Ma’s second term is expected to be much more difficult than his first, largely because Beijing will expect him to pay it back for its help in getting him re-elected
The outcome of Saturday’s presidential election led to a “heavy sigh of relief” in Beijing and Washington, and the US did much in the run-up to the elections to boost President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) electoral bid while also hedging against the possibility of a victory by the opposition, a report on the elections said on Sunday.
The possibility of a victory by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Saturday led to “very poor decision making” on some occasions within US President Barack Obama’s administration and a “reprehensible” attack on DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) via a leak to the Financial Times, at a time when Tsai was visiting Washington to explain her policy position to US officials, the US-Taiwan Business Council said in a report on the elections.
Ma defeated Tsai by a margin of about 800,000 votes on Saturday, defying expectations of a neck-and-neck race.
“With this statement, [Tsai] was greeted with what can only be seen as a slap across the face,” the report said. “This was not only meddling with the Taiwan elections, it was also inhospitable as it relates to Dr Tsai being a guest in the United States.”
“More troubling still, this was a clear effort to telegraph to the Chinese that America doesn’t like the DPP either,” it said. “To marginalize Taiwan’s democracy through ill-planted media stories or disinterest in the bilateral relationship is to invite the Chinese to continue to push back American resolve to stand by Taiwan’s democracy and to ensure that China’s next government doesn’t coerce Taiwan into arrangements that cannot be supported in Taiwan.”
My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.