Beijing brooks no external interference over the Taiwan question

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/3 17:48:40

Editor's Note:

"The Taiwan question will definitely end with national rejuvenation," President Xi Jinping said at a gathering in Beijing Wednesday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of issuing the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan. What's the implication of his speech for the reunification of China? What measures will the process entail and what are the obstacles? Global Times sought the opinion of two experts on Xi's speech.

Yang Lixian, a research fellow at the Beijing-based Research Center on Cross-Straits Relations

Xi's speech is an unprecedented, comprehensive, in-depth and a thorough analysis of the 70-year cross-Straits relations and its future development.

Peaceful reunification conforms to fundamental interests of people on both sides of the straits and reflects the whole nation's aspiration. With the 1992 Consensus in people's minds, an increasing number of Taiwan people have realized that well-developed cross-Straits relations will benefit Taiwan.

The 2018 Taiwan local elections also proved that Taiwan independence is going down a dead end. If the Democratic Progressive Party sticks to its Taiwan independence policy and keeps putting ideology first, it will lose the trust of Taiwan people.

President Xi pointed out that Beijing "reserves the option of taking all necessary means" regarding reunification. Whether to unify through military force depends not on China, but on outside forces and Taiwan separatists. If they insist on splitting China and promoting Taiwan independence, any option is possible. Hence, President Xi stressed that this option targets "external forces and the very small number of 'Taiwan independence' separatists and their activities."

President Xi also said that the Taiwan question is China's internal affairs and allows no external interference.

China is very vigilant against foreign interference in the Taiwan question, especially by the US. The one-China policy is one of the cornerstones of China-US diplomatic relations, that is, the US recognizes that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory. A reversal by the US on this issue will result in a reversal in China-US ties.

All relevant parties should ponder the consequences of undermining the one-China policy for their own interests. President Xi's speech shows a clear attitude and an unwavering stand, meaning that China will never sit idly by and ignore foreign forces and Taiwan independence forces.

In the previous eight years of Ma Ying-jeou's administration, both sides of the Taiwan Straits could reach consensus through consultation, hence Taiwan's diplomatic space was relatively stable. On the contrary, in slightly more than two years, Tsai Ing-wen's administration has lost five allies, leaving just 17 countries which maintain official ties with Taipei.

If Taiwan separatists are determined to undermine the cross-Straits peaceful development, the international community must make a choice. Compared with the strength of Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, it is obvious which one is the better option.

Zhang Wensheng, dean of the Taiwan Research Institute of Xiamen University

National rejuvenation will eventually solve the Taiwan question. President Xi proposed an "institutional arrangement" for the process, which might suggest a timetable to deal with the issue. The arrangement proposes detailed suggestions on how to start the process of settling the Taiwan question, including exploring the proposal of "one country, two systems" jointly discussing reunification between the two sides and mapping out a peaceful process. Although Beijing hopes to settle the Taiwan question in the near future, it depends on current cross-Straits relations, plus the situation at home and abroad.

Compared with the practice of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong and Macao, there is a big difference regarding Taiwan. The participants in negotiations are different. In terms of Hong Kong and Macao, China negotiated with former colonists, the UK and Portugal, but when dealing with Taiwan, China consults with the local public and parties.

China must also consider religious issues, as well as the political system, economic interests and other problems when reuniting with Taiwan. There are no religious issues with Hong Kong and Macao, but ordinary people in Taiwan have diverse religious beliefs and deserve to be respected. Additionally, China should take into account how Taiwan will interact with other countries.

In recent years, US interference in Taiwan has intensified. The US passed laws including the Taiwan Travel Act and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which violate the one-China policy.

The main reason for US interference is worries about the rapid development in China and Washington wants to contain Beijing by acting as a shield for Taiwan. However, nothing can stop China's progress and the realization of reunification with Taiwan.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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