A New Opportunity for Cross-strait Development

By Editorial staff
Published: 2008-11-11

Cover editorial, issue 393 November 10
Original article: [Chinese]

Mainland and Taiwanese officials met in Taipei from November 3rd to 7th to sign a historic set of agreements that would deepen ties between the two.

Chen Yunlin, president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) signed four agreements in Taipei regarding air and sea transport, postal service and food security with his Taiwanese counterpart Chiang Pin-kung, Chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation.

The "big three links", or direct trade, postal service, and sea transport between mainland China and Taiwan that had been suspended for years, will finally be realized. This significant achievement is an indisputable milestone for the development of cross-straits relations.

Chen was the highest-ranking mainland official among those who have visited Taiwan since 1949. Despite only a seven-minute meeting with Taiwanese leader Ma Ying-jeo, his visit was a breakthrough in high-level communication between both sides.

Both economies have already become closely integrated. But after the "big three links" are established, cross-strait shipping and travel will become much cheaper, further enhancing their economic integration.

The success of the "big three links" is proof that the people's pursuit of closer economic and cultural ties can break down any barrier erected, be they political,idealogical, historical, or otherwise. Even when cross-strait relations were tense in 1998, Taiwan still maintained rapid investment growth in the mainland, and people on both sides maintained frequent visits. It is this people power that is driving cross-strait ties forward.

While we celebrate the achievement of "big three links", we should also recognize that it was long overdue, and both sides need to continue clearing away some historical baggage blocking further cross-strait cooperation. Facing the worsening global economic climates, Taiwan and the mainland, both larger export-oriented economies owning huge foreign exchange reserves, should work together in coping with the current economic and financial situation.

And t
o move forward on the basis of what has been achieved now, both sides need to dispel both internal and external obstacles.

Instead of reacting to personal emotions with political measures, Chen calmy faced the protests he encountered in Taiwan. Both the principles of "establish mutual trust, shelve disputes, and seek common ground while reserving differences," brought forward by President Hu Jintao early this May and Ma Ying-jeo's "confront reality, do not deny each other's existence, work for the people's benefits and peace between the two sides" showed great political foresight.

To push for more substantial progress by open and easy communication like this will be the best way to eliminate historical conflicts and the best explanation to those who have been hoping for peace and prosperity on both sides.