On October 9, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated his determination to achieve cross-strait reunification in a peaceful manner, while Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with CNBC host Hadley Gamble on October 13, said that China, as a major economic power and the world’s largest in terms of purchasing power parity, does not need to use force and there is no threat of military conflict in the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese government has already surpassed the United States to become the world’s number one country in terms of purchasing power, and there is no need to use force.
By increasing its economic potential, China can achieve its national goals and I don’t see any threats.
Vladimir Putin, speaking at the international forum ‘Russia Energy Week 2021’
In contrast to Putin’s relatively ‘optimistic’ view, the Western media have recently been very nervous about the situation in the Taiwan Strait. For example, in an article titled “Taiwan’s Critical Moment Draws Near” published in the Financial Times on 11 November, it was pointed out that for decades the question of whether the US would fight for Taiwan had been rather abstract, but now the question has become more and more urgent; the New York Times also titled “US and China Enter Dangerous Territory Because of Taiwan” on 9 September, pointing out that Taiwan has become the core of the increasingly divergent and confrontational relationship between the US and China, describing The New York Times also pointed out that Taiwan has become the core of the growing disagreement and confrontation between the US and China, describing the relationship between China, the US and Taiwan as lacking an insulating body, which could lead to war if touched.
If we look at the overall strength of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, perhaps, as Putin suggests, the time advantage is on the mainland’s side in all respects, and its toolbox of policies towards Taiwan is so large that it is possible to proceed with a full-scale unification exercise at its pace, without the immediate need to attack Taiwan by force. However, the warnings of the Western media are not without merit, because even if Beijing has patience and a plan, there are always various factors that make the situation unpredictable, including the US intervention in the Taiwan Strait, and Taiwan’s democracy is also a risk factor.
The political scene in Taiwan has been very heated recently, as a serious spat broke out between KMT legislator Zheng Liwen and Su Zhenchang on October 12 at a questioning session, with the two sides battling back and forth in the Legislative Yuan.
The two sides battled back and forth in the Legislative Yuan. Cheng asked Su whether Taiwan should pursue the development of nuclear submarines, but Su did not answer at first. Do you want to surrender?” Cheng Li-wen directly rebuked, “The first one to surrender is you, and the second one is Tsai Ing-wen”, and Su Chen-chang was so angry that he yelled, “I won’t be as shameless as you are! The government has also been calling for an apology from Su.
Tsai Ing-wen issued an article in support of Su, stating that Zheng Liwen’s question was “an emotional one”, while the Kuomintang criticised Su for his incompetence and demanded an apology and stepping down.
The farce doesn’t stop there. After a hit-and-run conviction was revealed against Ki Progressive Party (KPP) legislator Chen Baiwei, his removal from office was in jeopardy. Chen Baiwei himself staged a “100-mile walk” in the rain, and had a touching and tearful encounter with his mother on the way, turning a simple recall of a legislator into an eight o’clock drama of “resisting China and protecting Taiwan”.
The people of Taiwan have long seen similar scenes, and the so-called “quality and rational” democracy is like a ghost that everyone has heard of but no one has seen. In fact, compared to the performance of other regions where elections are the political system, Taiwan’s situation is neither special nor bad.
Americans believe that Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ will return the US to glory, and the UK feels that the EU has allowed itself to be encroached upon by leaving the EU, and most of these decisions are made by politicians who find it difficult to face up to their internal problems and that a populist shift in focus to gain support would be an easy and effective solution.
It is only for other countries that this is a risk and a flaw that the electoral system is bound to face. But this is not the case in Taiwan, where politicians manipulate the populist cross-strait issue, facing the real consequences of war or not, life or death.
High risks come with high rewards, and the DPP has indeed been rewarded handsomely. Green politicians have become more and more comfortable with the cross-strait issue, and have become more and more obvious in their provocations, reaping the political rewards.
All political systems have their pros and cons, and some “absurdities” in the electoral system are a “side effect” that the general public is accustomed to. While the electoral system can tolerate absurdity, it should not put the public in “danger”. The reality may be, as Putin says, that the mainland does not yet have the need or intention to resolve the Taiwan issue by force immediately, but the current state of democracy in Taiwan could very well be a factor in this.
However, it seems difficult to expect politicians to be less short-sighted and more cautious in their calculations of votes and to face the possibility of more serious consequences for Taiwan’s political system than for other regions.
（Hong Kong 01）