Taiwan and China are testing each other's bottom lines on the future of relations across the Taiwan Strait, with Beijing likely to set a new policy direction next year, several Taiwanese scholars said at a symposium Saturday.
The scholars predicted that China will decide on its new policy direction on ties with Taiwan after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is held -- presumably in the second half of 2017 -- and a new U.S. president takes office.
Tung Li-wen (???), a professor at Central Police University's Department of Public Security, said President Tsai Ing-wen (???) expressed good will on ties with China in her inauguration speech in May, in an effort to maintain the status quo and peace in the strait.
Since then, cross-strait ties have entered "a calm period," in which both sides are reviewing their respective policies before setting out a new direction, Tung said.
Taipei and Beijing are currently testing each other's bottom lines, which is likely to last into next year, when Chinese President Xi Jinping (???) is expected to decide on a new policy direction for ties with Taiwan, he said.
If his observation that the two sides of the strait are testing each other's bottom lines is correct, Tung said, the Tsai administration should try to normalize the development of cross-strait ties so as to resume regular channels of cross-strait communication.
In contrast, Yen Chien-fa (???), a professor in Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology's Department of Business Administration, argued that the key to the normal development of cross-strait ties lies with Xi.
Before the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Beijing will remain committed to the peaceful development of cross-strait ties, Yen predicted.
But he also expected China to continue its approach of giving preferential treatment to Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang -- seen as being friendly toward China -- while being cold to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which favors Taiwan independence.
Yen also said that because the DPP government has not taken aggressive action against China, Xi will likely wait until next year, when a new U.S. president takes office, before formulating a new policy direction toward Taiwan.
Meanwhile, professor Tsai Ming-Yen (???) of National Chung Hsing University's Graduate Institute of International Politics said China's military buildup has not only posed new challenges to security in the Taiwan Strait but also in the region as a whole.
Taiwan should seek to deepen exchanges with the United States and countries in the Asia-Pacific region and work with them to create a deterrence that will prevent the cross-strait status quo from being changed, Tsai said.
The scholars made their remarks at the 2016 International Symposium on "The South China Sea Dispute and Asian Pacific Peace and Security," organized by the Taiwan National Security Institute.
Cross-strait relations have cooled since Tsai took office May 20, due mainly to China's insistence that the "1992 consensus" remain the political foundation for the development of cross-strait exchanges and the Tsai administration's reluctance to accept that.
The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached between Taiwan -- then under a Kuomintang government -- and China in 1992 that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel