Tue, Sep 26, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Experts urge new cross-strait model

Staff writer, with CNA

Experts on cross-strait relations have called for a new mode of interaction between China and Taiwan following a clash on Sunday between pro-unification and pro-independence groups at the “Sing! China: Shanghai-Taipei Music Festival.”

The festival, which was agreed to by Taipei and Shanghai to showcase singers from both sides, came to an abrupt halt when tensions flared between rival groups.

The central issue revolved around damage to National Taiwan University’s (NTU) track during the event and students’ restricted access to the venue.

However, before damage was done to the track, an event poster that called NTU “Taipei City Taiwan University (臺北市臺灣大學)” had already caught the eye of pro-Taiwan independence and pro-unification groups.

Protesters from both sides converged on the event, chanting slogans and carrying banners, leading to the cancelation of the festival two hours into the show.

As the crowds were dispersing, students and pro-unification groups got into a verbal altercation, reportedly resulting in injuries to three students.

The incident would affect cross-strait exchanges and mutual trust, Taiwan Thinktank researcher Tung Li-wen (董立文) said.

NTU should handle the damage to the field according to its policies and the police should handle the violence that took place, Tung said.

Most important is to not let “outside influences” affect the situation, Tung added.

Quoting President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) address at the Democratic Progressive Party’s national congress on Sunday, Tung said that cross-strait relations must find a middle path of moderation, rather than one that is characterized by extremes.

“We must not dwell on hatred or depend on ingratiating ourselves with China; rather, we should find a new mode of interaction,” she said.

Chao Chien-min (趙建民), director of the Graduate Institute for Sun Yat-sen Thought and Mainland China Studies at Chinese Culture University, said that Taiwanese should not be condemned for insisting on national sovereignty, but added that pro-independence declarations and actions are difficult for Beijing to accept.

Therefore, the government must find a way to get China to agree to a new mode of interaction, he said.

Dealing with these highly sensitive topics is a test of both governments’ wisdom, Chao added.

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