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A response to China's recent attempts to entice opposition parties in Taiwan

  • Date:2005-04-27

Mainland Affairs Council, Executive Yuan

April 27, 2005

Despite skepticism and opposition from the international community, China deliberately adopted the “anti-separation law” (so-called “anti-secession law”) on March 14, 2005, which authorized the People’s Liberation Army to adopt “non-peaceful means”, including the use of military force, against Taiwan. The introduction of this law has been condemned by both the Taiwanese people and the international community. China is currently employing further tactics instead of establishing meaningful contacts or engaging in dialogue with the ruling party in Taiwan. At the same time, China has done its best to prevail upon the two major opposition parties in Taiwan: the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP), and has tried to force Taiwan’s governing party to yield to its will. The following paragraphs are explanations of the situation:

I. China’s recent united-front strategy against Taiwan

i. Outlining a framework for interaction with political parties in Taiwan.
On March 4, 2005, Chinese President Hu Jintao, emphasized in his “four points” that “…we welcome any person or political party whose efforts move toward recognition of ‘one China’.” He said: “as long as they recognize the ‘one China Principle’ and the ‘1992 Consensus’, and regardless of what they have said or done in the past, we welcome any person or political party which wishes to discuss issues relating to the development of cross-strait relations and the promotion of peaceful unification”. This shows that China has attempted to exploit the competition amongst the political parties in Taiwan. China has used the disguise of exchanges between political parties to outline a framework and principles for cross-strait interaction. It has deliberately ignored the possibility of interacting with the Taiwanese government. The recent “12-points consensus” reached between the Chinese government and the KMT, as well as invitations to opposition party leaders in Taiwan to visit China are the Chinese government’s ploys to manipulate and dictate cross-strait issues.

ii. The adoption of a soft strategy after the enactment of the “anti-secession law”, such as using exchanges to prevail upon particular groups of people in Taiwan.
In order to allay the negative responses from the international community and Taiwan after the enactment of the “anti-separation law”, the Chinese government is expanding its united-front tactics by focusing on certain exchange issues that are to its advantage. At the same time, it has emphasized the existing prerequisites of the “one China” principle and “internal affairs.” Some of China’s united-front tactics include: simplifying customs inspection procedures for a variety of fruits imported from Taiwan, holding the large-scale agricultural expositions to attract businesses, establishing special agricultural zones, attracting investment from Taiwan, actively promoting the exchange of agricultural personnel and technology, acquiring Taiwan’s technological experience, recruiting agricultural experts from Taiwan, and strengthening the investigation into the research and training of Taiwan’s agriculture industry. Moreover, the Chinese government has also invited and requested civic groups in Taiwan, to engage in negotiations on issues such as the normalization of direct cross-strait charter flights and the use of Chinese labour in Taiwan’s fishery industry. The Chinese government is deliberately adopting both the “carrot-and-stick” approach and united-front tactic, to actively present a false image of exchange and goodwill to opposition political parties and civic groups in Taiwan. The Chinese government hopes that the internal differences in Taiwan (i.e., between the ruling and opposition parties; between the government and the public; and amongst civic groups) can be exploited, and direct pressure on to the Taiwanese government.

iii. Creating the false image of China as a “peacemaker” in the international community.
In order to allay the negative effects of the enactment of the “anti-secession law” in the international community, China has adopted a “soft strategy” of purposely emphasizing Articles 6 and 7 of that law (i.e., sections which concern cross-strait exchanges and negotiations) while avoiding discussion of Article 8 (i.e., the section which deals with the adoption of “non-peaceful means” to resolve differences in the Taiwan Strait). At the same time, the Chinese government has tried to shift the focus of international attention by strengthening international cooperation and emphasizing certain diplomatic conflicts. This is to reduce some of the skepticism and criticisms from the international community created from the enactment of the law.

II. The Taiwanese government’s position and direction on cross-strait exchanges and interaction

i. Cross-strait exchanges and interactions are important link in cross-strait relations.
Cross-strait exchanges not only benefit the stabilization of cross-strait relations, but they serve as a key and foundation for the realization of cross-strait reciprocity and are cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) upholds a policy of reconciliation and openness, and is willing to expand the scope of cross-strait exchanges on the condition of equality and respect.

ii. The Taiwanese government actively expresses goodwill and continues to expand and promote cross-strait exchanges and activities.
In his two inauguration speeches, and on other important occasions, President Chen has stated that, based on the achievements thus far, the government is willing to continue the relaxation and expansion of relevant measures governing cross-strait exchanges in the fields of journalism, information, education, culture and trade. The government wants to promote the resumption of cross-strait dialogue and communication channels in order to bring the two sides closer together and establish a foundation for mutual trust. In recent years, the Taiwanese government has completed the following:
- reviewed and revised the “Statute Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area,”
- expanded the number of imports from China,
- allowed financial exchanges between the two sides,
- promoted the “three small links” in Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu,
- completed the Cross-Strait Direct Flights Impact Evaluation,
- expanded the functions and scope of the Offshore Transportation Centre,
- allowed Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan,
- promoted the facilitation of cross-strait trade,
- allowed Chinese investment in the Taiwanese real-estate industry,
- and allowed journalists from China to station in Taiwan.

Furthermore, in the autumn of 2004, the Taiwanese government implemented the chartered flights during the 2005 Lunar New Years holidays.

iii. China’s enactment of the “anti-secession law” damages the foundation of cross-strait interaction.
Unlike the goodwill and practical approach adopted by the Taiwanese government, the Chinese government has never ceased their suppression of Taiwan. It has been enhancing its military power and deployment of military hardware targeting Taiwan while at the same time stifling Taiwan’s space in the international arena. The recent adoption of the “anti-secession law” has sabotaged peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, as well as the foundation of cross-strait exchanges and every effort that Taiwan has made to improve cross-strait relations. With regard to the current cross-strait exchanges, the Taiwanese government will prudently follow this approach: of “reconciliation does not mean retreating; standing firm does not mean opposing”. In addition to establishing an appropriate mechanism which will lead cross-strait exchanges in the appropriate direction, we will actively seek to reach an agreement with the other side through official communication and negotiations so that we can jointly resolve cross-strait differences.

III. The impropriety of interaction between China and opposition parties from Taiwan

i. Impropriety in terms of position.
Taiwan is a democratic society. No opposition party can represent
the public in its entirety. China is deliberately focusing on party-to-party contacts and dialogue, thus downgrading and excluding the role of the Taiwanese government. It is attempting to dictate cross-strait exchanges and negotiations.

ii. Impropriety in terms of topics to be discussed.
China is deliberately seeking to include issues directly related to government authority and cross-strait exchanges on the agenda for the bilateral talks. It is attempting to coerce the Taiwanese government by negotiating with Taiwan’s civic sectors and opposition parties. China’s actions are maliciously jeopardizing the internal cohesion in Taiwan, as well as Taiwan’s national dignity and the interests of the Taiwanese people.

iii. Impropriety of motivation.
China has recently enacted the “anti-secession law”, which allows for the adoption “non-peaceful means” against Taiwan. This law has provoked condemnation and protest both in the international community and Taiwan. Currently, China is once again employing a united-front tactic by enacting the “anti-secession law” while attempting to raise the level of confrontation amongst political parties in Taiwan at the same time. This will cause both sides to lose the opportunity to improve cross-strait relations.