Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 10:42 | SYDNEY
Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 10:42 | SYDNEY

China-Taiwan: This is good news, right?


Sam Roggeveen


6 January 2009 10:12

Among the many events I missed on my blissfully media-free holiday was Chinese President Hu Jintao's 31 December proposal for a formal armistice with Taiwan. When I read about it yesterday it struck me as pretty huge news, largely buried by new years celebrations. But it gets bigger, as Hu actually made six proposals:

The 'six points' are: firm adherence to the 'one China' principle; strengthening commercial ties, including negotiating an economic cooperation agreement; promoting personnel exchanges; stressing common cultural links between the two sides; allowing Taiwan's 'reasonable' participation in global organisations and negotiating a peace agreement.

Those more familiar with cross-Strait politics will no doubt see all sorts of problem areas and points of disagreement, but isn't this a pretty substantial Chinese policy shift, and cause for some optimism? The line about Taiwanese participation in global organisations is itself a pretty substantial concession, no?

And just to top things off, there are now indications China wants to reduce the number of missiles it has aimed at Taiwan. Short of actually decomissioning such missiles, this would be a pretty cosmetic step, but still, good news, right?