Forum on Prospect of Cross-Strait Relations and International Trends
Turbulence characterizes both regional and international situations in 2019. Ups and downs of the US-China trade war and the US-North Korea negotiations occupied headlines on Asian main stream media. Stalemate remained in cross-Strait relationship. Situations worsen since Chinese President Xi Jinping’s redefinition of the “1992 Consensus” as “one country, two systems” in his speech on January 2, marking 40th anniversary of “Message to Taiwan Compatriots”. As 2019 year end approaches, the Institute for National Policy Research (INPR) decided to hold a seminar to review events in this year and to look forward toward the prospects of 2020. Scholars and experts were invited to speak at the Chang Yun-fa Foundation building on December 18th, 2019.
INPR Chairman and President Tien, Hung-mao, in his welcome remarks, noted the dragging negotiation between the United States and China falls to “Cool War”, defined by Harvard Professor Noah Feldman. They have engaged in an all-out rivalry of “New Cold War” since last May. Mr. Tien continued to express his gratitude to H. E. Dr. Chiu, Chui-cheng, Deputy Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council to spare his busy schedule for a keynote speech in the Forum.
With the title of “An Outlook for Cross-Strait and International situations”, the Forum contains two sessions: Versatile Situation of Taiwan Strait and the International Trends in 2020. In the first session, presided by President Tien, Mr. Hong, Yao-nan, Secretary General of the Taiwan Nextgen Foundation, spoke on the 2020 presidential election; Professor Ma, Chen-kun of National Defense University elaborated on Chinese military; and Dr. Wang, Chih-sheng, Secretary General of the Cross-Strait Policy Association, touched upon Cross-Strait relations. The second session, presided by INPR Executive General Kuo, Yu-jen, addressed international issues respectively by Dr. Liu Shih-Chung, Vice Chairman of Taiwan External Trade Development Council, Secretary General Lee, Ming-chun of Taiwan Northeastern Asia Association, and Professor Tung, Li-wen of Central Police University.
Deputy Minister Chiu elaborated Taiwan’s Cross-Strait policies and analysed future development. He urged the international society to support Taiwan to deepen democracy one the one hand and play a constructive role for maintain peace on the other. Secretary General Hong noted the Hong Kong protests instigate reflections of youth and certainly will bring enormous impact to the future of Hong Kong. As to the coming legislative election, he believed that whether or not the Taiwan People’s Party and the New Power Party reach threshold is a key indicator. Professor Ma predicted that China will restore its military reconnaissance and tactical aircraft circling on Taiwan after the 2020 elections. And China would use its civilian vessels to harass Taiwan Coast Guard patrolling ships as it did to American ships in South China Sea. Secretary Wang believed Taiwan would contemplate to adapt “balance of threat” policy as Japan cling to China in the past two years.
Dr. Liu observed that the European Union perceived Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative” economic expansion and 5 G hidden risks are future challenges. Secretary General Lee urged audience to closely watch results of the Eighth Trilateral Summit Meeting among China, Korea and Japan, to be held in Chengdu in the following week. Visits of Premier Li Keqiang to Japan in 2018 and President Xi’s possible visit next year signalize a milestone for the rapid and intense exchanges between China and Japan in recent years. Professor Tung commented that the inclusion of retired army Lieutenant General Wu Sz-huai on the Kuomintang’s legislator-at-large candidate list is an impressed performance of Chinese Taiwan Affairs Office. Executive Director Kuo predicted China’s ambition to engage in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, CPTPP after the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, RECP. Taiwan should respond accordingly so as to secure its national interest.
In the concluding remarks, President Tien analyzed the overall situation of Chinese economy and cross-Strait relationship. He argued that prospect of Chinese economy will be shadowed by its resurgent state dominance. More specifically, at present China has to address prudently on its economic issues as priorities. Domestic economic problems include national debt explosion, bank debt insolvency, real estate bubbles, youth unemployment, and declining consumption power of average families. He also reminded the strong possibility that bipartisan consensus in the United States toward China policy as to trade and other important issues would continue regardless the outcome of the forthcoming national elections.