News / Asia

Q&A: China's Evolving Rapprochement With Taiwan

Wang Yu-chi, front left, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, shakes hands with Zhang Zhijun, front right, director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, before their meeting in Nanjing, in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, Feb. 11, 2014.
Wang Yu-chi, front left, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, shakes hands with Zhang Zhijun, front right, director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, before their meeting in Nanjing, in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, Feb. 11, 2014.
Victor Beattie
Cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan have embarked on "a fast-track to development," according China's state-run Global Times today. 

The Chinese news agency Xinhua says last week's first-ever formal meeting between the two cross-straits affairs offices in Nanjing signaled relations have "entered a new chapter." 

VOA’s Victor Beattie asked regional political analysts for an assessment of the relationship.  He spoke with professors Joseph Cheng of Hong Kong City University and Jean-Pierre Cabestan of Hong Kong Baptist University, and William Sharp at Hawaii-Pacific University:

BEATTIE: Where do you see the recent talks leading?

CHENG: The major objective on the part of both parties is to have a meeting between President  Ma Ying-jeou and President Xi Jinping at the APEC meeting to be held in Beijing in October.

BEATTIE: The official of China’s government indicated that such an APEC meeting between the two leaders would be considered inappropriate.

CHENG: Both parties intend to engage in some kind of bargaining.  Beijing says an informal summit would be inappropriate because of the potential of creating the image of equal, state-to-state relations. But Taiwan has important elections coming in November, and with the ruling Nationalist Party losing popularity, Beijing may feel it has a dwindling window of opportunity to achieve a reconciliation before the political debate begins.

SHARP:  The Nationalist Party is not doing well. They know it and the mainland knows it. They see their chances for ultimate unification better being served while the Nationalist Party is in power. The prospect of a meeting between the Chinese and Taiwanese presidents would serve the Nationalists well.

BEATTIE: What would be the the importance and the symbolism of such a meeting?

CABESTAN: Well of course the symbolism is very, very important in the sense that it would be a strong message to the world that Taipei and Beijing have reconciled, they have reached consensus in spite of their differences on many issues. And, that would also sort of constrain any subsequent leader of Taiwan to follow the same path, even if someone from the opposition party was elected president of Taiwan.

BEATTIE: So these meetings between Taiwan and Chinese officials will really have no bearing on cross-Strait relations for the present time?

SHARP: They’re bound to have some impact, but I think it’s fairly minimal. There is always the possibility of Taiwan establishing a de facto consulate on the mainland and the mainland establishing the same on Taiwan. There’s also talk about offering more medical services to two mainland students in Taiwan. Things like this could possibly happen.

CABESTAN: For President Xi, in the middle of an environment that is more tense with Japan and other Southeast Asian countries, the benefit of pursuing reconciliation with Taiwan is that it shows China can produce change and can develop a civilized relationship even with an historic foe.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid