Alan Romberg’s latest China Leadership Monitor article, “Cross-Strait Relations: Portrayals of Consistency. Calm on the Surface, Paddling Like Hell Underneath“
While in reality adjusting to an evolving situation both on Taiwan and in cross-Strait relations over the past few months, all parties concerned have sought to portray their approaches as consistent and undisturbed by “some situations” that could have thrown things off course. Whether it was the Mainland recalculating its tactics in the light of the spring “Sunflower Movement” or the DPP putting off reconsideration of its policy toward the Mainland until after the November local elections, everyone seemed to see advantage in staying steady on course and avoiding high-profile adjustments. In the absence of reliable indications of where the DPP was heading in its cross-Strait policy Beijing was careful not to commit itself fully to its future policy toward the DPP. However, not only did the Taiwan Affairs Office dismiss assertions that DPP victories in November would lead Beijing to move in the party’s direction and caution that reliance on the mainstay “1999 Resolution on Taiwan’s Future” would “not work,” but Xi Jinping personally weighed in forcefully reaffirming that “one country, two systems” is the Mainland’s “basic guiding principle” for resolving the Taiwan question and the “best way” to achieve national reunification.