Taiwan should adopt “a slower pace” in cross-strait developments to avoid a potential misstep, focusing instead on valuing its own national advancement, former German federal minister for special affairs Egon Bahr warned last year, sources said.
According to sources, while meeting with several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials, including Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), during his visit to Taiwan last year, Bahr said cross-strait relations involved critical issues of regional balance and security.
Taipei should ratchet down the speed of cross-strait developments to avoid any mistakes and place greater importance on its own national development, Bahr reportedly said.
Bahr, a mainstay in German politics from the 1960s until 1990, played an instrumental role in the normalization of relations between East and West Germany ahead of their eventual reunification.
Bahr is credited with influencing Ostpolitik, which was adopted by former West German chancellor Willy Brandt, by proposing a new policy of Wandel durch Annaherung (“change through rapprochement”). The implementation of the new policy sought to put an end to the entrenched East-West divide through reconciliation and stronger collaboration.
According to the sources, Bahr said he signed the Basic Treaty with East Germany and reached a consensus with the communist state on the principle that the reunification of Germany lay within the historical destiny of both sides and that the two Germanies were not foreign states to each other.
However, Bahr said such an approach could only have worked in the conflict between East and West Germany and it was not applicable to cross-strait relations, the sources added.
Commenting on Bahr’s reported statements, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) said that for Bahr, who played a key role in the reunification of two divided nations, to tell Taiwan to slow down the pace on cross-strait developments highlighted the critical nature of what should be a core issue for the nation.
Su said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had implemented several “pro-China” policies since he took office in 2008 and triggered widespread public criticism.
He added that the rapid pace of Ma’s turn toward China also “raised great concerns for many.”
“Taiwanese should awaken to China’s pro-reunification stance,” Su said. “The nation must put more emphasis on its own advancement as opposed to constantly looking toward China.”
Senior KMT officials also commented, saying that both Beijing and Taipei had emphasized their mutual recognition to put aside disputes, to target peaceful development, to respect history and to face reality.
They added that the present approach was to facilitate mutual development in an amiable manner.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff Writer