The next leader of China is likely to continue with a peaceful approach to China-Taiwan affairs, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said.
Chiang said the peaceful development of cross-strait relations was obviously a vision shared by the two sides. “Peace” is the key word in cross-strait exchanges, because the two sides can only develop and prosper if peace is preserved, he said.
For example, Chiang said, some Taiwanese businesspeople in recent years have opted to invest in Vietnam or Indonesia instead of the Philippines, where social order and political stability have been less than satisfactory.
Chiang said he has not met Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平), who is expected to succeed Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in 2012, but he expects Xi will maintain Hu’s Taiwan policy.
However, Chiang acknowledged that there has been some inconsistency in China’s policies toward direct cross-strait negotiations and Taiwan’s international participation. This is because China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs “has its own way of thinking,” he said.
Several cases in the past were indicative of China’s intolerance regarding Taiwan’s participation in the international community, he said.
China’s attitude on this issue could affect bilateral relations and the Taiwanese public’s impression of China since “almost all these cases made headlines in the Taiwanese newspapers,” Chiang said.
Taiwan had often reminded the Chinese government that Beijing’s foreign embassies “are still acting in the same way,” he said.
On Tuesday, Chiang and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) signed a medical and healthcare cooperation agreement — the 15th pact between the two sides since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in May 2008 and began and began promoting cross-strait detente.
Cross-strait talks have entered a phase of “substance over style,” he said, which means the content of the negotiations is more important than the process. Talks are likely to be more difficult in the future, he said.
Meanwhile, he said, the SEF will focus on the implementation of the existing agreements and will advocate continued and broad bilateral exchanges.
For instance, Taiwan should be more confident and open its doors wider to Chinese students, he said.
With its proud democracy, Taiwan will be able to “make them pro-Taiwan,” he said. “The more China and the people of China understand Taiwan, the more they will respect us for our democracy, hospitality, courtesy, vibrant culture and way of life.”
Chiang lauded the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) move to establish a think tank that will formulate its China policy over the next decade.
He said that the DPP, which was firmly anti-China in the past, had to think about the issue sooner or later.