Blood is thicker than water. Even the water that separates both sides of the Taiwan Strait. However, the peaceful reunification of China now seems more distant.
The One Country Two Systems formula put forth by Deng Xiaoping to accomplish this goal has little support on the island.This has been shown in opinion polls and in last Saturday's elections that led to a landslide victory of Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwan president.
The crisis in Hong Kong turned out to be a determining factor as a year ago Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Han Kuok-yu was a favorite in the opinion polls.In the voting booth, local identity, relationship with mainland China, and the situation in Hong Kong weighed far more than domestic factors such as some dissatisfaction with Tsai's governance. The re-elected president has a significant popular mandate in a successful electoral act, confirming the strength of Taiwan's democratic system. It is now more crucial than ever to take steps towards a direct political dialogue between Taipei and Beijing. Tsai expressed willingness to take this step, but without fulfilling the Beijing requirement - accepted by the KMT - for adherence to the One China principle (subject to different interpretations on each side), which follows from the so-called "1992 Consensus".
While it is clear that the One Country Two Systems policy is not, at this stage, welcomed on the island, opinion polls also continue to indicate a majority in favor of maintaining the status quo, contrary to the formal declaration of independence.
The priority should now be to look for a new way to get Beijing and Taipei out of their immovable positions. On the one hand, Beijing will have to focus on a new approach that meets the wishes expressed by voters at the polls (with a particular focus on young people), to improve the implementation of the One Country Two Systems principle in the special administrative regions and to abandon the threatening tone; On the other hand, in Taipei Tsai should avoid provocative gestures, should take a more conciliatory, constructive and pragmatic approach to mainland China and avoid being instrumentalized by Washington. The waters in the strait should remain choppy in the short term, but a new vision, another context of mutual respect, appreciation of rights and freedoms and creativity in the formula to be found could, in the long term, lead to peaceful reunification and shared development.