Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou have addressed each other as Mr. Xi and Mr. Ma. What does this historic meeting mean for Taiwan-China relations? Read few comments.
Nathan K. H. Liu, Associate Professor, Ming Chuan University
The first meeting between the two presidents across the Taiwan Strait is of course historical. It is symbolic rather than substantial since no agreements are to be signed and declarations made. This still means a lot given the fact that none of the previous leaders did this before. This also sets a framework for the next president in that it will be very difficult to undone what is already done. Some even believe this is aimed to constrain the policy direction of Tsai Yi-wen, DPP’s presidential candidate who is believed to have high possibility of winning the election next year. This also explains why China agrees to have the meeting now, the arrangement of which has been under process for two years and China has been hesitating to say yes regardless of Taiwan’s intention to do so. China obviously worries that the current relations across the Strait might might face setback if Tsai gets elected next year and is trying to make sure that will not happen.
To a certain degree, the meeting implies that China is seriously seeing Taiwan as an effective government, not a renegade province, or you may think it as “One China, two governments” if you need a catchy slogan. On another note, since Tsai never openly recognizes “1992 Consensus” and insists on “maintaining status quo,” this might be another way to define “status quo” and will force Tsai to accept it next year, if she gets elected.
Teh-Kuang Chang, Professor of Political Science, Ball State University
This is a most important development in international relations , not only will affect to China, Asia, but also the world. The most important result is to confirm the common ground of the development of relations between two sides of the Taiwan strait by means of peace, not war.
That is to confirm their relations based on 1992 consensus in Singapore of their first time negotiation of both sides informally. That is to accept the concept of “One China” , but up to their different interpretation of “China” . Taiwan interprets “ China” as Republic of China, Mainland interpret “People’s Republic of China. This is the understanding for both sides to develop their contact regardless of their political differences.
The most important understanding is that PRC will not use military method for unification of China, not only for the stability of Taiwan , but also for peace in Asia. Therefore, the relationship of both will continue of both sides by means of economy, social, culture and others toward the final goal of unification to solve their differences by political agreement. In this Singapore both sides showed the courtesy , and friendly as statesmen, not enemies. Thus, I deem this meeting is successful to lay the foundation to solve their difference by continuation of peaceful means, to avoid conflict , such as to set up “hot lines” .
You can find their detail from 5 points of Ma Ying- Jeou ‘s position and 4 points of Xi Jinping response in their discussion.
Vincent Wei-cheng Wang, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Richmond
This historic meeting between the leaders of Mainland China and Taiwan is symbolically significant, but whether it would usher in a sustained process of reconciliation remains to be seen. It may inject an unpredictable element into Taiwan’s upcoming elections in January 2016, in which the ruling KMT party is widely expected to lose the presidency and possibly also control of the parliament. However, this meeting also set up a precedent for future Taiwan leaders to meet their mainland counterparts. It does tie the hands of the DPP somewhat. I know that both Ma and Xi wanted to have a cordial first meeting, but I wish Ma had been more eloquent in asking Xi to acknowledge ROC’s presence, reduce China’s military threat, and loosen China’s strangulation of Taiwan’s international space.