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China Daily Global / 2024-05 / 30 / Page012

Lai's pursuit of 'independence' will hit a wall

By Wang Shushen | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-05-30 00:00

In his inauguration speech on May 20, Lai Ching-te, the new Taiwan island administrative head, used cunning language to hide his pro-independence stance only to expose his true color as a propagator of "Taiwan independence".

His pro-independence stance is a natural extension of his extreme political views and policy positions. But despite claiming to represent all Taiwan residents, Lai could not help the Democratic Progressive Party win a majority in the island's legislative elections earlier this year, meaning he will face greater challenges from the opposition.

Lai has refused to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus that there is only one China, and he is one of the few politicians who openly calls himself a "pragmatic worker for Taiwan independence". He is infamous for being a stubborn, arrogant politician, insular in decision-making. During his election campaign, Lai publicly said that if he could enter the White House as the "president of Taiwan", he would have achieved his political goal, revealing his pro-independence aspirations.

He has also asserted that he will never change his stance on "Taiwan independence". As a result, rational and pragmatic scholars and political analysts on the island have predicted that cross-Taiwan Strait ties during the Lai administration will be more turbulent and confrontational than they were during Tsai Ing-wen's tenure, which could trigger a bigger crisis across the Strait.

Moreover, Lai's frequent claims of "maintaining the status quo" are nothing but rhetoric. The status quo is that both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan are part of one China and Taiwan is an integral part of China. But these facts are not part of Lai's political vocabulary, which is evidenced from his inauguration speech that exposed him as an "independence-seeking" troublemaker.

In response to Lai's provocations, the mainland has taken legitimate countermeasures. On May 23-24, for example, the People's Liberation Army conducted naval exercises around Taiwan to show it is capable of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, sending a clear message that it will prevent "Taiwan independence" at all costs. The Chinese government and people will never allow the DPP authorities to split Taiwan from the motherland.

The naval drills also sent a message to the international community that Beijing will not tolerate any external interference in the Taiwan question.

Looking ahead, cross-Strait talks are not likely to resume in the near future, and the "fragile peace" across the Strait could give way to a real crisis or conflict due to the provocative actions of Lai and his ilk on the island.

Following Japan's unconditional surrender in 1945 which ended World War II, the then Chinese government assumed the sovereignty over Taiwan island. In 1949, the People's Republic of China succeeded the previous government as the sole legitimate representative of the whole of China. China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, including its sovereignty over Taiwan, have not changed. Hence, if the separatist forces on the island push for "Taiwan independence", the mainland would be justified in using force to reunify the island with the motherland.

The mainland is determined to resolve the Taiwan question in order to realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and has both the determination and capability to remove every obstacle on the road to achieving that goal.

If Lai continues to curry favor with the United States in his quest to purchase more arms, refuses to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus, and seeks "Taiwan independence" with the help of external support, the mainland will take appropriate countermeasures. The Chinese Ministry of Defense has made it clear that for every provocation by the separatists on the island, the countermeasures will become more severe, ultimately achieving national reunification.

Beijing firmly opposes the internationalization of the Taiwan question. And despite Lai's desperate attempts to seek external support to realize his evil design, very few countries are willing to endorse "Taiwan independence".

The UN has reiterated that Taiwan is a province of China. The universality of the one-China principle is unquestionable, and support within the international community for China's national rejuvenation is growing, making it impossible for Lai to realize his evil pursuit of "Taiwan independence".




The author is deputy head of the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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