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June 28, 2017

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DPP plays the game of politics — and plays it well

During the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee meeting on Tuesday, representatives from both sides of the strait agreed to begin negotiations over the cross-strait trade in goods pact, as part of a follow-up to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement. It probably won't be long before either pan-green activists or the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) comes out and starts accusing the Ma administration of selling Taiwan to the mainland Chinese, again.

Anyone who thinks that the DPP is any more capable of protecting Taiwanese sovereignty or that the DPP will take a radically different approach to cross-strait relations may be fooling themselves. The DPP was in power from 2000 to 2008. At one point it even held a plurality in the Legislature. Just look at its track record. What fundamental, institutional change did it make to the dynamics of cross-strait relations?

The DPP understands geopolitics. It knows what the stakes are and what is at stake. There are generally two types of people who enter politics: idealists and those who are attracted to power. Like any political party, the DPP has a mixture of both in its ranks. And like any political party, the DPP's first priority is to seize power. And it will try to do that through any means it sees fit.

When the DPP signs agreements with the mainland Chinese, it is called being pragmatic. When the Kuomintang (KMT) does the same thing, it is called betraying the people. "The behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do" is the dictionary definition of hypocrisy. That is not to say that the DPP is hypocritical. It is just one of the tactics that the DPP uses to undermine the KMT, which is precisely what a rival party should do.

When Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun came to Taiwan, the DPP was relatively passive — a sharp contrast to the brick, rock, firecracker, Molotov cocktail and feces throwing affair it incited or helped incite (depending on your perspective) in 2008 against then-Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin's visit.

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