Yesterday’s Associated Press article featured below might indicate movement between China and Taiwan in terms of closer military cooperation and inclusion in some international organizations. The language seems softer than in the past and no date for reunification was set forth by Hu.
Now that the three links have been established, what should the next step be? Would it be membership in the WHO, demilitarization between the island and mainland, or something in the economic realm?
China’s Hu urges closer ties with Taiwan
Chinese President Hu Jintao said Wednesday that often-hostile relations with Taiwan have improved greatly over the past three decades and that Beijing remains committed to its long-term goal of peaceful reunification with the island.
Associated Press Writer
“Great changes have been made in the cross-strait relationship with efforts by compatriots from both sides of the strait,” Hu said in an address marking the 30th anniversary of a message from China to “compatriots in Taiwan” calling for reunification by peaceful means.
Hu also laid out the possibility of discussions with Taiwan on the highly sensitive military level.
“The two sides can engage in … contacts and communications on military issues when appropriate, and discussions on building a trust mechanism for military safety,” he said.
At the same time, Hu reinforced Beijing’s “one China” policy, saying to heavy applause that “any attempt to separate Taiwan is doomed to failure.”
“We call on both sides to negotiate on ending hostilities and reaching a peace agreement on the principle of one China,” Hu said.
He specifically addressed Taiwan’s pro-independence political party, urging it to give up its policies.
“As long as the Democratic Progressive Party changes its Taiwan independence policy, we are willing to make a positive response,” he said.
On Jan. 1, 1979, China’s Communist Party announced a reversal of its official policy of using “armed liberation” to repatriate Taiwan, replacing it with a policy of “peaceful reunification.” Since then, about 1 million Taiwanese have moved to China to live and work, investing an estimated $150 billion on the mainland.
China and Taiwan split in 1949 during a civil war, but Beijing considers the self-governed island a part of its territory and is determined to get it back, by force if necessary.
Relations between the rivals have improved greatly since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, a politician from the Beijing-friendly Nationalist Party, took power in May.
Earlier this year, the two sides agreed to begin direct air and shipping services across the Taiwan Strait, ending a nearly six-decade ban on regular links. Regular direct flights resumed Dec. 15.
Hu said China would be willing to work with Taiwan on getting it admitted into international organizations.
“The issue of Taiwan’s involvement in events held by international organizations could be reasonably arranged through pragmatic negotiations under the condition of not causing “two Chinas” or “one China and one Taiwan,” Hu said.
Ma has made participation in international organizations a key goal of his presidency, and has openly pushed to join the World Health Assembly, a United Nations body.