Wed, May 16, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Lessons from the Korean summit

By John Lim 林泉忠

Third, a meeting between the two leaders should be a meeting between equals, just as the Korean summit was.

However, Taipei’s understanding of the issue of equality goes further than that. North Korea and South Korea are two nations that recognize one another, and both are members of the UN. During their meeting, Kim addressed Moon as “president.”

Beijing also recognizes the two Koreas, but it does not recognize the Republic of China (ROC). Not only does it not address Taiwan’s leader as “president,” it also does not directly call Taiwanese government agencies or officials by their formal titles.

There is no comparison between the cross-strait situation and the one on the Korean Peninsula.

As for whether Taiwan and China might be able to learn from the two Koreas and move toward a peace agreement, this might be made more difficult because of the situation in Taiwan.

Ma tried to push for a peace accord during his first term, but failed for lack of public support.

It is not difficult to imagine that, based on its insistence on “unifying Taiwan,” Beijing has been more active than Taipei when it comes to trying to end hostilities.

When then-Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) proposed “Jiang’s eight points” in January 1995, the third point stated that “as a first step, negotiations should be held and an agreement reached on officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides under the principle that there is only ‘one China.’”

This was later reaffirmed when his successor, Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), proposed “Hu’s six points” in December 2008.

From another perspective, Taiwan is worried about and even rejects the signing of a cross-strait peace pact because of its assessment that the reason China feels so strongly about the issue is that it controls cross-strait relations.

Once dialogue on a “peace agreement” begins, it would imply that the two sides would engage in political talks. Beijing could use this as an opportunity to gradually force Taipei into its framework.

No wonder Taiwanese mainstream society is so passive about a peace agreement.

Due to growing public opposition, Ma stopped calling for a cross-strait peace pact after his re-election in 2012.

However, the KMT, with the eager backing of its then-chairwoman and presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), in August 2016 added the signing of a peace treaty into its draft political platform, which was approved during the KMT’s 19th National Congress the following month, thus turning it into an official party policy.

Although the Moon-Kim summit and the consensus on signing a peace treaty is no guarantee that the two Koreas will move toward unification, it was a historic step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The two nations have been able to come this far because of their mutual recognition of the other’s status, a shared agreement on the need for a bilateral summit, the exclusion of a “one country” precondition, and their proactive approach toward peace talks and a potential peace treaty.

It is of course also based on the mutual recognition that they are one people and a shared vision of future unification. All these components are missing from the cross-strait relationship.

In addition, Taiwan is worried that China has not withdrawn the guided ballistic missiles it deployed in southeastern coastal areas, which have Taiwan within their range.

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