Sat, Feb 28, 2004 - Page 3 News List

International Crisis Group outlines four scenarios for peace


The International Crisis Group (ICG) published a report yesterday outlining four ways in which China and Taiwan could unify and avoid war.

In its report Taiwan Strait: How An Ultimate Political Settlement Might Look, the Brussels-based ICG, headed by former Finnish president Maarti Ahtisaari, said the events of the last few months have shown that there is still a real risk of a cross-strait conflict.

To reduce this risk, both sides must think about reconciliation, the report said.

"The `one China' approach that has helped stabilize the region for decades is dead," said the report which was published simultaneously in Bei-jing, Taipei, Washington and Brussels.

It said four different models were being considered, the most-likely being a "greater Chinese union."

The four models include the "one country, two systems" model created by China to recover Hong Kong in 1997.

A second model proposes that Taiwan returns to China as an autonomous region under a "federacy" while the third suggestion is that of a "confederation" linking China and Taiwan as sovereign equals which was put forward by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Under a "greater Chinese union" both sides would recognize a larger common identity, but China would allow Taiwan to maintain its political system and to join international organizations.

But several developments must take place over many years on both sides before any such settlement is achievable, including emergence of forward-looking leadership, evolution of political systems, economic integration, emergence of a stronger sense of common identity and international attitudes, particularly by the US, the report said.

Some variation on the theme of the "greater Chinese union" seems the most attractive option. Its loose and flexible form would allow Taiwan to keep its distinct political, economic and social identity and satisfy much of its desire to be treated with more respect internationally, while allowing China to plausibly claim that unification is a reality, the report said.

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