Aug 02, 2010

Taiwan: Region Worried by Beijing’s Increasing Efforts at Unification

China is on the charm offensive in Taiwan and with the recent warming of relations has entered a tug of war for Taiwan with the U.S and its allies but regional powers are fearful of what a Chinese Taiwan may mean.  

Below is an article published by Focus Taiwan News Organisation; 

China's Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said last Friday [date] that with the establishment of military security and mutual trust across the Taiwan Strait, the mainland and Taiwan can discuss anything, even China's withdrawal of missiles, under the one-China principle.

The one-China principle is not recognized, in any way, in Taiwan. The legislators of the ruling and opposition parties all agree on this. It was the first time that Beijing made such a suggestion, and its interest in having that discussion has pricked the curiosity of sensitive observers of China affairs.

Why is Beijing so eager to raise this topic? It could be because of an internal factor -- the expiry of Hu Jintao's presidency in 2012 and his desire to leave a legacy of Taiwan's unification with China. With this in mind, Beijing may be worrying about a possible change of government in Taiwan and thinking it should inject political issues into cross-Taiwan Strait relations during Ma Ying-jeou presidency.

Internationally, China is also feeling pressure as result of recent developments. With the end of the honeymoon period between U.S. President Barack Obama and China, the differences between the two sides have become even more obvious. The reports of China's growing influence have caused worry and fear among Southeast Asian countries, and they hope the U.S. will remain as a counterbalancing force in the region.

On the other hand, China is anxious to make a breakthrough in the island chain in the West Pacific. Beijing may find it easier to ally with Taiwan than with Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines or India against the U.S. With Taiwan neutralized, China would stand a better chance of breaking the blockade. If it achieves unification with Taiwan, China would reap even bigger strategic rewards. Forcing Taiwan to accept the one-China principle is a means of getting Taiwan to take China's side