Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) has suggested in an interview that “two sides across the Taiwan Strait (兩岸)” should be defined as a geographic term, rather than a political one.
In the recent interview with China’s Caijing magazine, Wu described the “two sides of the Taiwan Strait” as a geographic term, rather than a political one, and said the interpretation could help settle disputes over cross-strait status.
He also insisted in the interview that the timing for cross-strait political talks was not ripe and that the two sides needed to develop mutual trust and goodwill, as well as strong public support and supervisory mechanisms, before launching political negotiations.
Wu yesterday said the interview was conducted in Taipei last month and added that he discussed cross-strait relations in the interview in his capacity as the top adviser to the Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation when asked whether he was the first vice president to accept an interview with the Chinese press.
“The interview was conducted soon after I returned from the Boao Forum [in Hainan, China] and it was before I was inaugurated as vice president,” he said on the sidelines of an anti-drug forum in Taipei.
He said the term “two sides of the Taiwan Strait” described the cross-strait status in a neutral and simple way, in contrast with other terms, such as “two nations,” and stressed the importance for the two sides of steadily developing cross-strait relations.
Wu’s interpretation came amid recent discussions of Taipei-Beijing relations following President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “one Republic of China [ROC], two areas (一個中華民國，兩個地區)” concept.
The concept marked a difference in emphasis from the one proposed by former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) — “one country, two areas (一國兩區)” — during a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in Beijing in March.
Ma has said that the “one ROC, two areas” formula has allowed Taiwan and China to push forward cross-strait exchanges under the concept of “mutual non-denial” — not denying the existence of the People’s Republic of China, while also not recognizing Beijing’s sovereignty.