Taiwan forum aiming for better cross-strait communication

Resolving differing interpretations of 'one China' policy is a key issue

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2012, 3:47am

A high-profile forum involving some 200 cross-strait experts and officials from the mainland as well as Taiwan's ruling and opposition parties kicked off in Taipei yesterday.

The forum's host, Chang Ya-chung, president of the Taipei-based Chinese Integration Association, said the event, the first since the Communist Party changed its leadership after its national congress in Beijing last month, would serve as a communication platform for the island's ruling Kuomintang and the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party as well as the Communist Party to exchange views on cross-strait relations.

"It is to urge the two sides to take note of the importance of full mutual recognition and trust," Chang said at the opening of the two-day event.

It had originally been scheduled for July but was called off due to Taipei's objection to the participation of "too many" retired generals from the mainland.

Without enough mutual recognition and trust, all the fruits of cross-strait exchanges "would remain sand dunes that could be easily destroyed", Chang said.

Sun Yafu, vice-chairman of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (Arats), admitted that it would not be an easy task to seek mutual recognition, given the differences in the economic, political, cultural and social development of the two sides in the past century.

The mainland is aware that most Taiwanese do not know what is happening on the mainland or have misunderstandings about it, he said, speaking as director of the mainland's Research Centre on Cross-strait Relations.

He said the "1992 consensus" could serve as common ground for the two sides to increase mutual trust, with recognition of the "one China" framework the key to deepening the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.

"It is an objective fact that before the two sides resolve their political disputes, they still have different interpretations of 'one China', but this also means there is a common point and connecting point in the views of 'one China' by the two sides," Sun said.

He told reporters later that he and his Arats colleagues - who also attended the forum in unofficial capacities - had not come to Taipei to push for political dialogue. "Given the political differences, it would be difficult to achieve consensus all at once, yet through this forum I can still sense that political issues are still discussable in Taiwan," he said.

The forum's aims are to strengthen mutual trust and deepen peaceful development of cross-strait relations, a topic that echoes remarks by former Communist Party general secretary Hu Jintao in a report at the party congress.