Cross-Strait Watch No. 4

Cross-Strait Watch No. 4
photo credit: REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich/達志影像

What you need to know

An overview of the past week's developments in cross-Strait relations.

On July 19, a tour bus in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan, crashed, killing all 26 people onboard, including 24 Chinese tourists.

China had previously cut off communication mechanisms set up during the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration, but the incident forced the Chinese to reach out to Taiwanese authorities. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office dispatched a team to manage the situation, which in the process reestablished communications with the Taiwanese government, Initium reported.

Despite unilaterally suspending communications, China has recently begun to circulate that Taiwan was to blame. Read the op-ed on this development by The News Lens International.

The Republican national convention, in Cleveland, Ohio, saw the official nomination of Donald Trump as its presidential candidate. The 2016 party platform, which is critical of China, was also adopted during the event.

The document accuses China of manipulating its currency and not enforcing intellectual property rights. It labels China as an aggressor in the South China Sea and Chinese policies in Xinjiang and Tibet as “cultural genocide.”

On the other hand, the party reserved a warm tone for Taiwan. According to the document, the Republican party “[salutes] the people of Taiwan, with whom [the party shares] the values of democracy, human rights, a free market economy, and the rule of law.” In a first for the republicans, the document also reaffirmed Reagan’s Six Assurances from 1982.

In response, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang (陸慷) called for the Republican Party to stop making “groundless accusations” against China. Lu told Xinhua on July 20, "All political parties in the United States should view China's development in an objective and rational manner and correctly understand the issues that emerge in bilateral ties.”

Taiwan’s foreign ministry expressed its gratitude to the Republican party for recognizing Taiwan’s efforts of cross-strait stability, the Central News Agency reported. The ministry said Taiwan was worthy of U.S. support in the international community.

China has become a major topic in the American presidential campaign. Donald Trump’s campaign is, in part, built on China-bashing. Trump’s policy advisor Peter Navarro criticized China’s supposed use of illegal export subsidies, currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, and forced technology transfers to gain an upper hand on bilateral trade.

China reacted with anger to a Washington Post exclusive interview with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) released on Friday, with some analysts arguing that this was the first time that Tsai, who was inaugurated on May 20, had clearly stated her denial of the so-called 1992 consensus. The Presidential Office in Taipei later stated that Tsai was not referring to the so-called consensus itself but rather to an alleged deadline set by Beijing, which Tsai said would unlikely be acceptable to the Taiwanese public. In her one-on-one interview with the Post's Lally Weymouth, Tsai said she hoped Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) would show greater flexibility in handling cross-strait relations.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole