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 Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid