Ma Ying-jeou‘s likely election as Taiwan’s president on March 22 is raising expectations of a rapid end to military tensions and economic restrictions with mainland China. They may be misplaced.
While Ma has made clear that he wants to be more conciliatory than President Chen Shui-bian, he’ll be constrained by voters’ desire for incremental rather than wholesale change, and by China’s military buildup near Taiwan, says Andrew Yang, secretary-general of the Taipei-based Council of Advanced Policy Studies.
“We shouldn’t have over-expectations,” says Yang, a former adviser to Taiwan’s government. “Any opening will be gradual, and unlikely to be achieved quickly in one big step.”