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

    Brexit Vote Triggers Increase in Racist Attacks

    Britain's decision to leave European Union seen by some as 'permission' to unleash anti-immigrant resentment

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    AIIB Takes Big Strides Amid Fears About China's Dominance

    Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank says it is independent, but concerns persist; China holds 20.6 percent of bank's shares, others have less than 7.5 percent each

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmarki
    X
    John Owens
    June 26, 2016 2:04 PM
    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora