A Chinese academic on Friday called a speech by Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) an “improvement” in terms of the Taiwanese government’s attitude toward cross-strait relations.
Chen on Wednesday spoke at a conference in Washington titled “The Opportunities and Challenges of Cross-Strait Relations.”
The conference was cohosted by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the Heritage Foundation.
The past nearly 70 years of cross-strait relations had been a journey from conflict to conciliation, followed by a swing to unease, Chen said, adding that the Republic of China (ROC) would never relinquish its sovereignty in exchange for an illusory peace.
East China Normal University professor Bao Chengke (包承柯) on Friday said he believes that the concepts of “one China” and that Taiwan and China share the same ethnicity emerged in Chen’s speech, which was an improvement.
At the same time, Chen emphasized that Taiwan would engage in cross-strait relations on the basis of the ROC Constitution, Bao said.
For China, this would impossible, because it has its own constitution, he said, adding that Beijing could accept the idea of both sides of the Strait building a “new China” together, but it could not be centered around the ROC.
Taiwan would need to recognize the changes that have taken place after 1949, otherwise everything that China has done since then would be erased, Bao said.
Discussions about cross-strait relations must reflect historical points, he added.
As for Chen’s proposal that China and Taiwan should engage in “pragmatic communication and dialogue,” Bao said that now is not the right time, because Taiwan is about to face the nine-in-one elections at the end of the year, and afterward, there will be the 2020 presidential elections.
Maybe a better opportunity would arise after 2020, he added.
Chen’s speech reiterated the basic attitude of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) during her interview with the Chinese-language Liberty Times in January 2016, Bao said.
However, as the elections are approaching, they do not genuinely want to begin a cross-strait dialogue, he said.
Rather, Chen’s speech was strategic and made to emphasize to the US that Taiwan is the side that is maintaining the “status quo,” Bao said.
China is observing Taiwan on two counts: How the Democratic Progressive Party handles the proposed name rectification referendum for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the referendum on banning public displays of the Chinese national flag, he said.
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