Cross-Straits ‘diplomatic truce’ still holds

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-18 0:33:01

China and Gambia resumed diplomatic relations on Thursday. This rapprochement has raised quite a stir in Taiwan. A western African country with little territory and small population, it used to be one of the few countries that had kept diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Gambia broke off the relationship in 2013, and tried to embrace Beijing.

The Chinese mainland didn't give a positive response to Gambia's proposal, because there is an undocumented consensus on a "diplomatic truce" between the mainland and Taiwan. The mainland has no intention to embarrass the Ma Ying-jeou administration by re-establishing a relationship with Gambia.

For quite a long time, before Ma Ying-jeou took office, a few smaller countries acted as diplomatic speculators between the mainland and Taiwan by breaking off ties with one and establishing ties with the other, back and forth. In this way, they reaped economic aid and investment from both sides, which had become troublesome for both the mainland and Taiwan. Since 2008 when the cross-Straits relationship warmed up, this double-dealing game has almost stopped.

Two years have passed since Gambia and Taiwan broke up, so it is time for Beijing to meet Gambia's requirement. Beijing's approval shouldn't be interpreted as a sign that the mainland will restart a "diplomatic war" with Taiwan. It is unnecessary for the mainland to flex its muscles toward Taiwan in this way. Otherwise, the Taiwanese will feel oppressed.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which will rule Taiwan soon, should avoid provoking the mainland by desinicization, or it might trigger an all-out confrontation with the mainland. After its landslide victory in the election last year, the DPP has made several moves that are dangerous to the cross-Straits relations, which are increasingly likely to deteriorate.

Now, it is Taiwan that keeps making trouble in cross-Straits ties. DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen should act more positively to address the growing uncertainties.

Despite the controversies around the Kuomintang during its 8-year rule, it has greatly promoted cross-Straits ties to the benefit of peace and stability. If the DPP wants to reverse the trend, the Taiwanese society will feel the pain some day.

The mainland has no intention to suppress Taiwan in the international community. All the mainland has done is to safeguard the one-China principle. As long as the mainstream political forces in Taiwan do not seek independence, peace and prosperity will prevail across the Strait. If desinicizing Taiwan will be the DPP's governing principle, it should brace for the mainland's countermeasures, which could be harsh.

We hope the Taiwanese politicians won't over-interpret Gambia's rapprochement with China. The mainland should avoid abusing its asymmetrical advantage while dealing with Taiwan. Taiwan should be clear-minded and pragmatic when facing the mainland. Only in this way can harmony remain.

Posted in: Editorial

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