Taiwan’s geopolitical circumstances confer very particular meaning to its social and political life, but other, less internationally prominent issues hold real substance for the Taiwanese people.
The News Lens
By: Mark Harrison
The landslide election of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) from the Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) in January 2016 was not a surprise in terms of the vicissitudes of a democracy, but it took on significance in the context of cross-Strait and U.S.-China relations. The Taiwanese elected a government that has declined to acquiesce to the so-called 1992 Consensus and one that has questioned the role of business and party political interests in the period of “cross-Strait rapprochement” under the previous government. In response, Beijing has sought to squeeze Taiwan’s international space and limited its own contact with Taipei.
The phone call between Tsai and the newly elected U.S. President Donald Trump in November gave the Taiwanese rare international legitimacy. It also greatly irritated Beijing and threatened to reduce the Taiwanese to a gambit by the Trump administration in the new era of U.S.-China relations. For China, Taiwan’s status is simply non-negotiable. [FULL STORY]