Yu Zhengsheng seeks 'civilian-level dialogue' to broach political discussions with Taiwan

Yu Zhengsheng seeks to advance political talks despite KMT reluctance on issue

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 January, 2014, 3:48am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 January, 2014, 4:56am

Yu Zhengsheng , a member of the Communist Party's top leadership overseeing Taiwan affairs, yesterday called for more "civilian-level" political dialogue to help realise Beijing's goal of cross-strait reunification.

Speaking at the annual Taiwan work conference in Beijing, Yu - the chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a member of the supreme Politburo Standing Committee - called for concerted efforts from all levels of government to develop cross-strait relations and discourage the island from declaring independence.

The remarks by Yu, who sits with President Xi Jinping on the panel responsible for Taiwan affairs, were seen by analysts as an effort to advance the thorny issue of political talks by using civilian groups outside the normal sphere of politics.

"All departments all over the country must steadfastly and wholeheartedly push for stable development of cross-strait relations, continue to promote cross-strait political mutual trust and interaction, while resolutely opposing any separatist attempt of Taiwan independence," Yu said.

Analysts saw the move as a logical step to push Beijing's reunification agenda forward, given Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's reluctance to start political talks.

"With Taiwan's local government elections set to be held in December, Beijing will try all it can to promote political dialogue with various sectors in Taiwan," said Yang Lixian , a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Taiwan Studies.

Beijing, which does not want Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party to return to power, was aware of the fading popularity of Ma and his Kuomintang, Yang said.

George Tsai Wei, a political science professor at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, said that although Beijing found Taiwan independence unacceptable, it did want to hold private discussions with the island's so called Pan-Green Alliance of smaller parties generally opposed to reunification.

Li Jiaquan, another researcher at Yang's institute, called on authorities on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to create conditions that were favourable for political dialogue.

Liu Guoshen , head of Xiamen University's Taiwan Research Institute, said Beijing knew it was too early to make overtly political steps.

"This year won't be suitable for Beijing to broach political negotiations because the Taiwanese public is not behind it," Liu said. "But Beijing has become more confident in dealing with Taiwan. So continuing to boost cultural and economic exchanges will pave the road for more sensitive discussions in the future."