fredag 25. januar 2019

What Does Xi Want from Taiwan? (And What Can Taiwan Do About It?)

In a major speech in early January, China’s leader Xi Jinping called unification across the Taiwan Strait “the great trend of history,” and warned that attempts to facilitate Taiwan’s independence would be met by force. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen immediately condemned Xi’s speech and countered that “Taiwan absolutely will not accept ‘one country, two systems,’” Beijing’s formula for governing Taiwan after a putative unification with the mainland.

How significant was this exchange? What domestic favors motivated each leader’s combative rhetoric? What does public reaction after Xi’s speech mean for the significance of the 1992 Consensus—Beijing’s favored agreement, which states that both Taiwan and China are part of the same country, but allows each side to interpret what that country is—going forward? And what does the current state of Taiwanese politics augur for the future of cross-strait relations?