At 7:30 p.m. on January 13, the 112th “Cross-Strait Talk” (General 188th), hosted by China Cross-Strait Academy (Hong Kong) and Xiamen Qidataixiang Entrepreneurship Service Co., Ltd., was successfully held at the Tencent Conference with the theme of “Lai Ching-te’s Theory of ‘Peaceful Protection of Taiwan’! How to interpret this?”.
The lunar New Year is coming. Winter will turn into spring and everything will be renewed. In order to connect with each other and maintain social relations, Chinese people on both sides of the Straits send festive gifts every New Year. Gifts should match the occasion and time, express greetings, and generate wealth. But in recent days, Lai Chingde, the candidate of the DPP’s chair, has offered a big gift to both sides: the theory of “Peaceful Protection of Taiwan”. Lai used this phrase at a party briefing in Kaohsiung on December 24 that Taiwan is a peace-loving region and that he hopes everyone can live in peace. Chen Qimai, chair of the DPP, also used “Peaceful Protection of Taiwan” when answering questions on Cross-Strait issues at a press conference on the day of the announcement of the review report on the DPP’s defeat. Does this slight change in strategy represent the DPP’s face to the people's desire for peace in Taiwan? But Lai Chingde, who claims to be a “pragmatic Taiwan independence worker”, now throws out this argument. Is this an adjustment of the DPP’s Cross-Strait policy discourse? Or “resist China and protect Taiwan” another form of expression? How to interpret this?
In this “Cross-Strait Talk”, China Cross-Strait Academy (Hong Kong) specially invited Chiu Yi, a three-term Taiwan legislator, and also a member of the Central Committee of KMT, to discuss the topic of “Lai Ching-te’s Theory of ‘Peaceful Protection of Taiwan’! How to interpret this?”. The discussion would focus on Lai Chingde’s self-proclaimed “pragmatic Taiwan independence worker”， the change of the DPP from“fighting China and protecting Taiwan”to “peacefully protecting Taiwan” and how should people both at home and abroad and across the Straits interpret this change etc. Luo Dingjun, Secretary General of China Cross-Strait Academy (Hong Kong), served as the host of the meeting.
According to Chiu Yi, Lai’s nature of Taiwan independence is beyond doubt. And he is also a radical advocate of Taiwan independence. The so-called “pragmatic Taiwan independence worker” is changing with the public opinion. The essence of Taiwan independence will not change, but the packaging of the essence of Taiwan independence will be adjusted according to different people and different time points and needs. Lai Ching-te’s theory of “Peaceful Protection of Taiwan” just reflects the tricky complexity of politics. The so-called “peace” includes peaceful reunification, ‘peaceful delay of reunification’ and ‘peaceful Taiwan independence’. The peace that people on both sides of the Straits are looking forward to is peaceful reunification, while the Kuomintang is pursuing “peaceful delay of reunification” and Lai Chingde’ peace is “peaceful Taiwan independence”, which is to achieve Taiwan independence by disguising it with peace. The Kuomintang used peaceful packaging to achieve its goal of secession. Therefore, Lai’s “Peaceful Protection of Taiwan” cannot be seen as the adjustment of the strategy of the DPP. Chen Qimai’s echo of Lai’s statement is also to cooperate with Tsai Ingwen’s wishful thinking of achieving Taiwan independence.
Under America’s pressure, Taiwan’s military service was extended from four months to a year and its military was built on American training models. The United States will be able to provide Taiwan with weapons and training in accordance with a change in strategic thinking, which is the pattern of asymmetric warfare in the Russo-Ukrainian war. The US knows that no matter how many aircraft and warships Taiwan buys from the US, it will not be a rival to the mainland. Therefore, it asks Taiwan to concentrate its resources on purchasing weapons related to asymmetric operations, and tries to pull the two sides into urban guerrilla warfare to achieve the goal of “resolute defense and multi-domain deterrence”, so as to deplete the combat force of the PLA. This would allow the United States to exhaust China’s power by combining Allies to impose sanctions on the mainland based on the extent of Taiwan’s damage in the war. If the United States wants to use Taiwan as a proxy for war and treats the lives of the people of Taiwan as worthless, it will inevitably cause a backlash in Taiwan’s public opinion. The fear of the war’s deadly consequences also contributed to the DPP’s heavy vote losses in recent elections. The DPP almost collapsed after losing the election all the way from “Nine in One”. Therefore, Lai Chingde put forward the theory of “Peaceful Protection of Taiwan” to fool the Taiwanese people and pull back votes. Preparing for war in return for peace is the new narrative of the DPP’s brainwashing after a series of election defeats. This is actually absurd.
