Embracing a New Era of Cooperation
KMT chairman's mainland visit sets the tune for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations
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UPDATED: May 11, 2015 NO. 20 MAY 14, 2015
Cross-Straits Relations Redefined

President Xi Jinping, in his capacity as general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met with Eric Chu, Chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT), the ruling party in Taiwan, in Beijing on May 4. Given the factious history between the two parties, every meeting between them naturally attracts attention domestically and abroad. This was Xi's first meeting with a KMT Chairman since taking office.

Above all, talks between the CPC and the KMT, namely, between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, take as their basis the principle of one China, a tenet agreed upon by both parties. Additionally, the recent meeting reaffirmed their resolve to maintain peaceful development.

At the meeting, Xi posited several new ideas. He suggested building a community across the Taiwan Straits that shares the same destiny and that feelings on either side of the Straits be given consideration. In particular, he stressed providing more opportunities for people at the community level, small and medium-sized enterprises, and young people starting businesses or seeking employment.

China fell back into a civil war after the combined forces of the KMT and the CPC expelled the Japanese invaders. The end of that conflict saw KMT forces retreating to Taiwan. Following the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, it was to be several decades before relations between the two parties thawed.

After taking power in Taiwan in 2000, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) popularized the concept of "Taiwan independence," straining cross-Straits relations almost to breaking point. The ensuing confrontation caused problems for both sides. Against this backdrop, in 2005, Hu Jintao, then General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, met with Lien Chan, then Chairman of the KMT, in Beijing, the first face-to-face meeting between leaders of the two parties since 1949. In 2008, the KMT regained power in Taiwan and expressed eagerness to refresh ties with the mainland.

The recent meeting also sent a clear message to the DPP, now out of office, as regards the now irrevocable trend of peaceful development in cross-Straits relations. The attitude held by the DPP has always presented somewhat a stumbling block in terms of the development of a constructive relationship between the two sides. Take the Cross-Straits Service Trade Agreement, a framework of cooperation expected to benefit the economy and trade across the Straits signed in 2013, for instance. Owing to opposition from the DPP, this agreement has yet to be ratified by Taiwan's legislature.

When the general elections go ahead next year, no matter who emerges victorious, the basic principle of one China and cross-Straits peaceful development should be observed, and it is hoped that external parties will follow suit.

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