The effect of leadership changes in Taipei and Beijing on the cross straits relationship
Donovan, Joseph R., Jr.
Buss, Claude A.
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It is unlikely that the fast growing relationship between Taiwan and the China mainland will lead to political re-unification. The operational codes of new leaders in Taipei and Beijing will be shaped by the distinct forces at work on both sides of the straits and by the dynamic of the contacts themselves. Taiwan leaders will be selected by an increasingly pluralistic system but one which remains biased heavily in favor of the ruling KMT. A new generation of Taiwanese KMT leaders will pursue policies that contribute first to the island's security and prosperity and only secondly benefit any notion of a greater China. Power in Beijing is shifting to a generation that is the product of the Chinese Communist system. Beijing leadership contenders' pressing need to: consolidate factional networks in the absence of an institutionalized succession process; strengthen the legitimacy of the Communist Party; and re-integrate Hong Kong into China suggest that they may place low priority on re-unification with Taiwan. Despite the absence of a compelling interest in political re- unification, the increasing scope and complexity of cross straits ties constitutes a dynamic that will stimulate greater cooperation between Taiwan and the mainland.
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