|President and CCP Chairman Xi Jinping in Beijing|
After years of rapprochement, agreements and high-level talks, one could hardly blame the Chinese public for thinking that the efforts initiated by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and then-Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) would eventually lead to a final, political resolution to the conflict in the Taiwan Strait.
On the Chinese side, there were hopes during the early days of Ma’s first term in office that once the relatively easy negotiations on trade issues were done with, the two sides would quickly initiate political dialogue on Taiwan’s status and perhaps sign a peace accord of some sort. The more optimistic even hoped that the first steps could be taken while Hu was still chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and failing that, still in the office of the president.
That time came and went, and Hu went home empty-handed. Ma was re-elected last year on a platform that promised more of the same — and more of the same is exactly what the Chinese got. Negotiations continued, but remained focused on economics, investment, trade, tourism and education.
Now Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is in office and chairman of the CCP, and it would be reasonable to expect that he hopes to surpass the achievements of his predecessor on the Taiwan “question.” But that is unlikely to happen.
My unsigned editorial continues here.