News / Asia

    Taiwan Resisting China's Most Ambitious Plans For Stronger Ties

    FILE - Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou.
    FILE - Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou.
    Ralph Jennings
    China has offered a series of proposals to Taiwan over the past half decade to develop stronger ties with the self-ruled island. Beijing wants Taiwan under its control after 65 years of self-rule. Investment and trade deals have won approval on the island, but some of China’s more ambitious projects are falling short as Taiwanese worry about getting too close.
     
    Among the proposals offered by Chinese officials are a bridge, or tunnel, linking the mainland to the island and joint administration of a China-controlled island between the two sides. The two sides are meeting in China this week, but are unlikely to touch these items.
     
    Taiwan has hinted that such mega projects will not work. Liu Yi-jiun, a public affairs professor at Fo Guang University in Taiwan, thinks the public will resist moves that hint of unification.
     
    “To reunify two different sides of the Taiwan Strait is a very clear goal. However, we have to take into consideration how Taiwanese people really think. On the one hand, mainland China is willing to try anything to try to get more goodwill on the part of Taiwan. However, Taiwan, because its size is too small, population too little, people here are very skeptical about how much we can get,” said Yi-Jiun.
     
    Taiwan split from China following a civil war in 1949, but Beijing still regards it as a breakaway province that will someday be reunified with the mainland. Beijing’s attempts to reclaim Taiwan hindered most links until 2008, when the island’s president, Ma Ying-jeou, put aside political issues to build trust through trade and investment agreements. The two sides have reached 19 such deals during Ma's term.
     
    A 2008 agreement to allow mainland Chinese to visit Taiwan has stoked the island’s service sector. More than two million mainland tourists arrived last year. Taiwan will raise its quota this year on independent Chinese travelers from 3,000 to 4,000 per day. Two-way trade following an economic cooperation pact signed in 2010 surpassed $100 billion in 2010. Taiwan has also lowered barriers to mainland Chinese investment.
     
    China welcomes these moves as a way to commingle economies, part of its goal for eventual reunification. However, Taiwan has ignored a proposal for an $80 billion bridge or tunnel across the 160-kilometer Taiwan Strait by 2030, a symbol of unity. Taiwanese investors prefer the internationalized, developed Shanghai area to nearby Pingtan Island, which Chinese officials have picked as a test case for joint rule. A deal liberalizing service trade with China is stuck in Taiwan’s parliament.
     
    Alexander Huang, professor of strategic studies at Tamkang University, in Taiwan, noted the political barriers in Taiwan to further cooperation. Those barriers will keep Beijing's loftier ambitions off the table when the two ministries, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council and Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office, meet again in the future.
     
    “Some [issues] involve domestic politics in Taiwan or different interests of business and industry. I don’t think it will be put on the MAC-TAO agenda any time soon,” said Huang.
                  
    Huang Chun-jung, southern district head of the student association Taiwan Youth Public Affairs, said Taiwanese people will oppose plans that breach autonomy.
     
    Huang said Taiwan and China are basically enemies for now, and that people on the island can accept some economic proposals from the other side, but not all. China’s ideas, Huang said, must not violate Taiwanese autonomy.
     
    Beijing is expected to propose new pro-Taiwan schemes as the island readies for the 2016 presidential election. Ma Ying-jeou cannot run for office again due to term limits, and Beijing wants to impress voters so they replace him with a president friendly to China rather than one favoring greater Taiwanese independence.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora