China Times: Pursuing China's rejuvenation

In his inaugural speech as China's president March 17, Xi Jinping mentioned nine times his pledge to achieve the "Chinese dream" of rejuvenating China. On relations with Taiwan, Xi urged people on either side of the Taiwan Strait to work together to support, maintain and promote cross-strait peace. Xi no doubt spoke the voices of many people. We believe that peace, prosperity and dignity should be the highest values for cross-strait exchanges and dreams that people on both sides should work together to achieve. Also that day, China's new premier, Li Keqiang, reiterated that "both the mainland and Taiwan belong to our common homeland." Despite sharing common descent and cultural roots with the Chinese, however, Taiwanese are cautious about the phrase "common homeland" due to a lack of cross-strait mutual trust. Enhancing mutual trust is therefore a top priority for leaders on the two sides. The widening gap between Taiwan and China in terms of military and economic power, as well as Taiwan's international isolation, are causing a structural imbalance in cross-strait ties. Under these circumstances, Taiwan's exclusion from regional economic liberalization due to obstructions from China has become the main reason why cross-strait mutual trust is difficult to achieve. Unless this basic conflict is resolved, it will be hard for the two sides to build enough momentum to discuss other cross-strait political issues. (Editorial abstract -- March 20, 2013) (By Y.F. Low)