Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ma vows to establish formal cross-strait relations during his final 2 years in office, modeled on East-West Germany

The following is my translation of the full article in Chinese, which can be founhere on the Deutsche Welle's website or on PTT in traditional characters.
Ma Ying-jeou Resolute in Determination to Improve Cross-Strait Relations
(Deutsche Welle - Chinese) Although the policies of easing relations with China have faced strong opposition in Taiwan, President Ma remains insistent on continuing to push the relationship forward. In a recent interview with two German reporters, Ma Ying-jeou expressed his intent to examine the relationships between East and West Germany that ultimately resulted in reunification. He said that efforts are currently underway in Taiwan to gain a more thorough understanding of German history.
Establishing Offices for Cross-Strait Relations
Ma Ying-jeou anticipates that offices will be established to deal with cross-strait relations before the end of his final two years in office. He emphasized that this did not establish official “diplomatic relations,” because the offices would not constitute Embassies. He also expressed his hope that he will be able to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the APEC summit scheduled to take place this November in Beijing.
Over the past six years as President, Ma Ying-jeou has remained committed to easing relations with the People’s Republic of China. In just the past few years, after more than 60 years of mutual hostility, three direct links have been re-established (air and sea transport, and postal services); and a number of bilateral agreements such as ECFA (the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement) have become the cornerstone for Ma’s expansion of cross-strait economic relations. The mainland is currently Taiwan’s largest trading partner, while Taiwan itself is currently the largest holder of investments on the mainland.
Nevertheless, the way forward is hotly debated in Taiwan. Last year, opinion polls showed President Ma Ying-jeou’s favorability ratings fall to 9%. In March of this year, the conflict intensified as university students occupied the Legislative Yuan for more than 3 weeks in protest of the CSSTA (Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement), and were not willing to give up their position until the President of the Legislative Yuan, Wang Jin-ping, agreed to put the pact back on the table for further review.
Despite powerful resistance, President Ma Ying-jeou sees improved relations with the mainland as the only way forward. In his interview with the German papers, he expressed his opinion that, without such improvements, Taiwan’s mobility will be severely restricted. Regarding the student protests, Ma said that he didn’t see them as have any lasting influence on Taiwanese politics, but nevertheless, he conceded that future plans for improving cross-strait relations should be explained more clearly to the public.
Drawing on Germany’s Past
President Ma Ying-jeou expressed his belief that the bilateral relations between East and West Germany can be used as a model for strengthening ties across the strait. Dialogue between the two sides led to the signing of the Basic Treaty in 1972. Ma Ying-jeou feels that this “was an excellent step in the right direction.” He believes that it would be possible for the People’s Republic of China to open an office in Taiwan, similar to the way the Federal Republic of Germany opened an office in the German Democratic Republic in 1974.
At the same time, President Ma Ying-jeou pointed out that the relationship between the two Germanys cannot be directly applied to the relationship across the Taiwan Strait. He emphasized that Taiwan does not recognize the “two-state solution” that applied in Germany, and that the relationship between Beijing and Taipei is neither a relationship between two different countries, nor is it a matter of internal affairs for either. He stated that the relationship across the Taiwan Strait is “unlike any other relationship in history.”
Since the KMT established its governance of Taiwan in 1949, Beijing has regarded Taiwan as an inalienable part of Chinese territory and threatened to take Taiwan by force should Taiwan unilaterally declare formal independence. The government of the Republic of China, from its seat in Taipei, makes a claim identical to that of Beijing, seeing itself as the representative of the whole of China.
Taiwan has a population of 23 million. The Taiwanese government views itself as the founder of the first Chinese Republic and defender of the Constitution of the Republic of China. Under pressure from Beijing, diplomatic recognition of Taiwan as a country has become ever less common with only 22 countries currently taking such a stance, all of which are relatively minor. The Federal Republic of Germany has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but has established the “German Institute Taipei” to represent German interests on the island.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home