News
 International
   Global Views
   Asia-Pacific
   America
   Europe
   Middle East & Africa
 National
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Business
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Taekwondo
 Media
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 Cartoons/Comics/Humor
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Life
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Housing
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 Job
 English Teaching
 Translation/Writing
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Business
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Entertainment
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Community
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 PenPal/Friendship
 Volunteers
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
  Asia-Pacific
ROC Envoy Speaks on Change Across the Taiwan Strait
Chen Yeong-Cho, Representative of the Taipei Mission in Korea addresses a lecture session on Oct. 7, 2008.

In the view of a top Taiwanese diplomat in Seoul, predicting that all will go well, based on the current situation across the Taiwan Strait, would be over-optimistic.

President Ma Ying-jiou has proposed a modus vivendi for a mutually beneficial interaction with China in the international community, seeking to create a win-win situation for both sides through rapprochement.

"But whether such a proposal will succeed remains to be seen as it depends on how much trust can be built between the two sides." Chen Yeong-Cho, Representative of the Taipei Mission in Korea said pointing out that suspicion and animosity toward each other that has accumulated over six decades cannot be expected to disappear within just a few months,

Amb. Chen made the remarks on Oct. 7, 2008 when he met students of the Department of International Relations, the University of Seoul in a special lecture session as an honorable guest speaker.

Chen Yeong-Cho, Representative of the Taipei Mission in Korea

The University of Seoul, established and supported by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, has through its 90 year history produced the leaders at the forefront of South Korean urban communities.

Noting that that the twentieth century witnessed the University of Seoul's growth into one of the finest institutions of Seoul and Korea, Amb.Chen told the students that he was making this statement because recent developments in cross-Strait relations are simply the results of objective changes in Taiwan and in China, while their dispute over sovereignty, for the moment pushed aside, remains unsolved.

Soon after the KMT's electoral win in March this year, Vice President-elect Vincent Siew and KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung made separate visits to China and met with Presidenet Jintao. The meeting between Wu and Hu was significant in that it was the first meeting between the ruling party leaders of Taiwan and China in sixty years.

Both sides agreed to "build mutual confidence, delay talking about controversies, set aside their differences, and seek a win-win situation."

In an amicable atmosphere, top negotiators of both sides- Chiang Ping-kun of Taiwan's "Strait Exchange Foundation" and Chen Yunlin of China's "Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait"- signed two important documents in Beijing on June 13 concerning charter flights across the Strait and Mainland Chinese tourist visits to Taiwan, he explained,

They turned a new page in the history of exchanges between Taiwan and China. Weekend charter flights started on July 4, with China allowing its citizens to visit Taiwan for travel.
He expressed hope that this meeting will further expand cross-Strait exchanges, bringing even closer economic and investment cooperation between Taiwan and China.

"Taiwanese have not forgotten their unhappy memory of China's 1996 test-firing of missiles targeted at Taiwan; and now, in southeast China, more than 1,000 missiles are being deployed , all aimed at Taiwan," he pointed out.

In addition, the Vice Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Military Commission, Xu Caihou, told a visiting group of Japanese defense experts that China will not cut down on its military forces targeting Taiwan because cross-Strait hostility is still there, he said.

Following is the full text of his speech at the university.

Change across the Taiwan Strait Chen Yeong-Cho, Representative of the Taipei Mission in Korea

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It gives me great pleasure to meet you here at the Department of International Relations, the University of Seoul. It is an honor for me to have been invited by Professor Hieyeon Keum to be here today, to share with you some of my personal observations of cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

First, may I quote a well-known sentence from a famous Chinese novel, "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms" ( Sam Guk Jih in Korean)." The sentence is, "all countries under the heavens will be divided after a certain period of time and then re-united following a period of division."

This quotation seems an apt description of the history of the relations between Taiwan and China. As you know, Taiwan over the past few centuries was ruled by Spain, the Netherlands, and Japan. Its relationship with China has gone through several periods of unity and division, with the past sixty years being the most precarious as both sides remained hostile toward each other, even going to war in Kinmen, off China's Fujian province, in 1958.

