Philip Bowring: Taiwan reads the election’s tea leaves

From The International Herald Tribune:

The result of Taiwan’s election on Saturday has put into perspective the cross-strait hype and hoopla of the previous two weeks. The opposition leaders Lien Chan and James Soong had been feted on the mainland, and visions of imminent cross-strait rapprochement were conjured up, not least by Beijing-based foreign news media.

Despite the excitement and media attention at home and abroad, Taiwanese in the end seem largely unmoved. The polls for the National Assembly showed no significant discernible shift in the political balance within Taiwan itself. If anything, the visits may have increased adherence to the extremes of pro-and anti-unification forces, and reduced the middle ground occupied by a majority of Taiwanese.

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