Hsieh's visit positive step
Updated: 2012-10-10 08:06
Judged by any standard, Taiwan politician Frank Hsieh's five-day trip to the Chinese mainland, which concluded on Monday, was a significant development in the ongoing advancement of cross-Straits ties.
Although Hsieh was visiting in an individual capacity, his trip has still drawn much attention from both sides of the Taiwan Straits, because as a Democratic Progressive Party heavyweight and the island's former "premier", he is the most senior DPP member ever to visit the mainland. Hitherto, the DPP's pro-independence stance has estranged it from the mainland.
Although Hsieh's visit was meant to be a private trip and did not represent any change in his party's policy, it has been widely interpreted as an "ice-breaking" trip and a positive step in the advancement of cross-Straits relations.
It is to be hoped his visit has helped to build the mutual trust that is instrumental in dispelling suspicion and enmity. Hsieh exchanged views on "issues of common concern" with State Councilor Dai Bingguo in Beijing on Sunday.
During former DPP chief Chen Shui-bian's term of office as Taiwan "president", from 2000 to 2008, bilateral ties witnessed devastating setbacks due to the DPP's pro-independence stunts. The once healthy momentum of interaction with the mainland was curtailed and cross-Straits exchanges hit snags.
Since May 2008 cross-Straits ties have taken a historic upturn, leading to substantial headway in pragmatic collaboration and people-to-people exchanges. The fruit of this trend is people on both sides now share the same vision for the peaceful development of cross-Straits ties.
The DPP's pursuit of "Taiwan independence" is a proven formula for souring ties, and the party's loss in the island's 2008 election was a sharp reminder that its anti-mainland stance is not popular with people on the island.
Both sides share increasing stakes in preserving the strong momentum and the hard-earned rapport that has been achieved. In 2011, cross-Straits trade reached $160 billion. Any political force that acts against the historical trend for greater interaction will find itself marginalized and shunned by people on both sides.
For the DPP to stay relevant in Taiwan's political mainstream, it has to seriously rethink its mainland policy. The mainland is willing to talk with any people or political parties that support the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus.
(China Daily 10/10/2012 page8)