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2012年1月18日 (水)


--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 16
EDITORIAL: Taiwan’s voters show reserved support for expansion of China ties

"In Taiwan’s presidential election on Jan. 14, voters gave qualified support, not unconditional approval, to expanded ties with China. That probably best sums up the election outcome.

Incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou of the ruling Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) won re-election, defeating Tsai Ing-wen, head of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

China-Taiwan relations soured markedly during the previous government of the DPP.

Ma was first elected president four years ago by promising to mend ties with China.

Ma implemented a series of steps to deliver on his pledge.
He launched regular direct flights between Taiwan and China, lifted a ban on visits by mainland Chinese and struck an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement for free cross-strait trade.

Ma, declaring his election victory while being pelted by a pouring rain, stressed that the expansion of Taiwan’s economic ties and trade with China during his first term had strong voter support.
He pledged to continue his China policy for the next four years.

Indeed, relations between China and Taiwan have been on a roll recently.

Mainland tourists visiting Taiwan now outnumber Japanese visitors.
Chinese students are beginning to come to the island to study.

The current state of the cross-strait relationship is a far cry from what it was 16 years ago when Beijing tried to intimidate Taiwan by test-firing missiles during a presidential election.

Even so, China still keeps ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan and is expanding its naval power around the island.  しかし、台湾に照準を合わせた弾道ミサイルを中国は配備したままだし、台湾周辺での海軍力も増強している。

The current stability in Sino-Taiwanese relations is as fragile as a glass sculpture and far from what constitutes true peace.

That’s why there is still strong, deep-rooted wariness about unification among Taiwanese, as indicated by the fact that Ma’s poll ratings dropped immediately after he talked about a peace treaty with China during the election campaign.

The Communist Party of China and the government in Beijing issued an unusual statement following Ma’s re-election, expressing hope for “opening of a new phase of peaceful development of the relationship” and “striving together for a great resurgence of the Chinese race.”
The move clearly reflected China’s enthusiasm about starting political dialogue with Taiwan as a step toward eventual unification.

But the Taiwanese people are not interested in such political dialogue.

Ma needs to tread carefully on this issue.

Beijing, if it really wants political dialogue with the island, should demonstrate its sincerity by taking steps to build a peaceful and favorable environment for cross-strait talks, such as removing the missiles aimed at Taiwan.
We sincerely hope the new Chinese leadership that will be elected in the party convention this autumn will make serious efforts to improve the diplomatic climate for political talks with Taiwan.

For her part, Tsai fared better than the DPP’s candidate for the previous presidential election in terms of the percentage of votes garnered against the total poll. But her failure to offer concrete proposals to tackle key policy issues, like the relationship with China, growing economic inequity among Taiwanese people and employment, was her undoing.

Nevertheless, we applaud Tsai for not inflaming tension during the election campaign, which often happened in the past. This gave the impression that democracy in Taiwan has matured.

In mainland China, the people are still denied the right to vote in democratic elections. Yet, they showed tremendous interest in Taiwan’s election through Internet postings and other forms of online expression.

We hope they will learn more about democracy through Taiwan's experience.

Although Taiwan has no formal diplomatic relationship with Japan, Taiwanese sentiment toward Japan is very friendly. This can be seen by the size of Taiwan’s donation to help victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Its 17 billion yen (about $213 million) topped all other foreign donations.

Japan must respond to the goodwill shown by the Taiwanese people by enhancing its ties with the island through steps like concluding a free trade agreement.


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« 日本の指導者―政治の根幹変える覚悟を | トップページ | 「大阪都」構想 自治再生への将来像を示せ »