BEIJING, Jan. 3 -- The year 2005 saw not only the relationship between both sides of the Taiwan Straits developing towards peace and stability, but also some changes in cross-Straits ties. The Communist Party of China's (CPC) Taiwan policy and measures and the status of cross-Straits relations and Taiwan's political situation all experienced shifts and developments not seen before.
Over the past year, the central government has implemented a series of significant decisions and taken some important steps to push for new developments in cross-Straits relations according to the changing situation across the Taiwan Straits.
The moves came mainly in four different areas:
The first formed around the announcement of a series of new initiatives and theories concerning the CPC's Taiwan-related efforts.
In an important speech delivered on March 4, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Hu Jintao tabled four suggestions about the development of cross-Straits relations under a new situation, namely, no wavering on the one-China principle, never abandoning efforts to win peaceful reunification of the country, no change to the existing guideline of counting on the support of Taiwan compatriots and no compromise in the fight against secessionist moves aimed at gaining "Taiwan independence."
The four points have enriched the philosophy of the Chinese Government's Taiwan policies.
In his separate talks with then Chairman of Taiwan's Chinese Nationalist Party (CNP) Lien Chan in April and the island's People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong in May, Hu explained to the guests a four-part blueprint for the peaceful and steady development of cross-Straits relations.
These ideas have won public consent on both sides of the Straits, as well as international acknowledgement.
The second area saw the passage of the Anti-Secession Law by the National People's Congress, which expounds the utmost sincerity of the mainland in doing its very best to realize peaceful reunification and absolute determination to thwart any attempt at "Taiwan independence." The new law has effectively deterred the secessionist "Taiwan independence" movement.
The third was shown through Lien's and Soong's visits to the mainland at Hu's invitation and their separate formal meetings in Beijing, where they reached important common understanding and published joint communiques. The significance of the meetings and statements has been felt deeply, far and wide.
The fourth consisted of a series of policies and measures taken by the mainland that won widespread support from Taiwan compatriots and acclaim from the international community.
Most noteworthy are measures to make travelling in and out of the mainland more convenient for Taiwan compatriots and allowing more varieties of Taiwanese fruit into the mainland market, of which 15 now enjoy duty-free treatment.
With efforts by compatriots on both sides of the Straits, positive factors that help thwart "Taiwan independence" attempts multiplied in the past year. Cross-Straits relations gained momentum with peaceful and steady development, which saw the political situation as well as public sentiment in Taiwan undergo some positive changes. For instance, public support for the Chen Shui-bian administration, which works against a better relationship across the Straits, has been waning. And Chen's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) just lost its dominance in the "Legislative Yuan (Parliament)" and control of many local governments in the "three-in-one" elections held in December.
Another round of "mainland heat" swept through the island, helping raise public awareness of the mainland's sincerity and the threat posed by "Taiwan independence." However, the "Taiwan independence" camp has not stopped its activities. Neither has the cause of tension across the Straits been uprooted. There is no room for blind optimism about cross-Straits relations in 2006. The opposition and containment of the "Taiwan independence" movement and its activities will remain the most pressing challenge for compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.
The Chen Shui-bian administration still clings to its "Taiwan independence" stand and remains active in pushing the task forward. The most dangerous of such manoeuvres is, of course, the efforts to "legitimize Taiwan independence" through the so-called "constitutional change."
There is still a force in the world offering military as well as political support to the Taiwan regime in its rivalry against the mainland and, by doing so, sending the wrong signal to the "Taiwan independence" camp. For instance, the United States has been selling advanced weapons to and conducting military co-operation with Taiwan. Relations between Japan and Taiwan have been strengthened in effect in recent years.
During their bilateral discussion on security last February, the United States and Japan for the first time set as one of their common regional strategic goals to "encourage the resolution of related issues across the Taiwan Straits through peaceful dialogue."
Chen lost no time to trumpet what he called a US-Japan-Taiwan alliance, a gesture extremely unhelpful to peace and stability in the region and to efforts by all Chinese people to resolve the Taiwan question themselves.
Like every situation, it could develop for better or worse. Next year holds both encouraging and worrying prospects for cross-Straits relations.
The mainland will maintain its pragmatic policies beneficial to Taiwan compatriots and push the development of cross-Straits relations towards peace and stability. Likewise, overwhelming public desire in Taiwan will maintain the peaceful and steady improvement of cross-Straits relations to allow the island to fix various urgent problems affecting people's daily lives.
Opinion exchange and co-operation across the Taiwan Straits is also an important force in containing secessionist activities by the "Taiwan independence" supporters. The Chinese mainland will push ahead the drive for direct, two-way and complete access for shipping, telecommunications and post across the Straits, the relocation of two giant pandas from Sichuan to Taiwan and the opening up of the island as a destination for mainland tourists as soon as possible. The mainland could also implement more policies and measures beneficial to Taiwan compatriots in its drive for more exchanges between both sides of the Straits.
(Source: China Daily)