During this long stand-off, military conflicts erupted several times; tension was high, and the situation was compared to a powder keg. Nearby countries like Korea and Japan,

Singapore as well as Hong Kong — major hubs of economic and cultural activity in the Pacific area — were naturally linked to the fate of Taiwan-China relations. In fact, policy changes in Taipei and Beijing have been a focus not only of these surrounding countries and areas, but also of the whole world.

Let me tell you briefly about the history of Taiwan. Its official title is the Republic of China, founded by Dr. Sun Yat-sen in 1911.

The Republic of China later went through Japan's invasion and the Chinese Communist Party's rebellion.

The government of the Republic of China moved to Taiwan in 1949. On Oct. 1 of that year, the Chinese Communist Party declared the birth of the People's Republic of China, starting the long history of conflicts across the Taiwan Strait.

We can roughly divide cross-Strait relations after 1949 into two periods. The first lasted from 1949 to 1987. 1949 marks the year when Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist government moved from Mainland China to Taiwan.

During this period both sides were in complete political and military stand-off. At that time, China's slogan was "give Taiwan a blood bath" and "liberate Taiwan."

In 1950, China helped North Korea to launch an invasion of South Korea in a military campaign Beijing called "Assist Korea against American Imperialism."

The United States sent its 7th Fleet to the Taiwan Strait to help defend Taiwan. China in the 1960's and 1970's went through a tumultuous "Cultural Revolution" and ensuing turmoil and power struggle between the Gang of Four and their opponents, while Taiwan devoted itself to developing its economy, thereby creating an economic miracle and winning the title of being one of the "Four Asian Dragons."

Exchanges between China and Taiwan were almost non-existent, as the Taiwan Strait served as a distinct frontline of the Cold War that separated capitalism and socialism.

The situation began to change in the 1980's, when Chinass leader, Deng Xiaoping, launched a series of reform programs based on his theory of "white cat or black cat: it is a good cat that catches the mice."

China's economy developed so fast that it has registered an annual average growth rate of 10.5% since 1991 and its GDP reached an eye-catching USD3.416 trillion in 2007, making it the world's fourth largest economy.

It is expected that China's economy will surge ahead of Germany‘s this year to become the world's No. 3. All these rapid changes mean China has become an economic power that is making a far-reaching impact on the world's political and economic map, an impact that is felt more strongly in Taiwan than elsewhere.

The second phase of cross-Taiwan Strait relations began in 1987, when Taiwan lifted martial law, allowed new political parties to operate, granted full freedom of expression and, so importantly, permitted visits to China by those who have relatives there.

The family-reunion visits helped facilitate a process of investing and doing business and of promoting tourism visits to China, speeding up trade and economic exchanges across the Strait. By 2007, two-way trade between Taiwan and China had reached USD102.26 billion, with Taiwan enjoying a surplus of USD46.2 billion; people on both sides of the Strait had made a total of 30 million visits to each other, resulting in more than 250,000 marriages.

China has become Taiwan's No. 1 trading partner, its largest export market as well as its primary trade surplus source. This also means that Taiwan's export dependency on China has risen to 30.1%.

The close and almost inseparable trade and economic relations between Taiwan and China, however, have not brought them any closer politically as both sides have not yielded an inch in their insistences on sovereignty. Business-level talks produced some results in 1993, but even those kinds of talks have been suspended since 1995.

From 2000 through May 2008, when the pro-Independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was the ruling party in Taiwan, the DPP focused its energy on breaking through Taiwan's diplomatic isolation by seeking de jure independence both domestically and internationally.

The DPP's efforts to strengthen the so-called "Taiwan identity" among the population and to raise Taiwan's profile in the international community of course were spurned by a China that sticks to its one-China principle.

Therefore, political hostility grew in spite of the ever-closer trade and economic links between the two sides of the Strait.

A presidential election was held in Taiwan on March 22, 2008, Ma Ying-jiou and Vincent Siew were elected President and Vice President and the Kuomintang or Nationalist Party regained ruling power in Taiwan after a majority of the voters threw their support behind Ma Ying-jiou, who advocated rapprochement with China. Beijing apparently welcomed the result, as Chinese President Hu Jintao, in a March 26 telephone conversation with American President George W. Bush, said both sides of the Taiwan Strait should resume dialogue based on the "1992 consensus," which means both sides admit that there is only one China, but defining "one China" can be left to either side.

