Political Economy of Cross-Strait Relations
Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), has long been associated with pro-China policies, even though it is currently against the ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). This is due to the political economy of cross-strait relations, which has been shaped by a variety of factors, including historical enmity, economic interdependence, and geopolitical considerations.
The KMT is the successor to the Republic of China (ROC), which was founded in 1912 after the Qing dynasty was overthrown. The ROC was based on the ideas of Sun Yat-Sen and sought to unite China under a new government. This led to a civil war between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which ended in 1949 when the KMT was forced to retreat to Taiwan. Since then, the KMT has maintained a pro-China stance, viewing Taiwan as part of the ROC and seeking reunification with the mainland.
Taiwan and mainland China have become increasingly economically interdependent over the past few decades. Cross-strait trade has grown exponentially since the 1990s, and today Taiwan is one of China’s largest trading partners. Taiwanese businesses have invested heavily in the mainland and many Taiwanese citizens have moved to China to work or study. This economic interdependence has created strong incentives for the KMT to maintain good relations with Beijing.
The geopolitical environment in East Asia has also been a major factor in the KMT’s pro-China stance. China is a regional superpower, and Taiwan is surrounded by hostile countries. As a result, the KMT has sought to maintain good relations with Beijing in order to avoid conflict and ensure stability in the region.
Public opinion in Taiwan has also influenced the KMT’s stance on cross-strait relations. A majority of Taiwanese people support reunification with the mainland, and the KMT has sought to appeal to this sentiment in order to remain electorally competitive.
The KMT’s pro-China stance is a result of the political economy of cross-strait relations, which has been shaped by a variety of factors, including historical enmity, economic interdependence, geopolitical considerations, and public opinion in Taiwan. As long as these factors remain in place, it is unlikely that the KMT will be able to shake its pro-China stance.