Breaking the China-Taiwan Impasse

By Donald S. Zagoria; Chris Fugarino | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6

Taiwan's New Policy toward Mainland China

Julian Jengliang Kuo

The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP's) rise to power has changed the political landscape in which Taiwan's policy toward China is carried out. The DPP has long challenged the one-China principle in two senses. First, because it came into existence long after the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War fought by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Kuomintang (KMT), the DPP seeks to redefine Taiwan's political identity apart from that war. As it seeks to do so, it is experiencing difficulty in its relationships with the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the United States. Both tend to treat Taiwan as an unsolved problem of modern Chinese history. Second, based on a new conception of Taiwan's identity, the DPP is eager to break away from the orthodoxy of the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué in which the United States and the PRC stated that Taiwan is a part of China. The DPP is against one (political-legal) China in the present tense.

Owing to the DPP's long-held position on Taiwan's independence, its rise to power inevitably provoked suspicion and distrust on the part of the PRC. To avoid cross-strait confrontation, President Chen has tried every means possible to soften the DPP's position on independence since his presidential victory. He has also sought to build mutual trust that could facilitate cross-strait reconciliation. The PRC, however, has remained rigid in its interpretation of the one-China orthodoxy and has failed to adjust itself to Taiwan's new political situation.


PRESIDENT CHEN'S ADJUSTMENTS

In his inauguration speech President Chen asserted that if the PRC refrained from using force, he would not declare Taiwan's independence,

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