News / Asia

    China Renews Pressure on Taiwan for Political Talks

    FILE - Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou raises his fist after giving a speech during National Day celebrations in front of the presidential office in Taipei, Oct. 10, 2013.
    FILE - Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou raises his fist after giving a speech during National Day celebrations in front of the presidential office in Taipei, Oct. 10, 2013.
    Ralph Jennings
    China and Taiwan have shelved political hostilities for the past five years to reach a series of trade and investment deals, improving overall relations. Now, China’s president has made a fresh bid for sensitive political talks with Taiwan. However, Taipei’s politically weakened leadership may be unable to deliver.
     
    China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan for more than six decades, and this month Chinese President Xi Jinping told the island that the two sides must eventually discuss their old political differences. Xi made the comment to a Taiwanese envoy at a regional economic summit in Indonesia.
     
    Leonard Chu, an honorary professor specializing in communication and China at National Chengchi University, in Taipei, said the pressure from China should be expected, as should resistance from Taiwan.
     
    “Ever since Deng Xiaoping was still around, he was saying that we want Taiwan to be back and in a matter of time we have to sit down and talk and we can’t just talk about economic issues.  Sooner or later, we have to discuss political issues. Xi wants to push toward that direction for sure, and Taiwan wants to delay it,” explained Chu.
     
    China and Taiwan have been separately ruled since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s, when the Communists defeated the Nationalists. The Nationalists, or Kuomintang, moved their government to Taiwan, 160 kilometers off the coast. China considers Taiwan a part of its territory and has not ruled out the use of force to reunify the two sides.
     
    However, the last military threat was made in 2005; three years later the two sides shelved political differences to sign economic, trade and investment deals that have lifted Taiwan’s economy. Last year, 2.6 million Chinese tourists visited Taiwan, making up 35 percent of the international headcount.
     
    The latest pact would open 64 service sectors in Taiwan and 80 in China, but Beijing is bristling because the legislature in Taipei has stalled over the details.
     
    Many have long viewed China’s goodwill on economic deals as a charm offensive designed to make the island’s public accept eventual political reunification.
     
    This month’s comments from Chinese President Xi Jinping about finally resolving their political differences appeared to back that suspicion up. China wants talks to include a peace accord, Taiwan’s acknowledgement that the two sides belong to one country and more Chinese control over the island’s foreign relations.
     
    Taiwan’s public supports business-related deals with China, the world’s second largest economy. Those pacts helped bring two-way trade to $121 billion last year.
     
    Nonetheless, many Taiwanese remain leery of political agreements that could affect the island’s autonomy. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has been hampered by approval ratings in the teens and low 20s for much of the year. He cannot run for office again in 2016 because of term limits, but to help his ruling Nationalist Party’s reputation he is expected to want broad public support before talking politics with China.
     
    Alexander Huang, strategic studies professor at Taiwan’s Tamkang University, thinks Ma must be careful if he meets his Beijing counterpart.
     
    “The approval rating is pretty low right now, so we cannot say that he does not have the mandate of the people but he would be, I guess, extremely cautious if he thought about doing that. I think people would be interested to see whether… Ma Ying-jeou would be treated in an inferior position,” said Huang.
     
    The Taiwanese president has declined to give a timetable for political talks, and the envoy who met Xi Jinping at the regional cooperation meeting made no further commitment. However, in the face of possible cuts in China’s economic largesse for staying quiet too long, Taiwan’s president is now deciding whether or not to visit China and its leader for the first time next year.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: jack from: china
    November 15, 2013 4:37 AM
    Taiwan is a part of china,no one can change this fact. but taiwan people have been fooled too long that many of them just feel hard to accept the turth,or even dont know them are just chinese.

    by: Wu Hao Yu from: Taipei, Taiwan
    October 24, 2013 11:52 AM
    Thank you for the comment downstairs. I am Taiwanese, I insist that Taiwan be an independent country. We are not communists. We live in a democratic place where the government will not force a pregnant woman to do the abortion operation. I admit our president is a bumbler, but I am convinced that 2016 will be a new and hopeful turning point! Let's wait and see. Taiwan is not surbordinated to China!

    by: ken from: u.s
    October 23, 2013 3:57 AM
    Taiwan is independent country with it's own government, Constitution, Taiwanese Own currency. Taiwanese got Taiwan passport "Not" PRC Passport.

    It does not make any sense Why? China want to claim Taiwan as it's sovereignty.

    "China" Fix your country first. Greed will ruin your appetite.

    Live free and die free


    by: A Taiwanese student from: DC, USA
    October 22, 2013 1:42 PM
    Yap, Taiwan belongs to China, the Republic of China.

    The People's Republic never has, for one single day, ruled Taiwan in its 64 history. We are proud of our democratic and economic achievements, and hope to work with our Chinese friends (maybe future family?) towards a common peaceful and prosperous future. But Beijing really needs to recognizing this "inconvenient" truth first.

    by: Anonymous
    October 22, 2013 5:55 AM
    Taiwan belongs to China.

    by: Anonymous
    October 21, 2013 1:04 PM
    the north korean deployed nuclear weapon has been impacted the eastern asian safely. in the background have china sopport actually with north korean, why US not yet to support the taiwan build nuclear system weapon for improve the balance of politic bargaining chip for negotiation on taiwan?

    by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
    October 21, 2013 11:02 AM
    Go China go!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora