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And if Beijing were to attempt to recover Taiwan by force ?

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The 19th Congress of the communist Party of china (CPC) will be a decisive moment not only in the history of the CCP, but also in regard to the fate of the relations between the two shores [between China and Taiwan, separated since the communist victory over the nationalists in 1949]. Xi Jinping was assigned to the task “to accomplish the great task of national reunification”, this that Mao Tse-tung and Deng Xiaoping are not able to do, and that would allow him to realize his “dream chinese”.

Since the entry into office last year the president of taiwan Tsai Ing-wen, the relations between the two sides of the Taiwan strait – warm at the time of his predecessor Ma Ying-jeou – have become frigid. In Beijing, we are waiting for the last sixteen months that Ms. Tsai “makes its copy”, but it remains white. Without a doubt, the chinese government only will he not get his hand confirmation that he is waiting on the 1992 consensus [“there is only one China”, were then agreed Beijing and Taipei] during his mandate.

His power now consolidated, Xi Jinping, will there be the patience to wait for public opinion in taiwan, which is hostile to reunification, had a change of opinion ? Or, tired of waiting, will trigger there a real earthquake in Taiwan ? Beijing has already sent some signals in this direction : the chinese aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has made twice the tour of Taiwan during the past year, while the bombers H-6 flew around the island four times in two weeks in July. Taiwan has never felt the threat the chinese military, so strong.

Taiwan keeps the status quo

public opinion in Taiwan has always been shared. The optimistic wonder under what pretext the people’s republic of China could trigger a military operation against the island, since Taiwan does not cause “trouble”, that is to say that it does not fall in the provocation, nor does it declare its independence, which would cross the yellow line in its relations with the continent ; in other words : as long as it “keep the status quo”, to use the expression that Tsai Ing-wen love so much.

The pessimists believe, themselves, that Taiwan can’t take the ostrich policy, and must look it in the face of recent developments in the international situation and the situation in China. They point to the growing power of China, with a military force reach to a historic level, and the willingness of Xi Jinping, once the 19th Congress passed, “to settle the taiwan issue” before the “deadline” of the celebration in 2021 the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC.

last September 10, the Foundation Fair Winds, chaired by the former Prime minister Jiang Yi-huah, has organized at the university of Taiwan a conference on The future of relations between Taiwan and the people’s republic of China in the light of the political and economic strategy of Xi Jinping”, which has given rise to an extensive debate between Zheng Yong-nian, director of the Institute for research on East Asia at the national University of Singapore (NUS), and Wu Yu-shan, member of the Academia Sinica.

Dream chinese

According to Zheng Yong-nian, the reunification of the country held a paramount place in the “dream chinese” put forward by Xi Jinping since taking office. the “Without reunification, how the ‘dream in chinese’ would it make sense ?” Because, historically, he adds, “the great powers have never had a problem of territorial division”.

Wu Yu-shan, it has been recognized that, since coming to power, Xi Jinping has sought to act with sensitivity to “promoting unification” and “to prevent the independence”. But Xi doesn’t he find that it is now necessary to actively promote the unification ? questioned Wu.

According to the researcher, since the 1990s Taiwan has often been at the origin of the most important changes in the relations between the people’s republic of China and Taiwan [because of the changeover of political power between nationalist and pro-independence result in the democratization of the regime in taiwan]. But, after the 19th Congress and the consolidation of power of Xi Jinping, Beijing will not want to without a doubt more “follow the calendar” of Taiwan, and will prefer the solution of an armed intervention, or at least consider it.

A reunification by force

Wu Yu-shan, one of the specialists in Taiwan to the question of the relations between the two shores of the strait, remember that the GDP of China is expected to overtake the U.s. in 2020. For him, at the opening of the 20th Congress of the CCP by 2022, as the people’s republic of China, with Xi Jinping always at the helm, will power and trust in it, the idea of a reunification by force will no longer be words in the air.

Zheng Yong-nian noted that in China many believe that, to end with the internal rule of the party, which limits to ten years the term of office of a secretary-general, the easiest way for Xi Jinping would be to acquire legitimacy in solving the problem of taiwan [province renegade, according to Beijing]. And this, without waiting for the centennial of the founding of the people’s Republic in 2049. The arrival to the political responsibilities of the generations born in the years 1970 and 1980 would indeed give voice to the nationalism and those who wish to settle the taiwan issue. In the opinion of Mr. Zheng, if Xi Jinping is slow to process this file, “the assessment that he will leave him in the history will never be the same”.

However, according to a survey conducted in April by the Taiwan Brain Trust on the subject of the sense of belonging of the Taiwanese, 83.5% of respondents say they are taiwanese versus 10.6 % who see themselves as chinese, and 1.3 % who consider themselves to be both at the same time. It is interesting to note a downward trend of the sense of belonging to the identity in taiwan since the accession of Tsai Ing-wen to the presidency.

Taiwan is not defenseless

Faced with the military threat on the continent, the population cares about, especially the capacity of the island to cope with it. Of course, if Taiwan does not have the same forces, it is not, however, disarmed. The density of missiles deployed by the battalion of anti-aircraft missiles from the army to taiwan is the second largest in the world, just behind Israel. As was said by the former Prime minister Yu Shyi-kun, both parties must retain a “balance of terror” as in the times of the cold war between the United States and the soviet Union : “If you attack Taipei, we attack Shanghai.”

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