Establish Sensible and Reasonable Cross-Strait Relations
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 21, 2013
Summary: Former KMT Chairman Lien Chan undertook his "Journey of Peace" to the Chinese mainland in April 2005. He and former Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao announced "five shared visions." The two parties established channels for high-level dialogue. In 2008, the KMT returned to office. The two sides initiated in high-level dialogue. This played a major role in the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. Recently they concluded the Wu Xi Meeting. It lasted only a few hours. But it may pave the way for an entirely new cross-Strait relationship.
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Former KMT Chairman Lien Chan undertook his "Journey of Peace" to the Chinese mainland in April 2005. He and former Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao announced "five shared visions." The two parties established channels for high-level dialogue. In 2008, the KMT returned to office. The two sides initiated in high-level dialogue. This played a major role in the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. Recently they concluded the Wu Xi Meeting. It lasted only a few hours. But it may pave the way for an entirely new cross-Strait relationship.
For starters, the Wu Xi Meeting was followed by the Obama Xi Meeting between Washington and Beijing. This means that KMT leaders have a clear understanding of the International political situation. They are well aware of the role the United States plays in cross-Strait relations, It cannot be ignored. Barack Obama and Xi Jinping addressed the "Taiwan issue." In terms of content, it was the same old tune. Both sides stuck to their guns. But Obama enthusiastically affirmed progress in cross-Strait relations, This means that cross-Strait reconciliation has a neighborhood effect. Not only can it lead to "win-win." It can even lead to "win-win-win." Looking to the future, cross-Strait relations must continue in the direction of peaceful development. There is simply no alternative.
Secondly, the Wu Xi Meeting addressed cross-Strait policy priorities. It provided ruling authorities on the two sides opportunities to refamiliarize themselves with each other. The Chinese Communist Party has completed its power transfer. Xi Jinping is the new leader of the CCP. Much speculation has emerged concerning various aspects of his policy. Take Taiwan policy. In the short-term most observers think Xi will dutifully implement Hu's policies. But new people often have new ways of doing things. Some are worried that Xi will pressure Taipei to take part in cross-Strait political negotiations. Meanwhile, President Ma is approaching the end of his second and final term. He is about to become a lame duck. This has led to numerous complaints that the Ma administration lacks a sufficiently proactive Mainland policy. President Xi Jinping admits that his talk with KMT Honorary Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung changed some of his preconceptions about President Ma Ying-jeou. We believe the Wu Xi Meeting will at least prevent the two sides from misjudging each other, and that it will prevent misunderstandings.
Finally, the Wu Xi Meeting was rooted in strategic national interest. For example, Xi Jinping placed particular emphasis on the notion that "both sides of the Strait are members of the same family." Wu Poh-hsiung stressed "national identity." He said "one does not choose one's ancestors." We are all members of the same family. Therefore, as long as we are considering the long term interests of the nation, the two sides need not haggle over "Who made what concession to whom."
Most importantly, for cross-Strait relations to move forward, requires more than lip service. It requires seriously consideration of a wide range of practical matters. On this point, the CCP 18th National Congress proposed "sensible and reasonable" arrangements for cross-Strait relations. This was an inspired notion. It means the two sides can "seek common ground while setting aside differences." It means they can "preserve what they share in common, even as they dissolve their differences."
The term "sensible" connotes the senses. It has emotional connotations. The term "sensible" implies consistency with human nature. Take Taipei's Mainland policy. Has it taken into account the Mainland's peaceful rise? Has it taken into account the resulting nationalist sentiment and public calls for democratization? Now take the Mainland's Taiwan policy. Has it taken into account Taiwan's desire for breathing room and freedom from military threats? If the parties think only of themselves, or worse, treat each other with hostility it will only hurt the feelings of people on both sides.
The term "reasonable" connotes the rational faculties. It involves objective standards. The term "reasonable" encompasses universal values, including the underlying rules of civilization. The term "reasonable" implies certain legal norms, aka, jurisprudence. Whatever is "reasonable" must be fair. If it is unfair, then it cannot be reasonable. Reason is a universal value. Only reasonable policies can win public support. The establishment of cross-Strait representative offices will benefit the people on both sides. If the two sides become stuck over details such as "humanitarian access," that is unreasonable. President Ma has reiterated that the handling of cross-Strait relations and Mainland policy are consistent with the framework of the ROC Constitution. Therefore allegations that Wu Poh-hsiung's proposals during the Wu Xi Meeting were "unconstitutional" are unfounded.
In short, Wu Poh-hsiung was duly authorized by Ma Ying-jeou to speak on his behalf. Therefore the Wu Xi Meeting confirms that the ruling authorities on both sides have handled cross-Strait issues quite well. They have considered the future of the Chinese nation. They have realistically safeguarded the interests of people on both sides. This is the most urgent task facing the two sides. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We look forward to concrete moves by adminstrative agencies on both sides. Cross-Strait relations should be systematized as soon as possible. This will enable the two sides and the international community to get along, and to make sensible and reasonable arrangements.