Cross-Strait Relations Worth Looking Forward To
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 17, 2013
Summary: According to participants who heard the General Secretary
speak, "Cross-Strait reunification requires above all, a meeting of
hearts and minds." The Mainland is willing to be patient. The Mainland
is confident that cross-Strait exchanges will make people realize that
peaceful development is the best for both sides. The Mainland realizes
this. The Taiwan side should realize this as well. It must be more
pragmatic and less prideful. In particular, it must not send
contradictory messages. Eventually a peaceful resolution for
cross-Strait issues will be found.
Full Text below:
Mainland President Xi Jinping recently met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the Sunnylands Estate in Rancho Mirage, California. They discussed the establishment of a new superpower relationship. General Secretary Xi Jinping later met in Beijing with Honorary Kuomintang Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung. Wu said the talks between the two sides will eliminate many misunderstandings. Xi said they helped him better understand Ma Ying-jeou's position. The talks were cordial. Both sides held their ground, but also demonstrated their goodwill. They agreed on gradual, peaceful development. They agreed to expand relations. Does this mean that both sides are attempting to establish a new cross-Strait relationship? If it does, we approve.
Questions continue to haunt the recent Wu Xi talks. Which side initiated the talks? Which side agreed to them? How were the time, location, and attendees determined? Was the meeting duly authorized? What issues were discussed? Why did President Ma make so many public statements before the meeting? What about the content of his speech, and its emphasis? Whom exactly was he addressing? The public on Taiwan? The Mainland authorities? Or the international community? Why did President Ma give Wu Poh-hsiung's trip his special blessing? Why, by contrast, did he disassociate himself from the earlier trip by Honorary KMT Chairman Lien Chan? Were there political calculations outsiders are not privy to? .
Whatever the answers to these questions might be, the Wu Xi meeting sent the world a powerful political message. Both sides place a high value on the relationship. Peaceful development will continue, based on the one China framework. Cross-Strait relations may expand. Indirect cross-Strait political dialogue has already begun. Neither side wants outsiders to misunderstand. Wu Poh-hsiung and Xi Jinping repeated President Ma Ying-jeou and the CCP Central Committee's words verbatim.
During the talks, Xi Jinping set forth four views on cross-Strait relations. He began with the nation as a whole, and a strategy for national development. He reaffirmed the nature of cross-Strait relations. He reaffirmed national sovereignty and territorial integrity. He reaffirmed the goal of national reinvigoration. He reiterated opposition to Taiwan independence, and to separatist ideas and activities. He called for greater mutual trust, greater efforts to seek common ground, for greater pragmatism and a more positive attitude. This reflects how we, the Chinese people, value essentials over details, and principles over particulars. This underscores the importance we place on consistency in our thinking. During bilateral negotiations, the two sides must first clarify the fundamentals. Only then can they address the specifics.
Consider the specifics. The Taiwan side raised the matter of participation in international activities. Xi Jinping said the two sides agreed in principle to reduce internal friction on foreign issues. He said both sides should meet as equals. The Taiwan side can be specific about its actual needs. Xi Jinping was precise in his wording. He did not use the word "diplomacy," which implies that the two parties are sovereign countries. He spoke only of international events, not organizations. He implied that Taipei should not attempt to introduce outside forces into the equation, or make unilateral demands, even as it refused to consult with the Mainland. The CCP believes the following. One. The two sides must not give the outside world the impression that there are "two Chinas" or that there is an independent Taiwan. Two. The two sides must not tolerate foreign intervention or foreign pressure. Three. The two sides must comply with the statutes of international organizations. The CCP still insists on dealing with cases on an individual basis for the forseeable future.
Honorary KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung issued seven views. These were things that President Ma Ying-jeou should do, must do, and can do. Under the current system, we in the Republic of China, champion a one China framework. Wu affirmed that cross-Strait relations are not state to state relations. Wu addressed the expansion of relations at all levels under ECFA, Taiwan's participation in regional economic organizations, and the establishment of cross-Strait representative offices. These reflect both public opinion on Taiwan and the government's current direction. We applaud their resolute posture.
Honorary KMT Chairman Wu said Taiwan wants meaningful participation in international activities, and the promotion of a cross-Strait educational protocol. In the past, Taiwan demanded participation in international organizations rather than international activities. The Government often sent different signals on cross-Strait educational and cultural agreements. This left people confused. Wu Poh-hsiung's statements however, were authorized by President Ma. We know they are offiical government policy. Taiwan may have learned from past experience. Perhaps it knows that participation in international activities is more important than participation in international organizations. Perhaps it has learned that cultural and educational activities may be the best way to foster a shared perspective and to resolve cross-Strait alienation. Over the next three years, we will be regularly reviewing the effectiveness of the government's policies.
Finally, this newspaper would like to reiterate its past conclusions. Beijing probably has many expectations. But it has already concluded that no solution is possible in the short term. It hopes to create the conditions required for the eventual resolution of the divided China problem. According to participants who heard the General Secretary speak, "Cross-Strait reunification requires above all, a meeting of hearts and minds." The Mainland is willing to be patient. The Mainland is confident that cross-Strait exchanges will make people realize that peaceful development is the best for both sides. The Mainland realizes this. The Taiwan side should realize this as well. It must be more pragmatic and less prideful. In particular, it must not send contradictory messages. Eventually a peaceful resolution for cross-Strait issues will be found.