“Taiwan’s Tsai Stresses Slower Track for China Ties”

Tsai and Guomindang incumbent Ma are very close- although some pro-DPP sites I’ve seen sound a little pessimistic about her chances in the end, she’s certainly looking OK right now. From the WSJ, on her views about China and Taiwan:

Taiwanese presidential challenger Tsai Ing-wen said that Taiwan should take its time to develop trade and tourism links with China, in an interview that highlighted a shift that ties between Taipei and Beijing might undergo if she defeats incumbent Ma Ying-jeou, who has fast-tracked relations with the island’s giant neighbor.

“Ten years, in my view, is just too short,” she said, referring to what she said was a common time frame for economic opening under free-trade agreements. Chinese banks are “much, much bigger,” she said, and local banks may not be able to withstand a competitive onslaught. “We have to think very seriously about the survival of our financial institutions,” she said.

She also said that Taiwan doesn’t currently have the infrastructure to cope with a sudden influx of Chinese tourists. In 2010, the number of Chinese tourists soared to 1.6 million from a mere 200,000 in 2008.

She said the DPP is throwing out “olive branches” to China to show its goodwill, but she rejected a vague agreement between Beijing and the KMT on Taiwan’s status as a part of “one China,” which both view to be the foundation for recent economic cooperation. Instead, she said, Beijing must accept the Taiwanese people’s commitment to their own sovereignty. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Ms. Tsai acknowledged there are significant “conflicting interests” between the DPP and China. “China must face the fact that Taiwan is a democracy and they have to treat Taiwan as a democracy. The way they conduct business with us, the way they have dialogues with us, they all have to keep this in mind: Taiwan is a democracy,” she said.

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