China has fully unblocked after three years of the epidemic. The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council sent a letter to Taiwan to suggest the restoration of 16 cross-strait flight points. Taiwan also responded positively. Is this the beginning of breaking the ice in cross-strait relations?
(Deutsche Welle Chinese website) Taiwan’s proposal to restore the waypoints by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council is quite positive. Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council Qiu Taisan even said that it may not only be the 16 waypoints suggested by China, but some officials also expressed their estimates. In 2023, there should be millions of “Chinese tourists” coming to Taiwan. However, the opposition party immediately criticized the officials’ views or estimates as being too optimistic. There is inherent discord between the party government and Beijing, and the light at the end of the tunnel may really not be seen between the two sides of the strait.
First of all, the most obvious is that Taiwan will enter the fierce election period of the 2024 presidential election in 2023. Several major political parties will hold primary elections to select candidates, and various campaign occasions will spring up in Taiwan. everywhere. Larger opposition parties such as the Kuomintang naturally hope to continue the momentum of victory in local elections in 2022 to regain the presidency and the majority of seats in Congress; Do your best to get high votes to keep the presidency and a majority in Congress. Judging from past experience, China is not happy to allow a large number of mainland tourists to Taiwan during Taiwan’s elections, and Taiwan’s security agencies have always had reservations about the influx of large numbers of mainland tourists during sensitive periods.
Another factor is that Taiwan will enter a so-called “harvest period” in terms of national defense and diplomacy in 2023. A number of purchased advanced weapons and equipment will be gradually delivered in 2023. The submarine that is claimed to be successfully developed by itself is also scheduled for the second half. Annual delivery. In terms of diplomacy, there are already heavyweight members of Congress from several countries scheduled to visit Taiwan within this year, and some media judges that the trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan is likely to achieve a major breakthrough within a few months. According to news from the United States, members of the new U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are said to be planning to introduce a bill beneficial to Taiwan. Judging from past experience, the overall atmosphere in 2023 is not “comfortable” for China. When China is uncomfortable, it will “sanction” Taiwan in different ways, such as banning fruit, aquatic products, agricultural products without warning, and prohibiting tourist groups from visiting Taiwan. These measures are still fresh in the memory of many Taiwanese; So in general, it is not conducive to the “rejuvenation” of the relationship.
Some people may want to say that it should be decided by the market and let the operators decide whether they want to go back to the business of “embracing mainland tourists”. The exchange of goods has never been entirely determined by market mechanisms.
When the atmosphere on both sides of the strait is not good, how many Chinese travel operators are willing to do this business? In addition, Hong Kong and Macau have made every effort to introduce preferential measures to attract tourists from China after the unblocking. In contrast, Taiwan has almost no incentives.
What about cross-strait trade? In fact, in the past three years, despite the impact of the epidemic and “certain factors”, trade between the two sides of the strait has at least continued in terms of feasible trade items, otherwise there would have been no such thing as Taiwan’s food being deregistered and banned from being imported. dispute. That is to say, the coming year is likely to remain cold in terms of tourism and tourism. In addition to the above-mentioned disputes in trade, there is also the transfer of production sites caused by the restrictions of the United States, so the trade volume and mutual dependence are likely to It will be stable and gradually decline.
After 3 years of tossing about the epidemic, China is now unblocked, but are Taiwan’s business owners ready? Due to political factors, the relationship between the people on both sides of the strait is not as good as before. It doesn’t seem too optimistic to say that cross-strait relations will “rejuvenate” or “warm up” in 2023.
Jane Wick: A medical deserter born in Taiwan, he once lived in the United States and then worked in the media in the United Kingdom. He also studied East Asian history. He left Taiwan in the 1980s and returned to Taiwan to settle after traveling around the world.
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