State media warn Taiwan’s resurgent opposition not to see its local election rout of the governing pro-Beijing Kuomintang (KMT) party as a mandate to push for independence. Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou has announced he is stepping down as KMT party chairman in response to the defeat, which was widely seen on the island as a rejection of his party’s push for closer ties with Beijing. An article in the official party paper, the People’s Daily, warns the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to “discard fantasies” about achieving formal independence. “As China’s might and influence expand internationally, it will have more say in the cross-strait ties,” Taiwan analyst Ni Yongjie tells the paper. “It will be difficult for any political forces in Taiwan to resist the peaceful development of the relationship.” China Daily lays the blame for Mr Ma’s defeat squarely on his domestic policies, denying any link to his pro-Beijing stance. But it acknowledges that with fewer than two years left of Mr Ma’s term in office, the KMT’s loss will add “uncertainty” to ties with Beijing, and could create “major difficulties in producing more ground-breaking achievements”.
The Haiwai Net website also warns the opposition camp against pushing its luck, saying Taiwan has benefited economically from a closer relationship with the mainland.
It also warns the KMT not to try to restore its electoral fortunes by disavowing the “1992 Consensus” – a meeting at which, in Beijing’s view, all of Taiwan’s main political forces pledged to respect the “one-China-principle”. The DPP denies any such agreement exists.
In an interview with the international paper Global Times, researcher Sun Xiaobo is relaxed about the impact of the apparent political change in Taiwan, saying the “peaceful development of relations has become mainstream”.