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Taiwan Risks Advisory 1/1

Image Courtesy Google Maps

18  APRIL 2024

 

High Impact Event

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping high level meeting with former Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou in the Great Hall in Beijing.

 

Diplomacy

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou a member of Taiwan’s major opposition party Kuomintang (KMT) in Beijing on April 10 which observers remarked as a bid to promote unification between the sides that separated amid civil war in 1949.  “The people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are all Chinese. There is no dispute that cannot be resolved, there is no problem that cannot be discussed, and no force can separate us," Mr. Xi told Mr. Ma. "Differences in systems cannot change the fact that both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to the same country and nation,” he added.

 

Mr. Ma's 11-day trip, ostensibly at the head of a student delegation, underlines continued interactions in education, business and culture despite Beijing’s threat to use military force against the self-governing island democracy to achieve unification. Toward the end of his second term in 2015, Mr. Ma held a historic meeting with Mr. Xi in Singapore, which has close contacts with both sides.  

 

Military

 

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence (MND) detected fourteen Chinese military aircraft and eight naval vessels around Taiwan between 6 am on April 11 and April 12 of which four crossed the Taiwan Strait median line and five entered the southwest corner of the country's air defence identification zone (ADIZ).  Taiwan sent aircraft and naval ships and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor PLA activity. So far in April, Taiwan has tracked Chinese military aircraft 85 times and naval vessels 71 times.

 

Risks and Impact

 

A major internal political conflict may emerge in Taiwan with the divisions likely to be exploited by Beijing. As a member of Taiwan’s major opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), Ma’s objective of prioritising China continues from the time he served as Taiwan’s president from 2008 to 2016. On return to Taiwan Mr Ma encouraged the president-elect to consider reinstating the 1992 consensus, endorsing the ‘One China’ framework, and refraining from promoting Taiwan independence. This sentiment does not resonate with most Taiwanese people, given the changes  in the political domain in Taiwan in recent years.

Over 61 percent of Taiwanese now identify themselves solely as Taiwanese (61.7 per cent) and prefer to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. 

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