Beijing sets out policy on Taiwan ties

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 April, 2014, 5:02am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 April, 2014, 5:02am

Beijing has set out in principle how it would like ties with Taiwan to develop, although it is still not rushing towards the island's unification with the mainland, analysts and political observers said.

The state-run Guangming Daily last week ran a commentary on President Xi Jinping's "three-stage formula" for enhancing cross-strait ties.

Xi first introduced the idea during a meeting in February with Lien Chan, the honorary chairman of Taiwan's governing Kuomintang, but analysts said the publication of the newspaper commentary highlighted that the policy would now set the tone for future contacts between the two sides.

Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province after the civil war ended in 1949. It hopes that Taiwan will one day be unified with the mainland. With warming relations since President Ma Ying-jeou took office in Taiwan in 2008 with a policy of engaging with Beijing, the two sides are already experiencing the first stage of Xi's three-stage formula, according to Stephen Chen, the head of the National Security Division of the National Policy Foundation think tank.

"While [former president] Hu Jintao focused on developing cross-strait economic and non-political exchanges in the first stage, Xi wants to promote official contacts in the second stage before pushing on for political talks," Chen said.

Under Xi's formula, the second of the three stages is developing official contacts or meetings between the two sides' government heads, the Guangming Daily said. Finally, the third stage is full cross-straits political talks on an "equal basis".

Li Fei , the deputy director of Xiamen University's Taiwan Research Institute, said the mainland found it unnecessary to rush unification with Taiwan as this would create instability. Beijing was also grappling with its own domestic political problems, Li said.

Additional reporting by Teddy Ng