Policy Paper

Cross-Strait Relations: Avoiding War, Managing Peace

in Program

In this occasional paper for the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies in Taipei, Alan D. Romberg discuss the developments in the cross-Strait relations in the aftermath of March 2004 presidential election in Taiwan. 

2004 Election of Taiwan has brought new developments to the cross-Strait relations. Since then, re-elected Taiwan President Chen Shi-bian has started to adopt a more cautious tone and position on sensitive issues such as the Taiwan independence, constitutional reform, sovereignty, territorial boundaries and referendum, determined by the domestic forces and political development on the island. Beijing, although frustrated by the success of the Democratic Progressive Party, has become more realistic and forthcoming in its attitude toward reunification, as is shown in the adjustment of wording concerning Taiwan issue. However, the lack of trust and the forced military build-ups on both sides still make a final resolution in the foreseeable future unlikely and the stability of the “status quo�Eof Taiwan Strait remains to be fragile.

Both China and Taiwan has expressed dissatisfaction with the US policy. Although there are voices calling for a more “proactive�Erole of the United States in promoting cross-Strait dialogue, such a policy would be neither rational nor probable. US “One China�Epolicy has well served the interests of United States, PRC and Taiwan, fostered peace, prosperity and security and should be pursued unswervingly.

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