Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech at the Double Ten National Day on Oct. 10, 2021.
After Communist Party leader Xi Jinping warned last week that “‘Taiwan independence’ secession” is the biggest obstacle to China’s reunification and that he would “realize the reunification of the motherland,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen gave a speech the next day that went beyond a response of “never think that the people of Taiwan will give in under pressure. After Xi Jinping warned last week that “Taiwan independence” was the biggest obstacle to China’s reunification and that he would “realize the reunification of the motherland,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in her speech the next day that she would not only respond by saying “never think that the people of Taiwan will give in under pressure,” but also make it clear that “the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China are not affiliated with each other. According to analysts, Tsai’s speech seeks a consensus on the national identity of the Taiwanese people, while also telling Beijing and the international community that Taiwan does not accept China’s narrative about Taiwan.
In his Oct. 9 speech at a conference commemorating the 110th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution, Xi reiterated that he would “realize the reunification of the motherland by peaceful means” and also stressed that “the historical task of complete reunification of the motherland must be achieved. “.
Four persistent demands for unity
In the face of Beijing’s stern warnings and the PLA’s increasing military pressure, Tsai called on the people of Taiwan and political parties to seek consensus with the spine of “consensus to resolve differences and unity to defend Taiwan” in her Double Ten speech on Sunday (Oct. 10), stressing that “party politics is bound to have competition. “However, when it comes to national dignity and the future of the people, they should be united to “guard the sovereignty and the democratic and free way of life for the generations of Taiwanese.”
Tsai Ing-wen proposed four insistence as the goal of the people of Taiwan and political parties efforts: “Therefore, we must agree with each other to always adhere to the constitutional system of freedom and democracy, adhere to the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China are not subordinate to each other, adhere to the sovereignty of the inviolable annexation, adhere to the future of the Republic of China on Taiwan, must follow the will of all the people of Taiwan. “
She also stressed that these four insist “is the bottom line given to us by the people of Taiwan, and is our greatest convention”, so both the Taiwan dynasty and the opposition must accumulate more consensus on this basis and unite to face future challenges.
On Tuesday, several scholars expressed their views on Tsai’s speech during a video discussion on Taiwan politics and U.S.-Taiwan relations at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
Syaru Shirley Lin, a visiting professor of world politics at the University of Virginia (UVA), said it was no surprise that Beijing certainly “loathed” Tsai’s speech and that some older people in Taiwan also had opinions, but Tsai took the speech so seriously that she began drafting it herself several weeks ago. In the absence of pressure to be re-elected, she intends to build on her political success and to position her party as a cautious party in line with the expectations and feelings of the people, “and from that perspective, her speech was highly appreciated, naturally, including by me.”
Using the Republic of China on Taiwan to distinguish from the Chinese Communist Party
Lin said Tsai “emphasized the ideas shared by most Taiwanese, which are the preservation of democratic values, pluralism, tolerance and, above all, autonomy. Her choice to use the term ‘Republic of China Taiwan’, while perhaps controversial, puts her right in the middle of the Taiwan electorate’s discourse on Taiwan’s statehood.”
In addition, Lin said it is important that Tsai did not run away from the long-term challenges facing Taiwan, such as energy shortages and constitutional reforms of concern to young people, in addition to issues such as vaccine access and economic growth, all of which require the people of Taiwan to overcome past divisions caused by identity issues and come together to seek a common sense of Taiwanese identity to face them in unity, “which I give I think highly of that.”
Shelley Rigger, a professor of political science at Davidson College, said that the official name used more often in the past was “Republic of China (Taiwan),” but Tsai used “Republic of China Taiwan” this time and removed the brackets to Let the “Republic of China” is equivalent to “Taiwan”.
“The idea of the People’s Republic of China is that … The use of the term ‘Taiwan’ is a move toward Taiwan’s independence, while the use of ‘Republic of China’ at least preserves the possibility that Taiwan may still have a Chinese identity. But it’s hard to make that interpretation by linking the two terms together.”
