Tag Archives: KMT

“Sunflower” occupation stymies China/Taiwan rapprochement

Manthorpe B&WInternational affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe writes in today’s column:

It was only a matter of time before the efforts by Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou to improve relations with Beijing came up against the brutal truth that the vast majority of the island’s 23 million people do not want to be part of China.

Many Taiwanese have watched with increasing unease as Ma, elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, has chipped away at the walls of animosity carrying over from China’s civil war in 1949 when the Kuomintang (KMT) government fled to the island after defeat by Mao Zedong’s Communists.

Ma first oversaw the establishment of direct trade and communication links between Taiwan and China. Then, in 2010, Beijing and Taipei agreed on a basic free trade pact called the Economic Co-operation and Framework Agreement (ECFA).

Ordinary Taiwanese, however, have seen little benefit from the ECFA, which many see as allowing Beijing to dominate the island’s economy in furtherance of China’s ultimate aim of taking political control of the country, by force if necessary.

The tipping point — the bridge too far across the Taiwan Strait — came on March 18 after the KMT cut off debate in parliament, the Legislative Yuan, on a bill to enact an extension of the ECFA into service sectors such as banking, publishing, health services, tourism and construction …

Log in to read today’s column:  Student protest stalls Taiwan-China rapprochement. (Subscription or day pass required*)

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Putin’s playbook, Taiwan protests, and China’s ambition

Manthorpe B&W

Jonathan Manthorpe

Beijing claims to own Taiwan and its 23 million people, writes international affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. Amid the student occupation of Taiwan’s parliament, it takes little imagination to construct a chain of events in which the students’ action cascades to a point where China’s leader, Xi Jinping, decides to emulate Russian President Vladmir Putin over Crimea — and press home China’s claim. Meanwhile the Western capitals, that profess to be driven by democratic impulses, have become disturbingly and dangerously inconsistent in their reactions to people power protests. An excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column: 

At the moment, that is unlikely. But events in the human story have a habit of rushing downhill, gathering momentum as they go.

And a Chinese take-over of Taiwan would make Putin’s annexation of Crimea look like a tea party. Not only would Taiwanese resist, but Beijing’s acquisition of Taiwan would dramatically alter the strategic balance in Asia, to the alarm of Washington and all China’s neighbours, especially Japan.

The response by the United States and its allied democracies to “People Power” uprisings against established governments has become more and more confused and inconsistent since the first modern outbreak of this phenomenon in the Philippines in 1986….

Log in to read the column, Taiwan’s People Power protest is Beijing’s Crimea moment.  ($1 site day pass or subscription required*)

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Agence France-Presse posted a video of the Taiwan student protest:


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Take China’s threats against Taiwan seriously

This time, the world should pay attention to China’s threatening approach to Taiwan, warns Jonathan Manthorpe in his international affairs column today. An excerpt:

Xi Jinping is not the first modern Chinese leader to threaten the island nation of Taiwan with invasion if they do not soon agree to hand their sovereignty to the Beijing regime. 

Indeed, it has become a necessary ritual for Chinese leaders to establish their patriotic credentials by reiterating Beijing’s claim to own the island and its 23 million people.

Usually these pronouncements appear to be largely for domestic consumption, taking no account of the fact Taiwan has been an independent nation since 1949, and has made the difficult transition from a one-party state under martial law to a functional, boisterous democracy.

 Beijing has sometimes gone further than rhetorical bluster. In 1996 China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fired unarmed missiles into the sea on the approaches to Taiwan’s main ports, as the island’s people prepared to vote in their first free and fair presidential elections.

But context is everything in such matters.

The column is available with a $1 day pass for the entire site, or by subscription.



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