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Saturday is the 100th day since Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen was sworn into office. In the past few days, local media have been publishing polls on her falling approval ratings. The worst poll had only 39 percent of people supporting her.
The scores are worse than the 100-day polls about previous leaders Ma Ying-jeou and Chen Shui-bian.
Tsai told the media that she did not want people to rate her performance based only on her first 100 days of governance. This response backfired after the opposition Kuomintang shared online pictures of Tsai's anti-Ma campaign eight years ago that was launched after Ma had been in office for just 100 days.
Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) used to adamantly oppose nuclear power in Taiwan. Now they are changing their tune. The DPP used to oppose the import of US pork, now it has switched sides.
What is real about her is that she does not accept the 1992 Consensus that emphasizes that there is one China. She has been trying to get closer to the US and Japan. She advocates more cooperation with ASEAN members in order to be less dependent on the mainland.
She is not likely to succeed. Tsai is facing challenges similar to what Ma encountered in terms of "domestic" policies, that is, she has to develop the economy and improve people's lives.
Ma made a large stride in pushing forward cross-Straits economic cooperation. But he failed to transfer the benefits of closer cross-Straits ties to ordinary people on the island.
What Ma encountered was a problem also faced by many other developed places. Tsai and her party fellows are not magicians.
At least the KMT administration improved cross-Straits ties, introducing a surge of tourists from the mainland. Now the DPP has been in a hurry to cut off cross-Straits ties before it finds new economic pillars. DPP politicians are not like real leaders. They are still obsessed with their unrealistic ideology.
The US and Japan cannot give Taiwan much. "Taiwan independence" is only a political slogan for the DPP, but does not offer any real power to it. If Tsai cannot make any progress in improving people's living standards, but instead focuses on Taiwan independence, it will be like drinking poison to quench a thirst.
The Chinese mainland's rise has changed the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific and the global economic structure. If Taiwan tries to stay away from the mainland, it will marginalize itself.
Cross-Straits ties are no longer a matter solely about the 1992 Consensus. They are linked to Taiwan's long-term prosperity. If Tsai chooses to head the other way, she's going to hit a wall sooner or later.
Source: Global Times
Tsai rating low after 100 days in power - Global Times
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