The historic meeting on Saturday between Xi Jinping
and Ma Ying-jeou has drawn heated discussions across the Taiwan Straits. Worries among some Taiwan people over the island being "dwarfed" seem more prominent than concerns on mainland social media of Taiwan being "lifted" too high. It shows an widening gap in confidence between the two sides.
Xi and Ma agreed to call each other "Mr." But some members of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) claimed that this is a sign of disrespect for Taiwan's "president." There are also Taiwan politicians who argue about what Taiwan can gain from this agreement. All these calculations only show their lack of confidence.
Frankly speaking, there are few places in this world where people want to call the Taiwan leader "president," especially most of the political and economic centers in the world. But the mainland's top leader is received as China's President wherever he goes.
The biggest significance of the meeting is that leaders of the two sides eventually got to meet each other. It is a historic breakthrough, creating huge new spaces for the cross-Straits relations. The identification and addressing titles of each other have been practically arranged, which is a compromise for a greater historic harvest. The roles of the mainland and Taiwan are not as simply as they look. Taiwan has its self-claimed "government," legal system and military. But these do not prove Taiwan's "independence" or "sovereignty." All these only demonstrate that the two sides across the Taiwan Straits have not reunited.
Major countries do not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The "One China" principle has been widely recognized in the world, which indicates Taiwan is not a country. International organizations either do not accept Taiwan, or consider it a regional body.
Taiwan society should accept reality, being aware that nobody in Taiwan can change it, and no international forces, including the US, can help change reality.
The various political forces in Taiwan fighting for elections should stay away from the issue of independence, and instead explore other aspects for their own good. Only by doing so can democracy and politics operate smoothly while the cross-Straits ties remain stable.
The DPP should note that although independence issues used to be a powerful weapon to stir up public sentiments, these issues have increasingly become a negative asset for the party. The gaining of voter support this year does not come from independence initiatives. On the contrary, independence may be the biggest minefield for the DPP.
Pragmatism has a power that outruns any political idealism. Taiwan is no exception.