Hou Youyi recently proposed that Taiwan should not be a pawn of powerful countries, pointing directly at the United States. Lai Chingde criticized the theory of “Suspicious of America” as the operation of people with purposes, and called it the cognitive war of the mainland. The theory of “Suspicious of America” has already existed for a long time and has nothing to do with cognitive warfare. Taiwanese people rightly suspect that America’s support for Taiwan is to use Taiwan as a pawn of war of attrition with the mainland and as a victim of Sino-American rivalry. Lai Ching-te attacking Hou Youyi with this showed that their election clash officially had started. In the coming 2024 election, Hou will surely be branded as a “Red” and attacked by the DPP. The United States intends to invite Hou Youyi to visit the United States. Once Hou’s trip to the United States is complete, he may be threatened by the black material collected by the United States. It cannot be ruled out that he may change his attitude and opinion. In essence, both the KMT and the DPP are trying to flatter the United States and attract the attention of the United States.
The US is deploying Taiwan to become a “landmine island”. Once the deployment is successful, it will greatly increase the difficulty of unification of the mainland. If the mainland wants to reunify, it should seize the opportunity. After the United States successfully builds Taiwan in accordance with the pattern of asymmetric warfare, the cost of reunification will be greatly increased and reunification will become very difficult. Kevin McCarthy, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is expected to visit Taiwan this year to save face. He is likely to invite Trump to the summit at a sensitive time in the second half of the year when both the blue and green presidential candidates have been decided. It is worth considering how the mainland should react to such aggressive provocations and red line treading.
The people of Taiwan are accustomed to obedience and blindly following the rulers. In recent years, the number of people in Taiwan who support the 1992 Consensus has declined sharply. This is precisely because neither the ruling DPP nor the KMT, the largest opposition party in Taiwan, supports reunification. Naturally, the people of Taiwan will not support reunification. This is the reality of Taiwan. If the mainland does not take the crucial step of reunification, the people of Taiwan will not consider the option of reunification. The US will not change its attempt and strategy. The best way to deter the mainland at present is to use Taiwan as bait and chess pieces and even enjoy seeing Taiwan damaged. The more damage Taiwan suffers, the more it will help America rally its Allies to blame and sanction China. So don’t expect the US and the current Taiwanese people to change.
In addition to the wonderful speeches delivered by the guests, the online audience also actively participated in the interactive questions on the topic. The audience asked questions about whether the “peace memorandum” advocated by Chang Ya-chung is an attempt to promote hidden Taiwan independence, whether the DPP will dispose Wang Shih-chien and Kao Chia-yu, or whether it will timely cut losses with Lin Chih-chien etc. All the guests at the meeting answered these questions, and the discussion was heated, highlighting the great concern on the issue “Lai Ching-te’s Theory of ‘Peaceful Protection of Taiwan’! How to interpret this?”
According to Chiu Yi, considering the current environment of Taiwan society, it would be difficult for Chang Ya-chung to be elected if he directly expressed his support for cross-Straits reunification. Therefore, he may have to use a roundabout way to package and decorate. Because of the existence of the Internet, the exchange of information between the two sides becomes smoother. But communication and interpretation on the Internet alone can easily distort the meaning of the speaker, which in turn increases the spiral of hatred between the two sides.
The DPP handles problems with skill. The DPP would not choose Wang Shih-chien to make an example of, whether in terms of his seniority, voter-drawing power or financial resources. Compared with Wang, Kao Chia-yu has neither factional support nor financial backing and is likely to become an emotional outlet for the DPP. Money, votes and family background become the basis of a politician’s livelihood. In this regard, the Kuomintang and the Democratic Progressive Party are no different. This is the frustrating reality of Taiwanese politics.
At the end of the meeting, Chiu Yi made the point that politics can make empty rhetoric at the peak, but it must also survive in the waves of mortals. Existence and ideal coexist. If there is only the ideal without knowing how to live, the ideal will not be realized. If you have no ideals and only want to survive, you will drift and become morally corrupt.
Through a brief one hour online exchange, more than 300 people from both sides of the strait gathered to discuss the topic of “Lai Ching-te’s Theory of ‘Peaceful Protection of Taiwan’! How to interpret this?”, to promote cross-strait exchanges with practical actions, and make contributions to maintaining cross-strait peace and development.
As the cross-strait exchange activity synchronized with “Cross-Strait Talk” and “Smart Youth Integration in the Four Places”, the Cross-Strait Youth Perspective Forum, which is launched by China Cross-Strait Academy (Hong Kong), is mainly characterized by gathering authoritative scholars and media worker from Cross-Strait and four places. They will listen to the voice of the Strait, pay attention to the hot spots on both sides of Taiwan Strait, take a global vision, and make a new voice based on both sides of the strait and facing the world.