Breaking the China-Taiwan Impasse

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

Conclusion

Donald S. Zagoria

The current political impasse between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan over the issue of one China is unlikely to be solved in the near future. At its heart, the issue relates to the most sensitive problem between the PRC and Taiwan—the issue of sovereignty over Taiwan. The PRC continues to insist that the Taiwan authorities accept the principle of one China, with Taiwan a part of that China, while Taiwan, now led by President Chen Shui-bian, insists that although one China can be on the agenda for discussion, no prior conditions for dialogue should be set.

Many in Taiwan's ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), go even further than President Chen. A recent authoritative resolution on Taiwan's future by the DPP (see the appendices), says that Taiwan should renounce the PRC's one-China formula in order “to avoid international confusion” and to prevent the PRC from using that formula as a “pretext for forceful annexation.”

Meanwhile, many in the PRC's leadership believe that the reason Chen Shui-bian refuses to accept the one-China formula is because he is determined to lead Taiwan toward independence. The mainland is extremely suspicious of Chen and the DPP, and there is very little confidence in them. The history of the DPP is well known on the mainland, and despite Chen's recent shifts from earlier policies relating to independence, these moves are viewed by Beijing as tactical.

Adding to the difficulties is China's formula of “one country, two systems, ” which is viewed by the PRC as generous in its provisions for Taiwan, but which is not acceptable to the overwhelming majority of Taiwan's citizens who are not prepared to become a province of 22 million in a country of 1.3 billion, even if guarantees of maximum autonomy were established. The

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