News / Asia

Politics Loom as China, Taiwan Plan High-Level Talks

Wang Yu-chi, minister of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, speaks during a press conference in Taipei, Jan. 28, 2014.
Wang Yu-chi, minister of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, speaks during a press conference in Taipei, Jan. 28, 2014.
Ralph Jennings
Taiwan announced it will hold ministerial-level talks with China next month. The two sides are likely to discuss issues that would advance Beijing’s goal of unifying the two separately ruled sides.
Taiwan said Tuesday its China policy architect, Wang Yu-chi, will visit two Chinese cities from February 11 to 14. Wang, who is minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, will meet Zhang Zhijun, minister of China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, during the visit.
The first such high-level meeting between the two sides presents an opportunity to discuss tough political issues that have kept the Asian neighbors deeply divided for more than 60 years.
Nathan Liu, an international affairs professor at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, said public reaction may play a critical role in how much gets done at the talks.
“This will be an ice-breaking movement leading to real political discussion or political issues. If the reaction from the general public is good, not too much trouble, I think they’ll just go ahead,” said Liu.
There is no official agenda for next month’s meeting, but experts believe it could set the stage for, among other things, working out a peace accord and joining together in international organizations that now only allow China.
The two ministers also are expected next month to discuss establishing de facto consular offices. Those first-ever offices would service the surge in visits by Chinese and Taiwanese investors, and Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan.
China and Taiwan have been separately ruled since the civil war of the 1940s, but Beijing claims sovereignty over the island and has threatened to use force if peaceful reunification fails. In 2008, the two sides broke their impasse with a series of trade, transit and investment deals worked out by semi-official negotiators.
Democratic Taiwan still shunned political talks because much of the island’s public prefers to keep a distance from its Communist neighbor. However, last year Chinese President Xi Jinping publicly urged Taiwan to start talking politics soon. On Tuesday, China's Taiwan Affairs Office called the meeting an important move to develop relations.
Economic powerhouse China has used investment and trade perks to sustain informal dialogue with Taiwan since 2008, and analysts say it now wants to start covering topics that it cares about more, namely reunification.
The business community would welcome talks that ease tension, making China and Taiwan a safer place for long-term investment. Taiwanese, however, may protest if the ministerial discussions touch on issues that invite reunification.

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Comment Sorting
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
January 29, 2014 2:52 AM
Mainland people of China and Island people of Taiwan are the most economic power house in that region. They should unite under the principal of ONE country two system basis. If unity becomes reality, China/Taiwan will eventually rule the whole world by economic means.

by: Jackson Lee from: South Korea
January 29, 2014 2:35 AM
God bless there is never war in east Asia

by: MikeBarnett from: USA
January 28, 2014 4:31 PM
Most of the world accepts that Taiwan is a province of China. Of the 193 members of the UN, only 21 and the Vatican recognize and maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The USA does not legally recognize Taiwan as an independent state, but it passed the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979 to provide arms and training.

China's GDP grows at several times the rate of the US. The economy pays for the military and develops its technological tools. China should pass the US economically and militarily in a few years. US leaders knew that this would happen, but they thought that it would be in 2050 when they were all dead. Two badly fought US wars, numerous unwise US interventions, and three US technology, corporate, and financial crises have caused China's relative advance to occur more rapidly.

The US and NATO fight a war against islamic insurgents over US support for Israel and Arab dictators and over US bases in the Arabian Peninsula. China fights in Xinjiang; Russia fights in the southern Caucasus; and China, Russia, and the four "stans" in the SCO prepare for conflict in central Asia after the US and NATO leave in 2014. In WWII, the US and future NATO countries were allies of Russia and China but did not adopt dictatorial political systems. The West need not adopt the current political systems of Russia and China in the current situation. The US and NATO fail to recognize their defeats and their de facto allies. The West drains its resources for small places that give little or no help in its wars, so the West deserves its decline and defeat.

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
January 28, 2014 12:50 PM
Wish china and Taïwan will soon reunify peacefully.

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