Washington Post: Time is on Taiwan’s side

With the totalitarians’ talent for invective and the Leninist faith that “history” has a Marxist mind of its own, a Beijing-run “news” agency dismissed Taiwan’s presidential election results as “a temporary fluke” and “bubbles left behind by the tides of history.” Actually, this election, just 48 days after Hong Kong’s resounding repudiation of Beijing in November voting, is another boulder in a growing avalanche of evidence, from the islands of Hong Kong and Taiwan to Central Europe, that China need not be accommodated.

The landslide reelection of President Tsai Ing-wen happened despite Beijing’s strenuously expressed objections, economic pressures (e.g., refusing visas to tourists wanting to visit Taiwan, where tourism produces more than 4 percent of gross domestic product), military intimidation (last year, Beijing’s fighter jets crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait for the first time in two decades), and surreptitious but flagrant electoral interference.

The Taiwan question, Xi says, “should not be passed down generation after generation.” What question? Taiwan has been effectively a sovereign nation for generations. Taiwan is independent — it has its own legislature, currency, travel documents, diplomats, etc. — and only a major war (the United States is committed to defending Taiwan against attempts to change its status by force) can alter this. A bilateral U.S.-Taiwan trade agreement should be the next acknowledgment of Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Time is on Taiwan’s side. There is a steady increase in the majority of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people who self-identify as Taiwanese rather than Chinese. In last Saturday’s legislative elections, the average age of candidates from Tsai’s party (38) was almost 25 years younger than those of the principal opposition party.

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