Home / China / Opinion Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
To Taiwan, with goodwill
Adjust font size:

The hardliners in the "green camp" curse it, citing it as yet another example of the Ma Ying-jeou administration's self-dwarfing act.

But the more pragmatic ones, both in the green and blue camps in Taiwan, see it as a major headway in the island's pursuit of international representation.

However people interpret it, one has to welcome Taiwan's presence as an observer at the 62nd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA). It reflects the length that cross-Straits ties have traveled since the Chinese mainland and Taiwan took the historic friendly steps last year.

The island's health chief is in Geneva, representing Chinese Taipei at the WHA session opened yesterday because the mainland has made good its promise of making "reasonable arrangements" for Taiwan's representation in international organizations.

On the last day of 2008, President Hu Jintao promised to make "reasonable arrangements" for the island's representation in world bodies provided it did not create the impression of "two Chinas," or "one China, one Taiwan". Taiwan's presence at the WHA session is something to be celebrated by all, including those opposed to improvement in cross-Straits ties. Technically, this is the best arrangement the island or any non-sovereign entity could expect at a United Nations forum. Such a possibility had been unthinkable since Taiwan lost its seat in the UN in 1971. In fact, that was the case till a year ago before cross-Straits ties began warming up.

High on the WHA session's agenda is the global preparedness to deal with the A(H1N1) pandemic. Taiwan's presence at the WHA will certainly help it strengthen preventive measures on the island because it will have more direct access to the world health body's professional resources and information system.

But for Taiwan, it is not only about H1N1, the WHA or public health. It is about the goodwill gesture of the mainland that shows how sincere it is to improve cross-Straits ties. Hopefully, people on the other side of the Straits see and accept it exactly that way.

The previous island administration- of the Democratic Progressive Party under the pro-independence Chen Shui-bian-made desperate bids to enter the World Health Organisation as a member. But it failed because Chen tried to create the impression that there were "two Chinas," or "one China, one Taiwan".

Some analysts see Taiwan's observer status in WHA as a major concession from the mainland, saying this is the first time friendly interaction across the Straits has gone beyond economy and trade.

It is an example of how far cross-Straits ties can actually go if both sides exhibit the political will. The two sides have reached consensus on one issue and signed agreements on nine issues in the past 12 months. That is a great beginning for making further headway in the relationship.

Let Taiwan's presence at WHA be the starting point of realizing the infinite potential in cross-Straits ties.

(China Daily May 19, 2009)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read Bookmark and Share
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Taiwan finally gets close to the action