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Commentary on "A modest proposal for a basic agreement on peaceful cross-strait development" by Chang Ya-chung

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Hughes, Christopher R.

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Abstract This critique assesses Prof. Chang Ya-chung’s draft basic agreement for cross-Strait relations by arguing that it overstates changes in Beijing’s Taiwan policy, which is based on a strategy that has not seen substantial change since it was devised in the early 1990s to prevent the island’s democratization leading to the exercise of self-determination. By over-estimating Taiwan's political, diplomatic, military, and economic vulnerability the proposal unnecessarily narrows down Taibei's options to the point where it has to accept Beijing’s one-China principle. This merely closes off other options that Taiwan can just as readily pursue, such as continuing to develop cross-Strait relations through ad hoc solutions to practical problems or seeking more imaginative ways to create a durable modus vivendi with international support. Even more problematic is that a political framework for stability based on the principles of Chinese nationalism is unlikely to be acceptable for Taiwan's liberaldemocratic politics and could thus amount to an unnecessary risk that would lead to a less durable cross-Strait status quo than that which has been maintained over the last two decades.
Keywords Taiwan; China; bilateral relations; international relations; international politics; sovereignty; international cooperation; Far East
Classification International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy; Peace and Conflict Research, International Conflicts, Security Policy
Free Keywords Political science; Taiwan Straits; peace policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 149-162
Journal Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 39 (2010) 1
ISSN 1868-4874
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works