His right-hand man Wang Huning is in charge of designing a new reunification policy. The decision has been made in light of what happened in Hong Kong. The Chinese leader also wants to distance himself from a principle enunciated by Deng Xiaoping. If it is more aggressive, the new orientation risks favoring anti-Beijing Taiwanese forces.
Taipei () – Xi Jinping wants a new policy for Taiwan. He has to replace the “one country, two systems” formula that Chinese leaders have invoked since the Deng Xiaoping era to carry out the island’s reunification with communist China.
According to an internal source of the Chinese Communist Party published by Nikkei Asia, the Chinese president has instructed Wang Huning to chart a new “theoretical” course for relations between the two shores of the Taiwan Strait. Wang is an ally of Xi, number four on the Politburo Standing Committee that emerged from the 20th Party Congress in October. In all probability in March he will become the new president of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CCPPC), the body that establishes the regime’s basic strategies.
The failure of the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong would have led Xi to think about a change of course: a way, moreover, to distance himself from Deng’s legacy and have his own political line with respect to Taiwan.
It is not yet clear whether Wang’s work will be geared towards greater cooperation with Taipei or an intensification of political and military pressure. The new theoretical basis for reunification should serve as a yardstick for evaluating progress and determining whether it is necessary to resort to the military option.
Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have always said they are willing to talk with China, but not on the basis of the “one country, two systems” principle. Beijing considers that the Taiwanese president is pro-independence and Taiwan is “a rebellious province” that it must reconquer.
Observers note that Xi will have to carefully assess the timing of announcing the paradigm shift for Taiwan. In January 2024, the island will go to the polls to elect its president, and if Wang takes too hard a line, such an announcement could favor the DPP in the elections, to the detriment of the Kuomintang nationalists, who are more willing to collaborate with China. .
Regardless of any theoretical elaboration or political approach, Xi’s plans will have to be confronted with the will of the Taiwanese, who feel less and less attached to China. According to a survey released in May 2020 by the Pew Research Center, 66% of Taiwanese consider themselves Taiwanese, 28% both Taiwanese and Chinese, and only 4% identify as Chinese.