Ahead of 11 Jan presidential and legislative election, Taiwanese govt 4 Dec proposed anti-infiltration bill aimed at holding back Chinese influence in Taiwanese business community: prevents anyone from donating to a political party, influencing elections, and other ways that could influence politics. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that Taiwanese people bill “has already caused alarm and panic that everyone is treated as an enemy”. Chinese govt 21 Dec revised law to simplify investment procedures for Taiwan companies in effort to entice support for China friendly policies in upcoming election; Taiwanese parliament 24 Dec passed anti-infiltration law to combat Chinese funding activities in national politics. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen 18 Dec stated in pre-election policy address that Taiwan “must be aware that China is infiltrating and dividing Taiwan’s society in an all-round way”. Taiwanese Defence Ministry 2 Dec announced Taiwan plans to invite U.S. military experts to island to “help consolidate and deepen the security partnership” between U.S. and Taiwan and “ensure peace and stability in the region”. Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation and U.S.’s Lockheed Martin 17 Dec signed agreement to build F-16 fighter jet maintenance centre in Taiwan. Chinese aircraft carrier 26 Dec sailed north of Taiwan Strait; in reaction to Chinese navy patrol, senior Taiwanese official stated that “by flexing military muscles, China is trying to intimidate non-aligned voters”.
After drifting toward crisis for much of 2004, the outlook for stability across the Taiwan Strait has improved.
Each side’s most preferred solution for resolving the continuing Taiwan Strait issue – in the case of Taipei, widely recognised de jure independence; and in the case of Beijing, reunification of China on the same ‘one country, two systems’ basis as Hong Kong – are both non-starters.
Apparently irreconcilable positions on the ‘one China’ principle have emerged between China and Taiwan over the last decade, with Taiwan for some time now asserting not only that it is a separate political entity but an independent sovereign country.
China's underlying position on its cross-Strait relations, however strong its current commitment to peaceful diplomacy, is that Taiwan must make sustained, visible progress toward a peaceful settlement or risk a resort to armed hostilities.
In the last decade, Taiwan has moved slowly but surely away from its commitment to the idea of ‘one China’, the proposition, long agreed on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, that Taiwan and the mainland are parts of one country.