Share this

Apr 30, 2008

Lien - Hu meeting

Honorary Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan and Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China Hu Jintao (胡锦涛) met yesterday.

Taiwan News
and China Post both have stories on the meeting, but I found the most interesting aspect to be something highlighted in the Liberty Times story.

When VP-elect Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) met with Hu Jintao (胡锦涛) met a few weeks ago at the economic conference, he raised a sixteen character phrase that he hoped would be the guiding principles of cross-strait relations:

"Face reality, start a new future, set aside disputes, and create a win-win situation."
Well, today Hu Jintao responded in kind, using his own slightly modified formula:
"Establish mutual trust, seek common ground while reserving differences, set aside disputes, and create a win-win situation."
Despite the similarity, you can tell what the priorities are from each party here: Taiwan would like China to face the reality that the ROC exists -- or at least stop denying it. China cannot echo this "face reality" phrase since it is code for admitting Taiwan is not simply a PRC province.

China, for its part, is willing to be flexible on a formula, but what they want is unification, and before they give any ground on Taiwan's status or allow Taiwan some international space, China wants commitments and policy that encourages unification and discourages independence options: that's what "establish mutual trust" means.

The Liberty Times downplayed the difference between the two choices of wording, but I think it reveals a lot about the problems facing future negotiations: The KMT wants China to give a little, but China wants to know the KMT is using the Chinese rule book first.

No comments: