Christian Science Monitor: Opposition Win May Bring Taiwan Closer to China. The resurgence of Taiwan’s opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), which picked up a majority in Saturday’s parliamentary vote, could usher in a significant thaw in cross-Taiwan Strait relations with China, especially if it goes on to win the presidency in March.
It’s all relative, I guess. If someone had asked me to name the pro-China opposition party in Taiwan, I don’t think I would have guessed the Kuomingtang. For some reason, the American media does not apply the term “opposition party” to American political parties. Despite President George W. Bush’s contentious term in office, we still refer to the “other” party as Democrats or the Democratic Party. Certainly, not the Democratic opposition party.
As for being pro-China, I think that is a misleading description. Sure, they may not harbor strong Taiwan independence sentiments, but as far as accepting a seat as a mere province of the People’s Republic of China, I’ll believe it when I see it. One possible road map to eventual unification is the Hong Kong model. We are 10 years past 1997 and Hong Kong is as vibrant and successful as ever. However, Hong Kong and Taiwan do possess vital differences in population and history. Hong Kong has a population of close to 7 million people, while Taiwan has over 3 times as many. Additionally, Taiwan has a history of true democracy and self-rule which Hong Kong lacks, both in the present day and under British rule.
Basically, since neither China nor Taiwan is looking for a bail out, both parties are negotiating from a position of strength. You don’t give something up, especially your freedom and right to self-determination, unless you can get something as or more valuable in return. So, as I see it, the real question isn’t whether the President of Taiwan favors unification with China, but whether the Chinese Premier so desires unification that he (or she) is willing to surrender one-party rule. That’s the price of being pro-Taiwan.