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 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