Chinese President Xi Jinping sought to push Taiwanese closer to unification with a new year speech mixing carrots and sticks.
That hasn’t panned out. Instead, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has enjoyed a surge in support, according to public opinion surveys and interviews.
The residents of this self-governing island are as much inclined as ever to resist China’s demands.
Xi in his speech renewed a proposal of a “one country, two systems” arrangement under which Taiwan would accept Chinese sovereignty while retaining its own economic and legal systems. The same promise was made to Hong Kong, but that arrangement has become increasingly frayed.
Jarringly for many Taiwanese, Xi mixed his outreach with a reminder that Beijing is maintaining its threat to use military force to bring the island under its control.