(TibetanReview.net, Feb28’19) – In an apparent further hardening of its position on self-ruled Taiwan, China wants any proposal for a peace deal from it to include a push for reunification, not just an endorsement of the so-called One China policy. This followed a remark from the island’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), that it could sign such a deal should it win the presidential election next year, reported Reuters Feb 27.
The report noted that while China had not broached the idea of a peace deal in years, the chairman of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang, Wu Den-yih, had said earlier this month that the party could sign a peace deal with Beijing if it won the hotly contested election.
China considers Taiwan a renegade province and has vowed to take it back, including by force if necessary while warning it not to take the fatal step of declaring independence.
Meanwhile Taiwan’s current President, Ms Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has made it clear that the island will not accept any deal that destroys its sovereignty and democracy.
The reunification condition was stated by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office while responding to the KMT’s peace agreement proposal. “As long as it benefits protecting the peace of the Taiwan Strait and increasing the peaceful development of relations, and pushes the peaceful reunification process of the motherland, it can be jointly investigated by both sides,” spokesman An Fengshan was quoted as telling a regular news briefing.
The report noted that China translated the word “tong yi” as “reunification”, but it could also be translated as “unification”, a term in English preferred by supporters of Taiwan independence who point out that Beijing’s Communist government had never ruled Taiwan and so it could not be “reunified”.
Tsai, has said she wanted to maintain the status quo, insisting that China must use peaceful means to resolve its differences with Taiwan and respect Taipei’s democratic values. But the latest condition stated by Beijing means the status quo could not be maintained for long.
The report noted that Beijing had regularly sent military aircraft and ships to circle the island on drills in the past few years and had heaped pressure on Taiwan internationally, including whittling down its few remaining diplomatic allies.
It also noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping had warned in a major new year speech that Beijing reserved the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control.