This is what the “Brother Countries” concept entails. The question is how it should be implemented. I propose four conditions that Taiwan would fulfill if China recognized Taiwan’s statehood and helped the country gain UN membership.
First, Taiwan will not join any international organizations or military alliances that are hostile to China.
Second, China should recognize that Taiwan is an important member of the international community and it does not necessarily agree with all of China’s international policies. However, even if Taiwan disagrees with a policy it would not oppose it, and would abstain from insisting on its rights or give up voting rights thus manifesting its status as a brother country.
Third, Taiwan will spend US$5 billion per year in a 10-year program to help promote economic development and social progress in China’s hinterland.
Fourth, many of the national treasures and collections in the National Palace Museum belong to China, not to Taiwan. Taiwan could, and should, return them to China. However, under one condition: The remains of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), who did not want to be buried in Taiwan, should be allowed to be returned to their native land in accordance with their last wishes.
These are of course only suggestions, preliminary ideas and concepts, many of which could be adjusted and improved following wider debate.
However, some people say that China and the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) have already reached a consensus on “one China,” via the so-called “1992 consensus” and that Ma is already walking down the path toward unification. They also say that China’s peaceful annexation of Taiwan is already in full swing. Why would China accept the “Brother Countries” proposal, they ask.
My answer is that I think Taiwanese do not identify with and support Ma’s China policy and China will not in any way be able to annex Taiwan. The fact that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Ma administration are so close is in fact very dangerous. In the 1960s and the 1970s, the US supported many Latin American dictatorships, and see what happened there. Many Latin Americans hated the dictatorships and in the end US support for those dictators created strong anti-US sentiment.
Ma’s support ratings have dropped to 13 percent. He is clearly incapable of winning the hearts and minds of Taiwanese, so if Beijing supports him and his government, one has to wonder if they are intentionally trying to get the Taiwanese to dislike China. This is a point that the Chinese authorities must give serious consideration.
Furthermore, China must understand the backdrop to the formation of a Taiwanese and a national identity. Taiwan’s is an immigrant society, and such societies will, as a historical necessity, in the end become independent. That is what happened in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
When people have lived together in an immigrant society for a few hundred years they develop a strong sense of belonging; both to the land and to local culture and tradition. Their shared history and life experiences further deepen this sense of belonging and of an “imagined” community. Taiwanese identity is built on this feeling of a shared destiny.