Wu Xi Meeting: What is the Relationship between Taiwan and the Mainland?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 14, 2013
Summary: Yesterday Xi Jinping expressed palpable goodwill. He also proposed a cross-Strait "military mutual trust mechanism" and "peace agreement." But he must make "reasonable arrangements for cross-Strait political relations under special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified." Otherwise, how can his hopes be fulfilled?
Full Text below:
Just before the Wu Xi Meeting, most speculation was directed at Xi Jinping's cross-Strait policy. Would it harsher than President Hu Jintao's? Some even predicted that Xi would resort to threatening rhetoric.
But the general impression following the meeting was that although Xi Jinping upholds the "one China framework," his cross-Strait policy is no harsher than his predecessor's. In fact, it may even be more liberal, and offer greater maneuveuring room.
Compare this meeting with other meetings over the past five years. The recent Wu Xi Meeting included a political proclamation that upheld the "one China framework" and stressed that cross-Strait relations were "not relations between different countries." This may be regarded as old rhetoric. But the recent meeting achieved greater concrete results than ever before. For example, the KMT expressed a desire to participate in the RCEP (regional comprehensive economic partnership). The CCP expressed the desire to sign cultural agreements. The hallmark of the Wu Xi Meeting was its plain language, realism, and pragmatism.
The meeting zeroed in on several issues. Wu Poh-hsiung was the KMT's authorized representative to the CCP leadership. Wu proclaimed that "cross-Strait relations are not state to state relations." Before Wu Poh-hsiung's departure, President Ma Ying-jeou expressed this same position many times. But this was the very first time the KMT issued such a proclamation right in front of the CCP.
What Wu Poh-hsiung said was that according to the two sides' laws, both sides should uphold the one-China principle. Both use the one-China framework when defining cross-Strait relations. Both define the relationship as non-state to state relations.
Wu Poh-hsiung's reasoning can be expanded as follows: Under the ROC's "one China constitution" and "one China, different interpretations," cross-Strait relations are of course not "state to state relations," since they are both part of "one China."
The two sides talk about "cross-Strait relations" every day. But what precisely is the relationship between Taiwan and the Mainland? In fact, we have a ready-made answer. It is "cross-Strait political relations under special circumstances in which the two sides have yet to be reunified." As Yu Zhengsheng, Chairman of the CPPCC observed, it is a relationship "in progress."
In order to establish cross-Strait representative offices, President Ma repeatedly proclaimed that "cross-Strait relations are not state to state relations." Beijing has stressed that they are emphatically "not diplomatic in nature," and are "not embassies or consulates." In other words, neither side defines cross-Strait relations as "the relationship between the ROC and the PRC." Such a definition smacks of "state to state relations." But the Republic of China and the Peoples Republic of China obviously exist. It is merely that neither recognizes the other. But a flower is a flower all the same. Merely because one refuses to recognize it, does not mean it is not a flower.
The relationship between the PRC and the ROC is not the same as the relationship between the People's Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Both the PRC and Vietname see the other as foreign countries. But neither is the relationship between the PRC and the ROC like the relationship betwen the PRC and Fujian Province. After all, Beijing would never establish a "Fujianese Compatriates Office" in Fuzhou. The cross-Strait relationship is rooted in the two sides' constitutional frameworks and legal systems. It is not a relationship between foreign states. But in practice both sides see the relationship as a "non-foreign state to state relationship." This is what is meant by "cross-Strait political relations under special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified."
The phrase "cross-Strait political relations under special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified," means that although the nation has yet to be reunified, the two sides are attempting to establish "one China" linkage points. The phrase "yet to be reunified" means that the People's Republic of China and the the Republic of China have yet to be reunified. Neither side recognizes the other as a "state." But this deprives "one China" of a linkage point. Therefore, although neither side recognizes the other as a "foreign state," that does not mean they cannot recognize each other as a "non-foreign state." They can use the "big roof concept of China" as a "one-China" linkage point. This may enable them to establish "cross-Strait political relations under special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified."
As Wu Poh-hsiung noted, each sides upholds its own constitution, thereby upholding the cross-Strait "one China framework." The ROC and the PRC coexist, side by side, under special circumstances in which the two sides have yet to be reunified." This is hardly "relations between one foreign country and another." This is the pillar of the "one China framework."
Therefore, the two sides should not endlessly bicker over whether cross-Strait relations are state to state relations. Cross-Strait relations are "political relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China under special circumstances." The circumstances are special because neither the Republic of China nor the People's Republic of China can eliminate each other. This has led to "special circumstances," and "a yet to be reunified" state of affairs. The two sides may refuse to recognize each other. But they cannot eliminate each other either. Doing so would not aid reunification. It would merely eliminate a linkage point for the "one China framework." It would merely weaken Taiwanese emotional identification with the "one China framework."
Yesterday Xi Jinping expressed palpable goodwill. He also proposed a cross-Strait "military mutual trust mechanism" and "peace agreement." But he must make "reasonable arrangements for cross-Strait political relations under special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified." Otherwise, how can his hopes be fulfilled?
2013.06.14 04:19 am