Monday, January 18, 2016

Consistent, Predictable, and Sustainable Territorial Ambitions

In other news, a small Asian democracy voted in a free election while a massively larger hegemon looks on disapprovingly.

Taiwan voted for the less China-friendly party:

Tsai [Ing-wen], leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), will be thrust into one of Asia's toughest and most dangerous jobs, with China pointing hundreds of missiles at the island it claims, decades after losing Nationalists fled from Mao Zedong's Communists to Taiwan in the Chinese civil war in 1949.

Tsai said she would establish "consistent, predictable and sustainable" relations with China and not be provocative, to ensure the status quo.

And why does Tsai take pains to ensure China that she will maintain the status quo?

In a statement carried by state media, China's Taiwan Affairs Office said the achievements and peace of the past eight years should be cherished, and that it would not tolerate any Taiwan independence activities.

One problem for Taiwan is that the status quo isn't good enough for China. Failure to make progress toward unification under Chinese rule is also a potential trigger for China to use force against Taiwan.

Taiwan is, in Chinese terminology, a "core interest" of Peking. Don't forget, as an unnamed "senior Western diplomat" explained:

"Nothing is more important than Taiwan to Beijing."

And I'll add that Taiwanese voting demonstrates the lie from China that democracy is inconsistent with Asian (that is, Chinese) values.

Taiwan's very existence is a threat to the Chinese Communist Party. Tsai should make defense spending decisions accordingly.