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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion -> 
Will DPP’s victory sabotage cross-Strait stability?
    2014-12-01  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Xu Qinduo

    xuqinduo@gmail.com

    THE fiasco of the ruling KMT party in Taiwan’s district elections is seen by many as a “No” signal from the people of the island to Ma Ying-jeou’s government’s current conciliatory policy toward the mainland. If that’s the case, will the victory of the opposing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) damage peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait?

    The defeat suffered by the KMT reveals Taiwanese discontent toward the unsatisfactory status quo on the island — the growing gap between rich and poor, stagnation in wages and the lack of employment opportunities for young people. The unexpected recent food security scandals also worked against the ruling party’s candidates.

    The media tend to depict Ma as friendly to the mainland and simplify his policy as pro-mainland. But that’s far from accurate.

    It’s true that Ma advocates peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait because he understands that Taiwan wouldn’t be able to bear strains in its relations with Beijing.

    A services trade pact between Taiwan and the mainland, pending ratification, is controversial, as reflected by protests and the occupation of government buildings in March.

    But Ma’s government acts solely for the interests of Taiwan.

    Since 2008, when Ma was first elected as the island’s leader, Taiwan has strengthened trade ties with the mainland. The two sides signed multiple trade deals, including the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in 2010. Partly boosted by tariff reductions under the ECFA, Taiwan now exports 25 percent of its products to the mainland.

    In addition to a services trade pact waiting to be approved by Taiwan’s legislature, Taiwan and the mainland are also negotiating an agreement on goods trade. All of these are designed to lift Taiwan’s economy out of a state of slow growth.

    

    Can the DPP do a better job in improving people’s livelihoods? Hardly, unless they take practical steps to keep the sound relationship with the mainland on track.

    For the existing deals, the DPP will find it impossible to roll them back since they are designed to benefit Taiwan more than the mainland.

    There are even more imminent challenges for Taiwan when the mainland and South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) takes effect next year.

    According to Taiwan’s official figures, about 80 percent of their exports to the mainland market are competing with those from South Korea. An FTA between Seoul and Beijing will put Taiwan at a great disadvantage. It would be wise for Taiwan, whether under the KMT or the DPP, to forge a close relationship with the mainland in order to maintain its competitive edge.

    China is reshaping the financial landscape of Asia with a series of new business initiatives, such as Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, FTA in Asia and the Pacific, the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, etc. Taiwan needs to leap on these historic changes to avoid marginalization; it should seize upon the opportunity to inject fresh vitality into its ailing economy.

    Politically, Asian countries will frown upon any DPP moves that threaten to destroy stability in the region. Similarly, even the U.S. would not be amused if the DPP dares to rock the boat.

    With the DPP’s landslide victory, Beijing will have to deal with the pro-independence party whether they like it or not, but that doesn’t mean a total regression of the harmony across the strait unless the DPP plans to perpetuate economic stagnation and isolate Taiwan’s economy.

    (The author is a current affairs commentator with China Radio International.)

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