People’s Republic of China (PRC) announced on Thursday it would only give its support to the pro-China candidate of the ruling Nationalist Party (NP) in Taiwan and dismiss independence-seeker candidate in the upcoming election in January.
Two women candidates, one from the incumbent nationalists which the Beijing leadership favours and the other from the pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), are expected to shape political contest in Taiwan, what was known once as “the Nationalist China.”
Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the pro-independence DPP, will run for presidency against deputy parliamentary speaker Hung Hsiu-chu from the nationalists who still consider China as a “big brother", but abstaining from a full commitment to the mainland’s "one China policy."
The NP’s executive board approved Hung’s presidential nomination on Wednesday, a move was warmly welcomed by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Taiwan Affairs Office.
The Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said he had "noted" the announcement about Hung’s nomination, but added, "We do not get involved in, or comment on, the Taiwan election," according to the Chinese official Xinhua news agency that quoted him in a brief statement.
"We welcome any Taiwan party or person as long as they oppose Taiwan independence, recognize the 1992 consensus and promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations," Ma added in the Xinhua statement.
Taiwan has been one of the most insurmountable issues with that the PRC had to cope since its foundation on Oct. 1, 1949 at a time when the Chinese nationalist forces (Kuomintang/ KMT) retreated from the mainland to the island where they established a nationalist republic under Chiang Kai-shek.
Beijing still considers Taiwan as part of the mainland within the 1992 Consensus which accepts one China principle, but its interpretation differentiates according to the PRC and Taiwan, which is also called as the Republic of China (ROC) by the Beijing’s communist leadership.
Hung has previously declared her China-friendly stance as she publicly said her leadership would like to sign a peace treaty with Beijing to ease the tension between the two China(s).
China expects from the opposition candidate Tsai to clarify her position regarding the Taiwan’s unilateral independence from the mainland since she was known to have been refusing to accept the proposed One China principle as a basis of the bilateral relations.
As much as the voting time approaches, China is expected to increase political pressure over the Taiwanese domestic affairs, particularly after Tsai visited the United States at the very beginning of this month.
Tsai reassured the US officials about that if she comes to power in January, she would not revive the tension with China which had warned her against “engaging in activities promoting the island's independence" before the US visit.
The US has no longer diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite it is the leading arms supplier to Taipei, a move that has long been annoying Beijing.
The US battle carriers were sent to the Taiwan Strait during the 1996-1997 missile crisis to defend the island against a possible Chinese invasion since the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has claimed the island as its own and viewed it as a renegade province, to be bought under its control by force if necessary.
The US administration has never recognised the CCP government in the mainland China as a sovereign Chinese state until 1972 when then-US president Richard Nixon visited Beijing as a result of “ping pong diplomacy” that had enabled the Sino-American rapprochement.
A Wednesday poll indicated that a possible win for Tsai seems very likely as the conducted survey measured a 50.2 percent in favour of her instead of Hung, whose support just trailed at 29.3 percent, according to the Cross-Strait Policy Association.
Since Taiwan's incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008, cross-strait enmity has considerably declined and Taipei has signed a number of trade and investment deals with Beijing, although deep reciprocal suspicions have been maintained in the lack of political dialogue.
The PRC has long been suffering from ethnic separatist causes in Tibet and Xinjiang in the west and to some extent in Inner Mongolia in the north as much as the Taiwan issue.
The CCP has pledged to reunify Taiwan with the mainland as well as not to allow to the ethnic separatism for the sake of China’s territorial integrity and its own legitimacy problem which has been emerging since the Tiananmen events of 1989 to the current Hong Kong demonstrations.