Breaking the China-Taiwan Impasse

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

CHAPTER 8

Preparing for a Better Time in Cross-Strait Relations: Short-Term Stalemate, Possible Medium-Term Opportunities

David M. Lampton


INTRODUCTION

Breakthroughs, whether in domestic politics or global affairs, require rare alignments of the political and geopolitical stars within and among the involved societies. Such an alignment with respect to cross-strait relations is not in the forecast and not particularly probable during the next two (possibly three) years, although there have been some positive developments in the first half of 2001. One of those positive developments is a United States-China relationship that currently appears on a modestly positive trajectory.

In Taiwan politics today, some argue that President Chen Shui-bian soon will be driven toward acknowledgment of the 1992 Consensus (in which both sides of the strait seemed to subscribe to an ill-defined “one-China” concept to get bilateral, unofficial talks underway). Were this to occur, it would be because of the accumulated needs of political realignment on the island, non-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) interaction with the People's Republic of China (PRC) political apparatus, and a sagging Taiwan economy (and sagging foreign direct investment into the island) producing business community and popular pressure on Chen for accommodation to PRC one-China demands. Indeed, the National Economic Development Advisory Council met in July and August 2001 and was an important part of this process; Mr.

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