Taiwan: President Chen Calls on China to Restart Dialogue
According to Chen, the "Koo-Wang talks" were a good start and successful model for cross-Taiwan Strait relations, and the spirit displayed by the talks -no preconditions, parity, agreeing to disagree, and continuous consultations -- still remains the key to reopening the cross-strait "window of opportunity."
Chen made the comment in the latest edition of his online newsletter, in which he paid tribute to Koo Chen-fu and Wang Daohan, the late chairmen of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, respectively. They both died in 2005, one in January and the other in December.
As heads of the semi-official organizations set up by both sides to handle cross-strait affairs in the absence of official ties, Koo and Wang acted as chief negotiators for their respective governments.
"Thanks to the effort and prestige enjoyed by Koo and Wang... the 'Koo-Wang talks' opened a window of opportunity for a breakthrough in cross-strait relations, " Chen said. "Although this window has been shut, we sincerely hope that it will always exist."
Chen said that the picture showing Koo and Wang shaking hands over the negotiating table was the most impressive image that came out of the "Koo-Wang talks" held on April 27, 1993.
While no similar scene was seen when the two met again in 1998 in Shanghai, it was also proven later that the "Koo-Wang talks" was an extraordinary occasion in the history of cross-strait exchanges, Chen said.
He pointed out that the "Koo-Wang talks" were the first time and also the last when Taiwan and China put aside their differences to negotiate with each other on an equal footing, without setting any preconditions, which brought about the possibility of a breakthrough in cross-strait relations and created a favorable atmosphere for future negotiations.
However, the spirit of the "Koo-Wang talks" lasted only for a very short time and then disappeared "like a shooting star", Chen said.
On August 31, 1993, China's Taiwan Affairs Office released a white paper on the Taiwan issue and the unification of China, stating that "peaceful unification" and "one country, two systems" would be the basic guidelines for resolving the Taiwan question, he said.
This basically negated the model of cross-strait interaction established by the "Koo-Wang talks" and signified the regression of cross-strait relations, according to Chen.
He continued that on January 30 1995, then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin unveiled an eight-point overture on cross-strait relations which stated that the "one China" principle was the basis and prerequisite to realizing the peaceful unification of China.
This set the preconditions of "one China" and "unification" for cross-strait negotiations and downgraded cross-strait exchanges to those between central and local governments, he said.
"Today, many people put the blame for cross-strait conflicts and confrontation on what Taiwan has said or done. But they basically ignore the fact that the barricade in cross-strait relations actually lies in the undemocratic and hegemonic mentality of China," he said.
He claimed that China is not going to change its policy toward Taiwan no matter how much goodwill Taiwan extends, unless China stops being controlled by a communist dictatorship that relies on military force and nationalism to sustain its government.
Chen said his experience dealing with China over the last five or six years shows that it would make no difference as to who is in power in Taiwan, because the only thing that China wants of Taiwan is for Taiwan to surrender and accept unification.