Ren said she found that Tsai repeatedly referred to China as “China” in her speeches, instead of “People’s Republic of China” or “mainland” as Taiwan’s leaders sometimes do, which is To some extent, “Taiwan” can be distinguished from the “Chinese Communist Party,” “because the People’s Republic of China has already received China in the world, so we might as well just call China by China. “
Responding to the people’s demand for the DPP to remain in power
Ren Xueli also agreed with Lin Xia Ru’s view that it is worth noting that Tsai’s speech is very sober, both internally and internationally, especially in terms of the opportunities for Taiwan to expand its international space and gain international support at this moment, and she also named many countries and international organizations, which is very impressive.
Richard Bush, former president of the American Institute in Taiwan, said he agrees with Lin Xiaru and Ren Sherry and expects Tsai to continue to make similar statements, as Taiwan will soon hold local elections, followed by the next presidential election, and as in all democracies, Tsai must respond to the people’s demands for government performance, so she will tell voters that the DPP Therefore, she has to tell voters what the DPP government has done to promote a better life for the people, as well as the benefits of policy consistency, in the hope that voters will support the DPP to stay in power.
Brazile also argued that Tsai made the same call in many of her speeches, that there is a need to seek more consensus between Taiwan’s ruling party and the opposition, because “Taiwan will not be safer if all political parties are tearing each other apart and focusing only on the shortcomings of the opposing party, yet the threat to Taiwan is not from within, but from outside.”
In a discussion at the Foreign Policy Research Institute the same day, Jacque de Lisle, a professor of law and political science at Penn State University, also addressed Tsai’s Double Ten speech, saying that what he found most striking about the speech was that Tsai was linking regional peace and security, particularly U.S. security interests in the region, to confrontation between democratic and authoritarian regimes.
Echoing Biden’s policies and rejecting the Communist narrative
He said “Tsai is playing that card very wisely,” emphasizing that authoritarian regimes are undermining the rules-based international order that has provided so many benefits to the United States and other countries over the years, echoing the Biden administration’s foreign policy principle that international relations are not an exchange of benefits but a mutually reinforcing relationship. .
In the context of this discussion about the intrusion of Chinese Communist Party military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, which has heightened tensions in the Taiwan Strait and sparked heightened international attention, Dai Jie said Tsai’s speech was meant to reject China’s narrative about Taiwan in the international community.
“It’s also to not acquiesce to the narrative that the Chinese Communist Party says Taiwan is an internal Chinese matter, a core Chinese interest, but at best a secondary U.S. peripheral interest. I think that would be a very dangerous message to send, if you’re going to do credible deterrence against it. It would also be an incorrect narrative if you believe what we were just discussing.”
He said a number of polls have shown that the numbers in favor of U.S. assistance in defending Taiwan in the event of a conflict in the Taiwan Strait are rising, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll has more than 50 percent of the American public taking that position, and while it’s also possible that the results reflect more of an American view of China than of cross-strait relations, it does have some effect on those in China who doubt or deeply question the U.S. commitment to defending Taiwan. have some effect.
In its response to Tsai’s Double Ten speech as spokesperson on October 10, the Chinese Communist Party’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that Tsai’s speech “advocates ‘Taiwan independence,’ incites confrontation, fragments history, distorts facts, and seeks to abduct people under the guise of so-called ‘consensus and unity. ‘ under the guise of trying to kidnap Taiwan’s public opinion and colluding with external forces to open eyes for her provocations for ‘independence’.”
On Wednesday, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office, said again at a regular press conference that cross-strait relations “are never ‘state-to-state’ relations, and the so-called ‘non-subordination’ is naked. The so-called ‘non-subordination’ is nakedly selling the ‘two-nation theory'”, he also said of the communist army’s training activities near Taiwan, these exercises “are aimed at ‘Taiwan independence secessionist activities and interference by external forces, with the aim of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and safeguarding the common history of compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait in a completely just manner.”
Taiwan’s Land Commission also responded to Ma Xiaoguang’s criticism of Tsai’s “trafficking in the two-nation theory” in a statement that day, saying that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are not subordinate to each other “is an objective fact and the current status quo in the Taiwan Strait.”
The statement said, “The Republic of China is a sovereign and independent country, founded 38 years before the People’s Republic of China, and has always stood firm for 110 years”. The so-called abduction of Taiwan’s public opinion by the Taiwan Affairs Office is “confusing”.