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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid