Inside China: China’s‘ Xi courts Taiwan’s Ma

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou of the ruling Kuomintang Party received a rare congratulation message from Chinese President Xi Jinping. Analysts say the message contained some surprises.

The occasion was Mr. Ma’s re-election as party chairman on July 20 with more than 91 percent of the over 200,000 votes cast. Since 2009, Mr. Ma has served as president of the democratic island nation claimed by communist China.

“I hope our two parties could deepen mutual trust and introduce positive interaction with broader vision when relations are facing important opportunities,” Mr. Xi, who is the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee, said in his message.

China has deployed hundreds of missiles across from the Taiwan’s shores and has threatened military force to reunite it with China if necessary.

However, reading the tea leaves of Mr. Xi’s message to Mr. Ma reveals something important: Mr. Xi deviates from the rule by avoiding mention of the Chinese government’s cardinal principle of the “One-China” policy.

That policy says Taiwan must recognize there is but a single China, Taiwan is a part of it, and the Beijing government represents that one China.

The One-China principle has been the absolute essence of all of China’s major international diplomacy.

Mr. Ma delighted the Chinese leader in a reply by invoking the One-China Principle, albeit indirectly, for Beijing.

He cited the so-called “1992 Consensus” that was allegedly a mutual, unofficial understanding that Beijing and Taipei reached in Hong Kong.

The understanding stated that both China and Taiwan recognize there is only one China, both mainland China and Taiwan belong to the same China, but both sides agree to interpret the meaning of “China” according to their own individual definition.

“Sincere thanks to you for your congratulation note,” Mr. Ma said. “In 1992, both sides of the Taiwan Strait reached a consensus that recognizes the One-China principle with separate verbal interpretations” of what China means.

The 1992 Consensus has proven to be the most divisive and controversial political subject in Taiwan because of its ambiguity.

‘GLORIOUS MISSION’ UPGRADED

Political commissars inside the Chinese military were delighted recently by a significant upgrade of a military video game to an online version available to the army’s 2.3 million rank-and-file troops.

Initially designed as a military video game for ideological indoctrination, the game was issued in June 2011 to a limited number of army units and reissued to all troops four months later.

The game plot mimics a combat operation code-named “Glorious Mission.” But officials criticized the original version for too much emphasis on special commando operations.

The new version highlights the combat ability of China’s large warships and satellite-based targeting system and stealth technology.

It also includes a war game to take the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands and enemies presumably including the Japanese and American troops.

Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com and @yu_miles

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