This is an address given by Alan D. Romberg at the SAIS China Forum on March 10, 2004.
The coming election in Taiwan could constitute an important turning point for the future cross-Strait relations and US policy. The issue lies in the tension between PRC’s bottom line on the “One China principle” and Taiwanese insistence on determining their own future. Taiwan question today has largely comes down to a matter of political symbolism. Mainland and Taiwan have very different perceptions concerning the nature of the cross-Strait relations. Their attitudes on some key issues have undergone dramatic changes in recent years.
China, US, and Taiwan have longstanding various definitions of the “maintaining status quo,” but whether one party or another will make a push seen as threatening to the core interest to others is the problem. China should adopt a more flexible, creative and flexible stance on issues like resumption of the dialogues and allow Taiwan some “international space.” And Taiwan should not miscalculate PRC intentions or American interest.
US policy has been correct and effective. It shall maintain a strong, constructive relationship with China; ensure the Taiwan issue will be resolved peacefully by being actively involved and fostering the environment; maximize the policy coordination with Taipei and Beijing as well as within the American government, and achieve a better understanding of the history of the issue.