22 January 2016
With the victory of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan’s presidential election, it has been argued that the Taiwan Strait’s relative stability of the past eight years could recede.
The Economist magazine, for example, suggests that “eight years of uneasy truce across the Taiwan Strait are coming to an end”. The potential for miscalculation in the Taiwan Strait cannot be discounted, but the common belief that the cross-strait trajectory is headed towards instability as an upshot of the DPP’s election victory is overstated. Although there could be more friction between a Tsai-led Taipei and Beijing, the Taiwan Strait is unlikely to witness a return to the crisis levels of the acrimonious period under the DPP’s Chen Shui-bian, when he was president for eight years from 2000 to 2008.
For a start, today’s DPP is a considerably different political animal from Mr Chen’s DPP. Under Ms Tsai, the party’s cross-strait policy has evolved, becoming more centrist and ambiguous in its slant. Ms Tsai’s DPP is, of course, still far less welcoming to China than the historically dominant Kuomintang (KMT), but it has moved away from the brand of pro-independence adventurism that had imperiled cross-strait ties and cost Mr Chen dearly.
… Hoo Tiang Boon is an assistant professor and James Char is a research analyst with the China Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
GPO / IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 25/01/2016