A Politically and Economically Secure Cross-Strait Common Market
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 9, 2013
Summary: The 2013 Boao Forum for Asia has significance for Taiwan. Newly
installed CCP leader Xi Jinping and former ROC vice president Siew were
the first to enshrine the concept of a cross-strait common market. At
Boao, Xi Jinping spoke of a "win/win trend consistent with peaceful
development and cooperation." He said the two sides must increase
mutually beneficial cooperation, and promote cross-strait peaceful
development. Under Xi Jinping's leadership, the CCP authorities should
respect Taipei's views, and ensure Taipei's autonomy. The CCP must
respect Taipei's political and economic security, promote cross-Strait
cooperation in trade, customs, and currency. The CCP must promote the
ideal of a cross-Strait common market, and lay a solid foundation for
the two sides' further integration.
Full text below:
A Siew Xi Summit took place in Boao, Hainan on the 8th. Once again, political leaders from Taipei introduced business leaders to newly installed CCP leader Xi Jinping. This is of considerable importance to cross-Strait relations. During the Siew Xi Summit, former Vice President Siew urged the two sides to confront the new strategic picture. He urged the two sides to take part in regional economic integration, and increase cross-Strait cooperation. CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping expressed satisfaction with cross-Strait cooperation and exchanges. He praised former Vice President Siew for his long-standing and far-sighted advocacy of a cross-Strait common market.
During the Siew Xi Summit, former Vice President Siew called on the two sides to "confront the new situation, agree on a common vision, connect with Asia and the Pacific, and revitalize the Chinese nation." Compare this slogan to former General Secretary Hu Jintao's slogan during the April, 2008 Boao Forum. Hu urged the two sides to "confront reality head on, create the future, set aside disputes, pursue a win-win scenario." The current slogan is more explicit about the cross-Strait situation. It urges the two sides to work together to broaden their horizons. By implication, Taiwan businesses hope to relocate. They hope to participate more in Asian-Pacific regional economic cooperation.
The Boao Forum for Asia is dominated by the Chinese mainland. It enables Asian-Pacific government leaders and business leaders to engage in economic cooperation and dialogue. It enables the two sides' top officials to meet and communicate. It enables Taiwan businessmen on the Mainland to voice their concerns about the investment environment.
The ROC delegation made these advanced declarations. Nevertheless the Siew Xi Summit urges "Less politics, more economics and trade," in other words, the avoidance of sensitive political issues. The CCP however, did not create the Boao Forum for Asia as a purely economic forum. The forum also serves a political and diplomatic function. CCP academics and the media, such as Xinhua, consider Xi Jinping's Boao Forum address a declaration of the CCP's new foreign policy, one that reflects current conditions in Asia and the world as a whole. The Boao Forum remains an important mechanism through which the CCP can expand its political and economic relations.
The ROC delegation, led by former Vice President Siew, spoke with CCP leaders. They vowed to take on major political and economic challenges. They informed CCP leaders what they were hoping for. They told CCP leaders they hoped to accelerate follow-up consultations on the cross-strait economic cooperation agreement framework (ECFA). They told CCP leaders that the people and the government on Taiwan want to join international economic and trade organizations. They told CCP leaders that they want to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries. They politely and indirectly told Xi Jinping and other senior CCP leaders, that they hoped the CCP would not interfere with Taipei's overseas trade activities out of political considerations. In particular, they told CCP leaders they hoped the CCP would not impose a diplomatic blockade on Taipei's foreign trade and economic activities.
Xi Jinping responded. He spoke of the need to increase cross-Strait communication, coordination, and to actively explore how Taipei might participate. He hoped arrangments could be made that would provide new vitality and dynamism to Taiwan's economic development. This was Xi Jinping's first act as leader of the Chinese Communist Party. It was the first time the two sides attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation mechanism and offered a response. Nevertheless Taipei cannot help but worry that the CCP was were merely going through the motions, in order to delay Taipei's membership in regional economic cooperation organizations.
It is now easier for the two sides to talk about the cross-Strait situation. But overcoming the actual obstacles remains difficult. In recent years, the Boao Forum has become the occasion for political leaders and business leaders in Asian-Pacific countries to meet and exchange ideas. High-level talks take place between the two sides of the Strait at this annual meeting. But hammering out a forceful response to cross-Strait relations remains difficult.
Fortunately, former Vice President Siew spoke directly to CCP leaders. He told them that Taipei hopes to join regional economic cooperation organizations. This does not mean that Taipei will immediately enjoy greater international breathing space. But Taipei must strike a balance in its relations with Beijing and Washington. It must use SEF, ARATS, and other mechanisms to communicate and coordinate. This will complement follow-up consultations on ECFA. By adopting a multi-pronged approach, Taipei may be able to join regional economic and trade organizations in the near future.
The ROC government used the appropriate channels. It encouraged the appointment of Taiwan experts. CCP leaders, government leaders, and foreign policy leaders, began paying attention to the political views of the public on Taiwan. They realized that the public on Taiwan wants to join regional economic organizations. They realized that this affects the development of Taiwan businesses, and that this is a major issue that affects the livelihood of the people.
The 2013 Boao Forum for Asia has significance for Taiwan. Newly installed CCP leader Xi Jinping and former ROC vice president Siew were the first to enshrine the concept of a cross-strait common market. At Boao, Xi Jinping spoke of a "win/win trend consistent with peaceful development and cooperation." He said the two sides must increase mutually beneficial cooperation, and promote cross-strait peaceful development. Under Xi Jinping's leadership, the CCP authorities should respect Taipei's views, and ensure Taipei's autonomy. The CCP must respect Taipei's political and economic security, promote cross-Strait cooperation in trade, customs, and currency. The CCP must promote the ideal of a cross-Strait common market, and lay a solid foundation for the two sides' further integration.