Representatives from Taiwan and China engaged in a heated debate yesterday about the meaning and content of a proposed peace agreement across the Taiwan Strait during the first cross-strait peace forum held in Shanghai.
As the forum, a platform for non-official political dialogue between China and Taiwan, entered its second day yesterday, academics and experts from the two countries engaged in discussions under the theme of “cross-strait peace pact.”
Zhu Weidong (朱衛東), deputy director of the Taiwan Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, presented a research paper on the meaning and content of a proposed cross-strait peace agreement and ways to carry it out, sparking a heated debate among Taiwan’s representatives.
Zhu said a cross-strait peace pact would be an agreement to end hostilities across the Strait prior to the unification of the two “sides” across the Strait. Such a pact would be considered a national accord within China under the premise of protection of China’s territorial integrity. There would be an arrangement for cross-strait relations during an interim period before the “unification of the nation,” Zhu said.
Although such an agreement is not a unification pact, its political connotations toward unification cannot be ruled out, Zhu added.
Zhu said that Taiwan and China should make promises regarding signing a cross-strait peace pact. China must promise it will settle differences though peaceful means, while Taiwan must promise it will not promote two Chinas; one China, one Taiwan; or Taiwanese independence.
In short, the principle “the two sides of the Strait belong to one China” is crucial to a peace agreement, he added.
Expressing their disagreement, several Taiwanese representatives said that Zhu should not define the signing of a cross-strait peace agreement as an arrangement leading to unification
Cheng Tuan-yao (鄭端耀), director of the Institute of International Relations at the National Chengchi University, accused Zhu of not facing political reality.
“It’s like the Republic of China [ROC] does not exist,” Cheng said. “If it does not exist, then why does a peace pact need to be signed?”
The ROC is the greatest common denominator in Taiwanese politics, Cheng said. A peace agreement cannot be tied to such conditions and terms, Cheng added.
Liu Guoshen (劉國深), dean of Xiamen University’s Taiwan Research Institute, said that “one China” cannot be simply equal to either the People’s Republic of China or the ROC.