The 1992 consensus means Beijing and Taipei reached a tacit agreement — without putting it on paper — over recognizing each other's sovereignty. So, President Hu Jintao's assurance to President Bush can be seen as proof of considerable good will towards Taiwan.

Soon after the KMT's electoral win in March this year, Vice President-elect Vincent Siew and KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung made separate visits to China and met with Presidenet Jintao. The meeting between Wu and Hu was significant in that it was the first meeting between the ruling party leaders of Taiwan and China in sixty years.

Both sides agreed to "build mutual confidence, delay talking about controversies, set aside their differences, and seek a win-win situation." In an amicable atmosphere, top negotiators of both sides? Chiang Ping-kun of Taiwan's "Strait Exchange Foundation" and Chen Yunlin of China's "Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait"- signed two important documents in Beijing on June 13 concerning charter flights across the Strait and Mainland Chinese tourist visits to Taiwan.

They turned a new page in the history of exchanges between Taiwan and China. Weekend charter flights started on July 4, with China allowing its citizens to visit Taiwan for travel. It is expected that Chen Yunlin will be invited to make a visit Taiwan by the end of this year for a meeting with his Taiwanese counterpart, Chiang Ping-kun, to discuss chartered cargo flights and other matters.

This meeting is expected to further expand cross-Strait exchanges, bringing even closer economic and investment cooperation between Taiwan and China.

Things seem quite optimistic, most would say. Here I must point out: to predict that all will go well, based on the current situation across the Taiwan Strait, would be over-optimistic. I am making this statement because recent developments in cross-Strait relations are simply the results of objective changes in Taiwan and in China, while their dispute over sovereignty, for the moment pushed aside, remains unsolved.

President Ma Ying-jiou has proposed a modus vivendi for a mutually beneficial interaction with China in the international community, seeking to create a win-win situation for both sides through rapprochement.

But whether such a proposal will succeed remains to be seen as it depends on how much trust can be built between the two sides. Suspicion and animosity toward each other that has accumulated over six decades cannot be expected to disappear within just a few months.

For example, Taiwanese have not forgotten their unhappy memory of China's 1996 test-firing of missiles targeted at Taiwan; and now, in southeast China, more than 1,000 missiles are being deployed all aimed at Taiwan. In addition, the Vice Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Military Commission, Xu Caihou, told a visiting group of Japanese defense experts that China will not cut down on its military forces targeting Taiwan because cross-Strait hostility is still there.

On the other hand, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jiou has on many occasions offered the olive branch to China. Yet his good will has not been reciprocated by any measure on the part of the People's Republic, particularly on the international stage. China has even stepped up its efforts to isolate Taiwan internationally, as can be seen from the uncompromising talks given by China's Taiwan Affairs Office director and its ambassador to the United Nations regarding Taiwan's application to join the World Health Organization and certain special-purpose organizations sponsored by the United Nations. As a result, Taiwan's media are calling on the Ma Ying-jiou government to review its reconciliatory approach toward China.

Obviously, both Beijing and Taipei should make some adjustments in their respective modes of thinking—modes that have been created under totally different systems over a long period of time.

A responsible government of Taiwan cannot allow its twenty-three million people to be excluded from the international community forever. This issue must be solved sooner or later. Without a reasonable solution to this problem, a major barrier to cross-Strait peace and reconciliation will never be removed, and stability and prosperity in Asia will remain overshadowed. President Ma Ying-jiou's good will toward China certainly is a boon to cross-Strait reconciliation as well as to harmony in Asia. As of now, some major members of the international community, such as the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union, have made positive responses to Ma's good will.

It's a pity that many other major countries, including Korea, formulate their diplomatic policy in deference to China's position, rarely taking into account Taiwan's proposals. Of course we will not be disheartened.

As a Western saying goes, "Insistence and patience make success." We are well aware that an all-satisfying solution to the complicated relationship across the Taiwan Strait evolving from sixty years of separation and confrontation cannot be worked out overnight.

However, as long as the leaders in Beijing and Taipei are flexible and far-sighted enough, persisting in their pursuit of a common goal, peace and stability in Asia will definitely be achieved —even though they may not reach the long-range goal of re-unifying China. We hope that Korea and other members of the international community will give us support and encouragement.

Thank you for your kind attention.




 

back

 

 

 

The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188 Email:seoultimes@gmail.com
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange