Rival DPP's Tsai Ing-wen attacks Ma after landmark meeting

2015-11-08 23:24:31 GMT2015-11-09 07:24:31(Beijing Time)  Global Times

Negative remarks from Taiwan opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen over Ma Ying-jeou's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping are intended to destabilize cross-Straits ties, a dangerous sign for Taiwan's future, observers said Sunday.

Tsai, chairwoman of Taiwan's main opposition, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said Saturday and Sunday on Facebook that Ma's performance at the meeting angered many people in Taiwan, and that what Ma said deviates from Taiwan's status quo, which could not represent mainstream public opinion in Taiwan.

"As a leader, Ma failed to make his people proud or feel safe. Instead, he created more anxiety and disputes," Tsai wrote on her Facebook page on Saturday night.

Tsai's remarks came after Xi's landmark handshake with Ma in the first meeting between the leaders of the two sides since 1949 in Singapore on Saturday, which is said to have opened up a whole new chapter in cross-Straits relations.

Analysts said Tsai's rebuke of Ma reflects her identity as a "spokesperson" for "Taiwan independence" and her deep anxiety on how to cope with cross-Straits relations.

"The Xi-Ma meeting boosted the reputation of the Kuomintang (KMT) Party, and Tsai resorted to defaming Ma to win support," Taiwan Strategy Research Association president Wang Kun-yi told the Global Times.

Cross-Straits relations are a major issue at all times for whichever party rules Taiwan, said experts, but it is commonly held that the KMT has a political advantage in the matter.

What Tsai said could sabotage the long-term development of cross-Straits relations, Lü Cuncheng, a Taiwan studies scholar told the Global Times.

During the meeting, Xi told Ma that the biggest threat to peaceful development of cross-Straits relations is the Taiwan independence force, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Common consensus

Xi made a four-point proposal and Ma put forth a five-point proposal at the meeting.

The two exchanged views on pushing forward the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations in an earnest and profound manner, and both stressed the common political consensus, referring to the 1992 Consensus reached between the two sides that endorses the one-China principle.

"The clear mention of the 1992 Consensus by both leaders has sent a strong signal to Taiwan people that denying the term would mean great challenges in dealing with cross-Straits relations," Hu Shiqing, a researcher at the Taiwan Studies Institute of the China Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Among her election pledges, Tsai vaguely said she would "maintain the status quo" of cross-Straits relations, but did not elaborate on this and also avoided referring to the 1992 Consensus, Hu said.

Experts said that as long as both sides stick to the 1992 Consensus, the Xi-Ma meeting could become a regular event between leaders to help resolve issues between the two sides.

"After the meeting between both leaders, Tsai faces a big challenge, which is to describe to the Taiwan public in her own words what she thinks the 'status quo' is and how to maintain it as she had vowed to do. She avoided answering those questions and distracted public attention by attacking Ma," Hu said.

Zhang Wensheng, a research fellow at the Taiwan Research Institute of Xiamen University, echoed Hu and said that the Xi-Ma meeting had elevated cross-Straits exchanges to a higher level and created a new "status quo of cross-Straits relations" which Tsai would find very difficult to maintain.

'Ice-breaking'

While the Taiwan opposition criticized the meeting, the meeting has drawn wide attention from the international community, described by many foreign media as "ice-breaking."

Bloomberg reported on Sunday that the Xi-Ma meeting was a "living demonstration of the 'one China principle.'"

The New York Times called the meeting a "high point" in the two leaders' efforts to bridge the divisions of civil war.

The landmark meeting will undoubtedly instill more confidence in a bright future for cross-Straits relations for compatriots on both sides, and proves to the international community that Chinese people across the Straits are fully capable of solving their own issues and are jointly contributing to regional and global peace, stability and development, Xinhua said in a commentary on Sunday.

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