Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mutual Trust Essential to Cross-Strait Peace

Mutual Trust Essential to Cross-Strait Peace
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 20, 2013

Summary: We are pleased to see the Mainland successfully complete its generational power transfer. We are optimistic about the vision set forth by the new leaders. Can the two sides establish a new and improved relationship? The establishment of a long-lasting framework for cross-Strait relations is a common dream for people on both sides.

Full Text below:

In November of last year, the CCP held its 18th National Congress. A new generation of Mainland leaders assumed power. This was a vast intergenerational political undertaking. The 12th National People's Congress recently adjourned. Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang were elected President and Premier. The fifth generation leadership system was officially launched.

Overall, the transfer of power proceeded smoothly. The personnel arrangements for the highest positions reflect increased institutionalization. This includes Liu Yunshan, who was twice elected senior member of the seventh session of the Politburo, as well as Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli, who were successfully promoted to the Standing Committee. Junior members such as Li Yuanchao and Wang Yang were assigned to important positions in state organs. They may assume greater responsibility in the future.

Consider policy. Most of the system reforms have left people wanting more. Mainland reforms have now reached the deep end of the pool. Resistance from all manner of special interests, for power or money, will only increase. The new Premier Li Keqiang told reporters that finance, banking, consumer prices, budget reform, and social justice are the most serious grievances. They are the most pressing problems. They are the ones in most urgent need of reform. They will sson test the new leaders' wisdom and determination.

Consider major policies related to cross-strait relations. Li Keqiang declared that the new government would fulfill all the commitments made by the previous one. It would seek new ways to promote cooperation. It would clarify the current status of cross-strait relations. The two sides have finalized their official appointments. Can they consolidate their gains and carry on from here? This is surely what the ruling and opposition parties hope to do.

Xi Jinping spoke during the closing session of the NPC. Nine times he mentioned reform and innovation in order to realize the Chinese dream. Regarding cross-Strait relations, Xi Jinping called on compatriots on both sides to work to support maintain, and promote cross-Strait peace. He gave voice to what most people are feeling. Peace, prosperity, and dignity must be the highest values in cross-Strait exchanges. People on both sides should work together toward this dream.

Li Keqiang stressed the importance of a common cross-Strait homeland. The MAC responded, saying that the Republic of China is our country, and Taiwan is our home. This more specific formulation addressed the issue of legal sovereignty. The two sides share culture and kinship. But some people on Taiwan have reservations about the term "common homeland." The reason is a lack of mutual trust. Therefore increasing mutual trust is imperative for new leaders on both sides of the Strait.

The two sides once differed in their values and belief systems. The two sides had profound doubts about reunification and independence, as well about the use of force. An imbalance in military might and diplomatic influence alienated the two sides from each other. It made mutual trust difficult. But since 2008 exchanges substantially increased. Dialogue not confrontation has enhanced mutual trust. But new structural imbalances and a crisis in confidence have led to new doubts. These have obstructed progress in bilateral relations.

Mainland China has emerged as a political and economic powerhouse. Taiwan investment in Mainland China and market dependence has increased. The discrepancy in military might and economic strength has widened. Taiwan is increasingly isolated from international economic activity and trade. It faces marginalization. These factors have all contributed to a cross-Strait structural imbalance. Consider the loss of self-confidence. The institutionalization of cross-strait exchanges has enhanced mutual trust. But doubts have increased over the Mainland's use of economic and trade factors to promote reunification.

Curren relations across the Strait are relatively stable. The progress made has been encouraging. The next two sessions will complete the signing of ECFA and the establishment of ECFA offices. Increased institutionalization will increase mutual trust. It will balance cross-Strait exchanges. For example, the influx of Mainland capital is increasing. Mainland tourist numbers are increasing. These may establish a more secure foundation for mutual trust. Terms such as "lu sheng" (Mainland students) and "lu pei" (Mainland spouses) have negative connotations. Eliminating such negative connotations can ensure their rights and improve their treatment. Trust between the two sides will provide a new impetus.

The structural imbalance and crisis in confidence have occured just as expectations for cross-Strait exchanges were rising. This has made the problem more difficult. This newspaper addressed the problem in its March 1 editorial. It said high-level dialogue between the two sides should focus on the East Asian regional situation. The editorial recalled KMT Honorary Chairman Lien Chan's visit to the Mainland. Lien addressed such issues as balance, equality, and a workable political framework. These can aid cooperation in international trade.

We reiterate our previous recommendations. Taiwan has not been able to take part in the new regional economic liberalization and regionalization. As a result, this has become the main obstacle to increased trust. The fundamental contradiction must be satisfactorily resolved. Until then, other political issues will be difficult to promote. The government must broaden channels of communication. It must help people understand that cross-Strait political agreements do not necessarily mean reunification. They are merely conducive to stability in the Strait.

We are pleased to see the Mainland successfully complete its generational power transfer. We are optimistic about the vision set forth by the new leaders. Can the two sides establish a new and improved relationship? The establishment of a long-lasting framework for cross-Strait relations is a common dream for people on both sides.
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