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Remarks by Minister Chen at the International Symposium on Current Issues of Developmetn and Governance in Mainland China

  • Date:2020-10-23

Discover a New Mindset of Development for
Peaceful Coexistence across the Taiwan Strait
Opening Speech at the International Symposium on "Current
Issues of Development & Governance In Mainland China"

by Chen Ming-tong 
Mainland Affairs Council, Republic of China
October 23, 2020

Chairman Ding, Secretary General Yang, Professor Huang, Distinguished Scholars and Experts, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good morning!

  I would also like to send a special greeting to our overseas participants who are unable to attend the symposium in person today due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are truly fortunate to have them joining us online as we get ready to spend the rest of the day exchanging ideas and thoughts on developments in the mainland China as well as the current situation in the Taiwan Strait.

  At last year’s symposium, I talked about how the Chinese Communist Party, the CCP’s institutions and governance model are the variables that will affect mainland China’s domestic situation and global development.  Today, I am going to take a step further and suggest that as the CCP approaches its 100th anniversary, it needs to reform and renovate its governance model base on democratic values.

  70-plus years ago, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait chose different developmental paths. Beijing chose to uphold the principle of “the party leads everything” and promote the superiority of the CCP’s governance system. At a recent event marking the 40th anniversary of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, the CCP leader stressed the "ten persistences." Among them were pledges to comprehensively deepen reform and expand the scope of opening-up. However, "democratic reform" was left out.

  The CCP’s decision-making model is centralized within a small group of people and lacks democratic discussion or participation. This often leads to the attitude of “choosing left over right” and at the expense of seeking the best solution to crisis at hand. I believe that the leader across the Taiwan Strait needs to be liberal, to enact political reforms, to practice democracy in all forms, and to respect human rights. Such actions are the only way for the Mainland to resolve the contradictions it faces, and arrive at a solution for a peaceful coexistence with its own people and the world.

  On the international front, the COVID-19 pandemic, along with sweeping changes in US-China relations and global trade environment have altered regional security and global economic development. In addition, realignment of international cooperation and restructure of the global supply chains have also created an irreversible trend. However, at the same time, Beijing authorities try to steer the course of international developments by spreading Communist ideology, leading to a global proliferation of Communism.

  In fact, as the mainland China’s comprehensive national power continues to rise, the CCP has also attempted to export its ideology, institutions and rules. This has brought forth far-reaching consequences, affecting not only the world political and economic order but also the global strategic balance. However, the mainland Chinese leader has repeatedly stressed that China will never seek hegemony or impose on others. Moreover, Beijing has also constantly talked about conducting a self-reform in governance systems and urged great powers to act like great powers. We hope that the CCP can act upon its own words and behave like a responsible stakeholder with transparency and openness, in order to make tangible contribution to regional security and global peace.

  Sadly, when it comes to ensuring the peaceful development of the Taiwan Strait, the CCP often talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. Since the beginning of this year, the CCP has stepped up its suppression and intimidation of Taiwan, with the PLA fighter jets repeatedly crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait. These provocations have seriously undermined the status quo of the Taiwan Strait. They have also escalated regional tension and eroding the long-term tacit understanding between the two sides based on non-aggression and mutual restraint.

  This said, Taiwan will stand firmly to safeguard cross-Strait peace and development interests. Taiwan has and will take necessary defensive measures to show our high-level strategic resilience. After all, we all know that showing weakness or making concessions will not bring peace. We will not act rashly to seek war, nor will we give up easily on peace.

  The Republic of China is a proud sovereign state that has undeniably existed on the island of Taiwan. Taiwan occupies an important geostrategic position in the Indo-Pacific region, and has been a staunch supporter of the common interests of this region. Peace in the Taiwan Strait is closely linked to regional prosperity. In the face of difficult challenges ahead, we call on nations that have come together based on shared values to join Taiwan in defending this critical frontline of defense for democracy and freedom.

  In conclusion, we call upon the CCP to discover a new mindset for cross-Strait development based on goodwill and mutual respect. Let’s mark the start of a new beginning. As President Tsai has dedicatedly and responsibly laid out in her National Day address, maintaining stability across the Taiwan Strait is in the best interests of both sides. It is also a joint responsibility. As long as the Beijing authorities are willing, to resolve antagonisms, while parity and dignity are maintained, Taiwan is willing to facilitate reconciliation and meaningful dialogue, as well as discuss ways for the two sides to live in peace and coexist.

  The Beijing authorities need to pragmatically understand Taiwanese people’s firm belief in dignity, equality, and security. We urge the leader on the other side of the Taiwan Strait to stop imposing its will on others. Instead, the CCP should show the wisdom and creativity to allow cross-Strait goodwill continues to accumulate.

  Taiwan can be united as we join together, keeping in step. If there's a path, let's follow it, singing along the way. If there's no path, let's ford the stream and scale the hill. This is about seizing the opportunity to jointly discover a new mindset for cross-Strait development. Time never looks back. And we sure cannot speak of victory unless we move forward!

  Once again, thank you all for joining us. I wish this symposium the fullest success. Thank you.