Taiwan’s legislature has revised a set of security-related laws in what analysts see as a move to thwart the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang (KMT) from playing the cross-strait card during January’s presidential election next year. The legislature amended two laws – one extending a travel ban on former senior officials from going to mainland China and the other to expand the scope of treason under the criminal procedures law to include collusion with the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau. Legislators from the ruling independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party said the laws were to prevent everybody – not just KMT members – from leaking secrets to the mainland or spying for Beijing. But KMT legislator Wang Yu-min said the amendments were aimed at the island’s former leaders. “The revision of the Classified National Security Information Protection Act, which extends the travel ban on senior officials who had access to classified national security information from three to six years is mainly designed to block [former president] Ma Ying-jeou and [former vice-president] Wu Den-yih from visiting the mainland,” Wang said. Wang said Wu, who now heads the KMT, had planned to visit the mainland and attend the annual cross-strait forum held in rotation by the KMT and the Communist Party. The forums have been held since 2006, with some resulting in Beijing offering a host of economic sweeteners to Taiwanese. Under the old regulations, the travel ban on Wu would have expired on May 20 but the changes now mean he will need special approval from President Tsai Ing-wen, from the DPP. Recognise Taiwan’s title and then we’ll talk, Foxconn billionaire Terry Gou tells Beijing Cross-strait relations had warmed during Ma’s time as president between 2008 and 2016 but have soured since Tsai took over as the island’s leader and refused to accept the one-China principle. Beijing, which has long viewed Taiwan as a wayward province that must return to the mainland’s fold by force if necessary, has suspended exchanges with Taipei, staged war games around Taiwan, and wooed away five of Taipei’s allies to try to force Tsai comply. Analysts said that with Tsai’s approval rating sinking under the weight of unpopular policies, including the drastic pension and labour reforms, the leader was expected to toughen her stand against Beijing to try to win support from voters to win a second four-year term in January. “Basically, what Tsai is doing, including revising those laws ... is aimed at creating an image of her as the leader who is willing to fight to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty in the face of persistent suppression from the mainland,” said Chinese Culture University political science professor Wang Kung-yi. China: the five-letter word Taiwan’s Kuomintang 2020 hopefuls hesitate to spell out He said Tsai was expected to continue to stoke the idea that the KMT was siding with hostile Beijing and prevent the opposition from playing up the potential benefits of working with the mainland. According to various opinion polls, highly popular Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu, a KMT member, remains ahead of Tsai as preferred leader.