What will Beijing do next to squeeze Taiwan in the run-up to the presidential election?

Mainland China has a number of cards it can play to try to influence the island but they risk undermining its interests

South China Morning Post
Date: 11 Aug, 2019
By: Sarah Zheng  

With the countdown already under way to Taiwan’s presidential election, Beijing has embarked on a campaign of its own.

In the past few weeks, it has suspended permits for individual travellers  from 47 mainland Chinese cities to visit the island, halted mainland participation in Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards , and mounted large-scale military drills  near the Taiwan Strait.

The actions reflect Beijing’s opposition to the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party.

Tsai will again be the DPP’s candidate in the election in January and Beijing still has more ways – from economic to military options – to put pressure on the ruling party and draw attention to the decline in cross-strait relations in the last four years. But analysts also warn that such action risks backfiring and increasing support for Tsai.

The strains in relations between Beijing and Taipei are in sharp contrast to those under the previous administration of Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou from the mainland-friendly Kuomintang (KMT). During Ma’s tenure, Beijing and Taipei signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which lowered tariffs on the mainland for Taiwanese businesses.    [FULL  STORY]

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