As Taiwan's 2024 presidential election begins, Democratic Progressive Party candidate Lai Ching-tak recently attended the "2024 Campus Presidential Marathon" and conducted a "Quick Q&A" challenge with political science students at National Taiwan University on May 5. When the moderator asked, "Which international leader would you most like to have dinner with?" Lai Qingde thought for a second or two before replying: "Chinese President Xi Jinping."

Lai Qingde then explained the reason, saying that if he had the opportunity to share dinner with Xi Jinping, he would "be advised to relax, not to be so stressed, the well-being of the people is the most important, and peace is good for everyone." The nearly one-minute video was posted on the Internet, including Lai Qingde's personal Instagram, and was generally well received, with many netizens leaving messages saying that Lai's statement that he was willing to have dinner with Xi and expressed his peace demands to the other side was "a great answer." Previously, Taiwanese public opinion generally believed that Lai Qingde's support in Taiwan's young ethnic group was not good, and now this "quick question and answer" seems to have the effect of "adding points" for Lai.

However, the interesting thing about the challenge of "Quick Questions and Answers" is that the respondent needs to answer the question in a very short time, rather than after careful calculation, and most of the psychological effects represent the most direct and true thoughts in his heart. If so, Lai Qingde's imagination of the "Xi Lai Hui" reflects to some extent the self-proclaimed "pragmatic Taiwan independence worker's" understanding of cross-strait positioning and peace, and there are many debatable details.

The 2024 Campus President's Marathon kicked off on May 5 at the National Taiwan University Brainstorm Convention Center, and the third session invited Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Lai Ching-tak (front row, center). (Facebook/Asia Pacific Youth Association)

It cannot change the background of Taiwan independence in the two-state theory

Lai Qingde, known as the golden sun of Taiwan independence in Taiwan's political circles, has undergone two adjustments in his cross-strait discourse with the clarity of the 2024 general election. The first time was in early January 2023, when Lai Qingde was fighting for the chairmanship of the DPP, he first threw out the idea of "peace and protection of Taiwan", replacing the catchy "anti-China defense of Taiwan" by the DPP and its wings.

The second time was on January 1 this year, when Lai Qingde was sworn in as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, saying that "I pragmatically believe that Taiwan is already a sovereign and independent country, and there is no need to declare Taiwan's independence again." Looking at the statements of the two times before and after, it is obvious that he, who actively challenged the position, intends to move closer to the middle, dilute his original firm "Taiwan independence" color, and also indicates that the DPP may fine-tune the cross-strait policy line under the storm in the Taiwan Strait, and even continue to follow the "parasitizing" Tsai Ing-wen line under the "Republic of China Constitution" system - the theory of "Taiwan of the Republic of China".

However, although Lai Qingde once visited Chinese mainland during his term as mayor of Tainan, his views on the legal positioning of cross-strait relations may still be the "two-state theory" that cannot be changed. Judging from the "Quick Questions and Answers" of NTU students, the host asked which "international" leaders he wanted to have dinner with, and Lai Qingde replied with "Xi Jinping, President of China", which fully demonstrated his positioning that cross-strait relations are "international relations", and revealed the proposition of "one China, one Taiwan" between the jokes of the game.

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Lai Ching-tak (right) recently attended the "2024 Campus President's Marathon" forum, and held a "Quick Questions and Answers" challenge with political science students of National Taiwan University on May 5. When asked, "Which international leader would you most like to have dinner with?" Lai Qingde replied in seconds: "Xi Jinping". (Twitter@mimimigeneral video screenshot)

Interestingly, this video was edited and reposted to Lai Qingde's personal official Instagram, and the host's verbal question "Which international leader would you most like to have dinner with" was "silenced" and the title "Which head of state would you most like to have dinner with" was rendered in the form of subtitles. The "international leader" has become the "head of state", which shows that Lai Qingde's team is aware of the sensitivity of the "two-state theory" and "one China, one Taiwan", so they quietly moved their hands and feet, but the original video has been circulated on online social platforms, and it is impossible to "Lai" to "Lai".

