Stability Beijing’s focus as Xi seeks re-election: analysts

Taipei, China’s government is likely to focus its efforts in 2021 on pursuing stability internally and externally, as Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) seeks a third term as chief of the Chinese Communist Party next year, analysts in Taiwan said Friday.

“For Xi, 2021 is a crucial year to prepare for next year’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP) National Party Congress, which will decide his political fate,” said Yen Chien-fa (顏建發), a professor at Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology, at a forum discussing China’s national policy after the recently concluded “Two Sessions.”

The Two Sessions refer to the meetings of China’s two major political bodies, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC), which confirm the direction of government policies.

This year’s Two Sessions were held March 4-11.

“Due to that consideration, stability is everything for Xi. He will not allow his country to be plunged into turmoil,” Yen said.

Observers expect Xi to vie for a third term as the CCP’s secretary-general at next year’s National Party Congress, a position that is crucial for his re-election as China’s president the following year.

It would represent a major departure from the recent precedent of China’s leader serving two five-year terms as CCP chief and then stepping down, and reinforce concerns that Xi has no interest in relinquishing power any time soon.

Beijing’s move to set its economic growth target above 6 percent, “reform” Hong Kong’s electoral system, and increase its defense budget, all announced during the “Two Sessions,” showed Xi’s will to maintain stability internally, Yen said. At the same time, Beijing’s attempt to ease tensions with neighboring countries, such as India, Japan and South Korea, can be interpreted as Xi’s bid to work on stability externally, he added.

The principle of maintaining stability likewise applies to the Taiwan Strait and nearby areas, such as the contested South China Sea and waters around the Japanese-controlled Diaoyutai Islands, Yen said.

“China’s deployment of warplanes and battleships in these areas will remain psychological warfare,” he said. “A hot war is not likely because it would be too costly for China. Xi’s ‘Chinese Dream’ would be ruined.”

Still, Taiwan has to continue to work with the United States and other like-minded countries to deter China’s aggression in the region, Yen said.

Lin Ying-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at National Chung Cheng University, believed Beijing will keep its carrot-and-stick approach in dealing with Taiwan, by providing perks for Taiwanese people while intensifying military pressure on Taiwan’s government.

He also said Beijing is likely to continue its disinformation campaign against Taiwan to create division in Taiwanese society, hoping to take Taiwan without firing a single bullet after breaking down the Taiwanese people’s will to defend their homes.

 

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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