Oct 05, 2011

Taiwan: Tsai Vows Country Will Be Led by Its People, Not By China

Tsai Ing-Wen, a presidential candidate, emphasizes that the country should only enter into transparent relations which respect its democratic policies, rather than those that favour economic benefits.  

Below is an article by Taiwan News:

Taiwan presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen said that while she is willing to work with China if elected, the island’s future will be determined by its inhabitants and not its cross-strait neighbor.

“Any precondition for dialogue across the Strait that is not transparent and not in line with the democratic consensus of the Taiwanese people will not be sufficient to deal with the complexities of the relationship,” Tsai, head of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, said in a speech today in Tokyo. “I am willing to work with the leaders of Beijing to seek a mutually beneficial, wise, and responsible way to move forward.”

Tsai, 55, is on a three-day visit to Tokyo, where she has discussed economic ties with Japan and claims to disputed islands. She said Japan’s alliance with the U.S. is important for regional stability, while adding that China’s military intentions are “not entirely transparent.”

Taiwan will hold presidential elections on Jan. 14 [2012] and Tsai is the island’s first female nominee. She helped pen the “state- to-state relations” doctrine for former President Lee Teng-hui in 1999 that led China to brand him “a rat” and “the sinner of 1,000 years,” and cut off dialogue with the island.

“There is no doubt that the Chinese are watching our elections closely,” Tsai said. “In the past, attempts to intervene in our elections have backfired.”

China regards Taiwan as an integral part of its territory and has pledged to take it back by force if necessary. President Ma Ying-jeou, who heads the Kuomintang party that fought China’s communists six decades ago, reversed the DPP’s pro-independence stance when he took office in 2008. Taiwan has since signed 15 economic agreements with the mainland in a policy that Tsai has said is “boxed in a frame set by China.”

Ma is preferred by 46 percent of voters, according to a poll published Sept. 30 by the TVBS Poll Center. Tsai received support from 38 percent of those surveyed, the Taipei-based poll center said in an e-mail. TVBS polled 1,668 adults from Sept. 26 to Sept. 28, with a 2.4 percent margin of error.

Tsai has pledged that her China policies would reflect the consensus of the island’s voters, saying in August that the “status quo” should be sustained if she wins in January. While the DPP views Taiwan as independent from China, “the biggest consensus among Taiwanese people is to keep the status quo,” she said at the time.

Ma’s policies run the risk of “making political concessions in exchange for economic benefits,” Tsai, a former vice premier who has a doctorate in law from the London School of Economics, said in a speech on Feb. 23. Tsai served as the head of the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan’s top China policymaking agency, from 2000 to 2004.