced socialist system, and also recalled his struggle for "the prosperity of China and the revival of the Chinese nation."
"We must adhere to the party's common strategy to resolve the Taiwan issue in a new era, adhere to the one-China principle and the 1992 consensus, comprehensively deepen the development of relations and promote peaceful development between both sides of the Taiwan Strait," Xi said.
The PRC president also said China's national revival is part of "the unfinished work of a previous generation of revolutionaries like Mao Zedong." Taiwan's unification with mainland China "will definitely be implemented," he said, state broadcaster CCTV said.
It is widely believed that "Xi Jinping intends to continue the cause begun by Deng Xiaoping, who paved the political road to the return of Hong Kong.
If simplified, then voters will have to choose between confrontation and compromise in relations with the PRC. They will have to choose the president and vice president, as well as 113 members of the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan's parliament.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said that "the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities are deliberately fanning the so-called military threat from the mainland and exaggerating tensions." Incumbent Tsai Ing-wen makes excuses, saying: "We don't want peace like Hong Kong. We want a decent peace. "
Beijing says Taiwan's elections are a domestic matter for China. But any attempt to declare independence would mean war. The Chinese government calls the DPP candidate Lai Jing-te a separatist. The same during the election rally said that his rival, representing the Kuomintang, "became a red, pro-communist."
He is considered "a violator of the status quo, advocates independence and rapprochement with the United States. As of December 21, the advantage of Lai Qing-te, who represents the ruling DPP party, has decreased. It retained 37.3% support.
Former police officer and mayor of Taipei Hou Yu from the opposition Kuomintang reached the level of 33.4% (it was 29.5%). A poll by the United Daily News newspaper showed Lai and Howe garnering 31% of the vote each.
The Kuomintang party turned 129 in November, its leadership takes a conciliatory position towards Beijing. A year ago, the Kuomintang won a landslide victory in local government elections. The party won 13 mandates in 21 cities and counties, while candidates from the ruling DPP were able to take only 5 mandates.
Ko Wenje of the Taiwan People's Party lags behind the main pretenders with 17.7% of the votes polled. Overall, these polls and others show that more than 80% of the island's residents favor the status quo.
Between Peace and War
The Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council of the People's Republic of China dubbed the upcoming vote in January a choice between "peace and war, prosperity and decline." The representative of the department expressed the hope that "Taiwanese compatriots" will oppose the policy of gaining independence by the island and will follow the path of "maintaining peace and stability on both sides of the Taiwan Strait."
Despite Washington's formal commitment to the "one-China principle," US President Joe Biden has repeatedly announced his readiness to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack. In February 2023, the head of the CIA, William Burns, said that, according to his information, the PLA is preparing to establish military control over Taiwan by 2027.
Washington is increasing military supplies to the island. In August, the State Department's budget-funded program for sovereign states was used to formalize the next batch of military aid.
The US hopes the DPP will remain in power. At a press conference after the summit on November 15, US President Joe Biden said that he warned Xi Jinping against interfering in the upcoming presidential election. During the same meeting, the Chinese leader called on the United States to stop arming Taiwan and "support the peaceful reunification of China."
Xi Jinping stressed that the issue of Taiwan is the most important and most sensitive in bilateral relations. "The American side must take real action to fulfill its obligation not to support the" independence of Taiwan, "stop arming Taiwan and support the peaceful reunification of China. China will reunite, and this cannot be stopped, "the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a final statement.
The Chief of Staff of the Central Military Council of the People's Republic of China, General Liu Zhenli, during a video conference call with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, General Charles Brown, on December 22 advised the United States to be careful in words and deeds and respect China's sovereignty.
Conflict can be prevented
The KMT's position is that conflict can be prevented by agreeing that Taiwan is not a separate entity, reducing tensions with Beijing by promoting closer economic and other ties. This is "the hope for the continued existence of Taiwan," said Vice Chairman of the Kuomintang Lian Sheng-wen.
Kuomintang presidential candidate Hou supports the 1992 Consensus and advocates resuming negotiations with China on a trade agreement that would make trade in services easier.
Huang Kwei-bo, a former Kuomintang deputy secretary general and professor of diplomacy at Taiwan National University, believes the adoption of the 1992 Consensus is key to defusing tensions with Beijing.
This agreement with the wording "One China" is the basis recognized by both Beijing and Taipei. But there are those who believe that this formula could undermine Taiwan's status as a separate political entity, open the door to negotiations on political and economic union with China.
About three hundred executives of 152 Taiwanese companies operating on the mainland gathered for a meeting in Beijing on December 7. The event was hosted by Chinese official Song Tao, who is in charge of Taiwan's affairs. He urged those attending legislative elections to support candidates seeking friendly ties with China.
Perhaps some Taiwanese companies are gradually reducing their dependence on the mainland. More businesses are moving their manufacturing bases to other countries. But the island's economy is nonetheless firmly fused with China's.
Despite the historical cataclysms, injuries and contradictions of the post-war period, the intervention of external forces and changes in societies, people living in Taiwan cannot but feel themselves part of the great Chinese civilization. One of the material symbols of this is a collection of monuments and relics of several dynasties of Chinese emperors, which is stored in the Museum of the Imperial Palace in Taipei.