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PacNet #5 – Beijing Fears about Chen Shui-bian Subside as Taiwan’s Political and Economic Troubles Mount

China’s alarmist reaction to the election of Chen Shui-bian as Taiwan’s president last March has given way to a more relaxed posture. Beijing is no longer worried that Chen will seek a near-term separation of Taiwan from the Mainland. Chen’s political and economic difficulties have evoked a self-satisfied response from China, which largely attributes Chen’s predicament to his vacillating policy toward China and his failure to improve cross-Strait relations. It judges Chen as beleaguered and constrained by political opponents from within his own party (the DPP) and from the opposition. Taiwan’s political confusion and economic woes are seen as pressuring Chen to make concessions to Beijing.