Three Major Reported Trends
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
October 22, 2013
Summary: Changes on the
Mainland and changes in Sino-US relations have taken place. The
Mainland's Taiwan policy also shows signs of change. Xi Jinping spoke
during the "Siew Xi Meeting." He said "The cross-Strait political divide
cannot be passed down endlessly from generation to generation." After
meeting with United States Secretary of State John Kerry, Wang Yi said
the "Taiwan issue remains within the realm of control." These two
statements indicate unprecedented Mainland confidence regarding
cross-Strait relations. We on Taiwan must think carefully. When the
Mainland's comprehensive national strength can no longer be denied, when
the balance of power in US-China relations changes, how will we on
Full text below:
Most of the daily news is trivial. Most people are not interested in keeping up with it. They skim it and forget what they just read. But some developments that fail to attract public attention may have fatal consequences. They are like continuously dripping water that over time even cuts through stone. By the time people become aware of it, it is often too late to do anything about it.
Three recent reported trends are like this. They appear to be nearly irreversible. They may well determine Taiwan's fate. The public should pay attention and attempt to understand.
Since World War II, the US led nations in the first island chain of East Asia have remained in a standoff with the PRC and the former USSR. The ROC, the United States, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines have maintained an essentially stable strategic cooperative relationship. But in recent years the rise of Mainland China has led to structural changes. U.S. dominance in Asia has gradually diminished. In late 2011, while visiting Hawaii, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a keynote speech entitled, "The 21st Century will be America's Pacific Century." She declared that the United States would create a "Trans-Pacific System" in the Asian Pacific region, and continue to play a central role. Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta added that the United States has decided to strengthen its military presence in the Asian Pacific region, in order to prevent growing Mainland China military power from affecting U.S. vital interests in the region. The United States began promoting its "Return to Asia" policy. During his second term Obama renamed this the " Asian Rebalancing Policy."
The U.S. national debt crisis continues to worsen. The US federal government farcically shut down for 16 days. Next February 7, the total U.S. debt will be close to 18 trillion dollars. The US federal government will face yet another shutdown. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel could not resist complaining. The prolonged U.S. debt crisis has undermined Asian-Pacific nations' confidence in the U.S. Obama even stayed away from the APEC Leadership Conference in Indonesia. Mainland Chinese President Xi Jinping dominated.
Leaders in Beijing are using hard and soft diplomacy, as well as a policy of "friendship, security, and prosperity" to counter the U.S. Return to Asia strategy. Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang took advantage of separate visits to Indonesia, Vietnam, and other countries. In particular, they are using the construction of the Sino-Vietnamese Railroad to establish a consensus and kickstart Sino-Vietnamese maritime, onshore, and financial cooperation. Li Keqiang's success prompted Vietnam to adopt a more balanced posture between the two powers
South Korea recently declared publicly that it would not join the U.S. missile defense system. President Park Geun-hye proposed a new strategic "Eurasian Program." He hopes to strengthen cooperation between China and Russia and other neighboring countries. The Indian Defense Ministry has publicly rejected the establishment of U.S. military bases in India. At the 2013 National Day ceremonies, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered his address in Chinese for the very first time. This reflected Singapore's desire to strike a balance between the United States and Mainland China. Vietnam, Korea, India, and Singapore have made their choices. These choices will have a significant impact on strategic competition in Sino-US relations.
The second major trend involves the Third Plenary Session of the CCP Central Committee. It will trumpet Mainland China's economic and social reforms. The outcome of the session will determine the fate of the Chinese mainland for the next 10 years. It will undoubtedly affect the future of Taiwan. According to CCP protocol, the Third Plenary Session of the CCP Central Committee is held one year after the new leadership takes over. The session often announces major changes in the party's path. Mainland China has already taken on a very different look under the leadership of Xi and Li than it did under the leadership of Hu and Wen. The social atmosphere has also changed. Xi and Li have launched major anti -corruption campaigns. They have returned to the traditional values of the Chinese Communist Party. They have demonstrated self-confidence and strength toward the outside world. They have already won considerable public support. They have created an atmosphere of unity. They have create conditions favorable to the successful convening of the Third Plenary Session and the smooth passage of their proposals.
The Third Plenary Sesson cannot of course merely go through the motions. To be successful, Xi and Li must pass their plans for reform. As we all know, the CCP must undergo reform. Only reform can ensure Mainland China's sustained economic and social development. But reforms will affect vested interests. They will inevitably lead to revolt. Xi and Li must obtain sufficient public support. Only then can they resist vested interests.
Xi and Li have adopted an "economics turns right, politics turns left" strategy. The Third Plenary Session reform plans will focus on economics. We hope they will promote a market economy, financial liberalization, and internationalization. We hope they will foster private enterprise and micro-enterprises, promote tax reform, and reduce taxes. Political reform will be limited to administrative reforms, such as reduced government functions. The courts will no longer be monopolized by local leaders. Both economic and administrative reforms must overcome enormous political obstacles. Xi and Li have built up a considerable head of steam. Will they finally be able to implement their reforms? That remains hard to say. But Mainland China will surely undergo change.
The third major trend pertains to cross-Strait relations. Changes on the Mainland and changes in Sino-US relations have taken place. The Mainland's Taiwan policy also shows signs of change. Xi Jinping spoke during the "Siew Xi Meeting." He said "The cross-Strait political divide cannot be passed down endlessly from generation to generation." After meeting with United States Secretary of State John Kerry, Wang Yi said the "Taiwan issue remains within the realm of control." These two statements indicate unprecedented Mainland confidence regarding cross-Strait relations. We on Taiwan must think carefully. When the Mainland's comprehensive national strength can no longer be denied, when the balance of power in US-China relations changes, how will we on Taiwan cope?
中國時報 本報訊 2013年10月22日 04:09