Taiwan Strait Tension Blames Beijing for "Turning Consequences into Causes"

What is more important is that the current grim situation in the Taiwan Strait is a consensus inside and outside the island, so peace has become the favorite hot word on the lips of politicians of all parties in Taiwan, like a "God card." However, the "peace" that empties concrete history and politics is nothing more than a pale, empty and abstract "peace", which, in addition to being turned into a role in mobilizing votes and deepening confrontation, is equivalent to an impossible "empty promise".

In this "quick question and answer" with the students, Lai Qingde did not forget to emphasize that he wanted to show Beijing in front of Xi Jinping that "peace is good for everyone". His unspoken subtext is to believe that the culprit for undermining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is Beijing, and Taiwan under the Democratic Progressive Party is the most innocent "victim" of the "Chinese threat of force". This clever statement is the same as the reason for the "anti-war statement" of Taiwan scholars attacked Taiwan scholars on the flank of the Green Camp a few days ago, accusing the anti-war target not Washington but Beijing, because Beijing is eager to "invade" and "annex" Taiwan.

In the face of Beijing's "want peace" and "anti-aggression", such words have won the approval of most people in Taiwan, so Lai Qingde expressed his position to emphasize the importance of peace to Xi Jinping, and of course it will win everyone's favor in online public opinion. The problem is that in addition to allowing Lai Qingde to increase the support of young people, this statement is completely unable to dissolve the growing tension in the Taiwan Strait, and even Lai Qingde's "peace" talk is manipulated with words that reverse cause and effect.

DPP presidential candidate Lai Thanh Tak, who participated in the "2024 Campus President's Marathon", said, "We are pacifists and it is our responsibility to protect the families of our compatriots." (Taiwan Presidential Office)

The biggest variable in Taiwan Strait war or peace is in Taipei

People may wish to recall that eight years ago, the word war hardly existed in the worries of Taiwan society, mainly because there was a political basis for the "consensus of '2016" between the two sides of the strait premised on "one China." After Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party ascended to the throne in <>, she "did not complete the answer" on the issue of cross-strait positioning, tied Taiwan to the US chariot to contain China, and at the same time "invented" theories with the meaning of "two-state theory" such as "Taiwan of the Republic of China" and "the two sides of the strait are not subordinate to each other", after which Taiwan and the surrounding areas of the Taiwan Strait have become "the most dangerous place on the surface" in the eyes of Western media.

In other words, on the issue of cross-strait positioning and peace war, it is not Beijing but Taipei that has changed, and the presidential office of the Democratic Progressive Party is probably the biggest variable in the Taiwan Strait situation. Lai Qingde can flip through the report of the 2022th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, or go to the white paper "The Taiwan Issue and the Cause of China's Reunification in the New Era" published in August (8), where the leader of Beijing not only verbally stated, but also declared in black and white the general policy of "peaceful reunification": "strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and utmost efforts"; The "non-peaceful means" are explicitly aimed at "interference by external forces and a very small number of 'Taiwan independence' separatists and their separatist activities", and "absolutely not against Taiwan compatriots". Lai Qingde is not yet on the "Taiwan independence diehards list" of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, so is he eager to "take a seat"?

According to the current polls in Taiwan, Lai Qingde's chances of winning the 2024 Taiwan election are not low. As a leader who is quite likely to lead Taiwan forward in the world changes, Lai Qingde is not only responsible for his past "Taiwan independence" proposition, but also needs to clearly understand Taiwan's position and the subjective and objective conditions it faces in the new situation, find a pragmatic and feasible cross-strait line, and open a way out for "peace".

When the "consensus of '92" was still the "blacklist" of the DPP, Lai Qingde wanted to "have dinner" with Xi Jinping, but it was just a joke. When the "two-state theory" and "one China, one Taiwan" are still Lai Qingde's "background", how should Taiwan Strait relations be "relaxed"? When the elites of the US political and academic media still believe that "a war must eventually be fought" with China, and the Taiwanese rulers do not reject the setting of the battlefield in Taiwan, Lai Qingde actually found the wrong target for calling for "peace".

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