News / Asia

China, Taiwan Progress Will Take Time

China, Taiwan Progress Will Take Timei
X
February 13, 2014 3:41 AM
Relations between China and Taiwan have taken a symbolic step forward with the highest level talks in decades, and Taipei's top cross-strait official visiting the burial ground of Sun Yat-sen in Nanjing, a city of historical and emotional significance for both sides. VOA's Mark Snowiss reports.
China and Taiwan, at odds for more than six decades, have taken a symbolic step forward with the highest level talks since the end of China's civil war in 1949.
 
But significant reconciliation between the former bitter rivals is likely to move slowly and deliberately, according to political observers.
 
Taipei has embraced growing commercial and cultural ties with Beijing following Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's election in 2008.
 
Cross-Strait trade has nearly doubled over the course of his presidency as Taiwanese companies have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in the mainland. Tourism has increased as well, as nearly 3 million Chinese traveled to Taiwan last year.
 
In 2010, the two sides signed a landmark trade deal, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, and Ma has restored direct flights and other measures.
 
But political rapprochement has been harder to forge.
 
This week's talks between the heads of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and China's Taiwan Affairs Office did not result in any formal agreements, although negotiators are optimistic.
 
"[Tuesday's] meeting is just a beginning, but it will push forward cross-straits relations in the right direction," said Wang Yu-chi, who directs Taiwan's MAC.
 
Breakaway province vs. separate entity
 
China considers Taiwan a breakaway province, while the self-ruled island sees itself as an entity separate from the mainland.
 
These varying perspectives are likely to color political negotiations as they move forward - with Taiwan looking to stick to issues such as trade, culture and education, as well as the politically-charged topic of visitation rights for Taiwanese prisoners in China.
 
Political reconciliation, however, remains a sensitive issue on the freewheeling, democratic island.
 
Beijing's long-term goal, to reunify Taiwan with the mainland, remains a tough sell across the strait, according to Alan Romberg of Washington's Stimson Center.
 
"If you ask the question 'do you want unification?' 70 to 80 percent of the [Taiwanese] people say 'no.' So, there's a lot of work to be done in order to move in that direction," Romberg said.
 
Taiwan's China-friendly government is also limited by the strength of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party in parliament.
 
"Although Beijing is somewhat impatient with the pace of development, on the one hand they do understand the political constraints in Taiwan," said Romberg.
 
"And so, while maybe they think Taipei could do a bit more even within those constraints than the Ma government thinks it can do, they also understand this is not something that can be rushed in a couple years or so," he added.
 
The process is moving forward and a second round of talks is expected in Taiwan, possibly in April.

Mark Snowiss

Mark Snowiss is a Washington D.C.-based multimedia reporter.  He has written and edited for various media outlets including Pacifica and NPR affiliates in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @msnowiss and on Google Plus

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid