Taiwan Province 

Located to the southeast of the Chinese mainland opposite Fujian Province, the island province of Taiwan is flanked by the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Taiwan Straits to the west. Covering an area of 36,000 sq km, Taiwan includes Taiwan Island, the Penghu Islands and 80 other smaller neighboring islands and islets. Taiwan was called Yizhou or Liuqiu in ancient times. Records of Chinese people developing Taiwan in earliest times are found in many historical documents. Chinese governments ruled Taiwan for centuries. The social development of Taiwan continued according to Chinese cultural traditions even during its 50-year occupation by Japan. The Chinese government restored its administrative organs in Taiwan Province after victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan in 1945. On the eve of the founding of the PRC in 1949, the Kuomintang authorities retreated from the mainland to Taiwan. In 1950, the Korean War broke out, and the United States dispatched its Seventh Fleet to invade Taiwan and occupy the Taiwan Straits. In 1954, the government of the United States and the Taiwan authorities signed a “Mutual Defense Treaty,” bringing about the separation of Taiwan from the mainland.

The government of the PRC has made unremitting efforts to solve the Taiwan issue, and realize the reunification of the country. In February 1972, when President Richard M. Nixon of the United States visited China, the two sides issued the Shanghai Communique. On January 1, 1979, the United States established official diplomatic relations with China, formally recognizing the government of the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China and Taiwan as a part of China and, at the same time announcing the cessation of “diplomatic relations” with the Taiwan authorities, the annulment of the “Mutual Defense Treaty” and the withdrawal of all its military personnel from Taiwan. In these historical conditions, the Chinese government, out of consideration for the interests and future of the whole nation, put forward the principle of “peaceful reunification of the country, and one country, two systems” in accordance with the principle of respecting history and reality, seeking truth from facts and taking into account the interests of both sides. The basic points of this basic principle and the relevant policies are:

China will do its best to achieve peaceful reunification, but will not commit itself to rule out the use of force; will actively promote people-to-people contacts and economic and cultural exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, and start direct trade, postal, air and shipping services as soon as possible; achieve reunification through peaceful negotiations and, on the premise of the One-China Principle, any matter can be negotiated. After reunification, the policy of “one country, two systems” will be practiced, with the main body of China (China mainland) continuing with its socialist system, and Taiwan maintaining its capitalist system for a long period of time to come. After reunification, Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy, and the Central Government will not send troops or administrative personnel to be stationed in Taiwan. Resolution of the Taiwan issue is an internal affair of China, which should be achieved by the Chinese themselves, and there is no call for aid by foreign forces. The afore-mentioned principles and policies embody the basic stand and spirit of adhering to the One-China Principle, and fully respect Taiwan compatriots’ wish to govern and administer Taiwan by themselves.

Since the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress’ (NPC’s) publication on New Year’s Day, 1979 of the Appeal to Compatriots in Taiwan, the Chinese government has resolutely implemented the basic policy of “peaceful reunification of the motherland, and one country, two systems,” advocated national reunification through negotiations, proposed that the two sides facilitate exchanges of mail, trade, air and shipping services, and adopted serious measures on our own initiative to promote the development of the relations between the two sides. Politically, the Chinese government has readjusted the relevant policies, and alleviated hostility; militarily, it has voluntarily relaxed the posture of confrontation by stopping the bombarding of Jinmen and other islands, and reduced military forces stationed in the coastal areas of Fujian; economically, it has opened its doors widely to welcome business people from Taiwan to make investments and engage in trade activities on the mainland, and protected their legal rights and interests. In addition, the Chinese government has actively promoted people-to-people contacts and bilateral exchanges in the fields of science and technology, culture, sports, academia and journalism; and authorized the mainland’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, a non-governmental organization, to establish relations with Taiwan’s Foundation for Exchange Across the Taiwan Straits, and engage in talks on economic and routine affairs. The “Wang (Daohan)-Koo (Chen-fu) talks” held in April 1993, Singapore, between the leaders of these two organizations signaled a historically important step forward in the development of relations across the straits. In October 1998 Koo Chen-fu paid a visit to Shanghai and Beijing, and reached with Wang Daohan four points of common understanding on dialogues between the two organizations on political, economic and other issues.

Taibei Palace Museum

On January 30, 1995, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and President of China Jiang Zemin delivered an important speech entitled “Continuing to Strive Toward the Reunification of China.” In his speech Jiang Zemin put forward eight propositions on the development of relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits and the peaceful reunification of China on the current stage:

1. Adhering to the principle of one China is the basis and prerequisite for peaceful reunification. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must never be allowed to suffer division. We must resolutely oppose any statement and action for creating “the independence of Taiwan”; and we must also resolutely oppose the propositions to “split the country and rule under separate regimes,” “two Chinas over a certain period of time,” etc., which are contrary to the principle of one China.

2. We do not have objections to the development of nongovernmental economic and cultural ties between Taiwan and other countries. According to the principle of one China and the characters of international organization concerned, Taiwan has joined the Asian Development Bank, the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and other international economical organizations in the name of “Chinese Taibei.” However, we oppose Taiwan’s activities in “expanding its living space internationally,” aimed at creating “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan.” All patriotic compatriots in Taiwan and other people of insight understand that instead of solving problems, such activities can only help the forces working for the “independence of Taiwan,” and undermine the process of peaceful reunification. Only after peaceful reunification is accomplished can our Taiwan compatriots and other Chinese truly and fully share the international dignity and honor attained by our great motherland.

3. It has been our consistent stand to hold negotiations with Taiwan authorities on the peaceful reunification of the motherland. Representatives of all political parties and groups from both sides of the Taiwan Straits can be invited to participate in the negotiations for peaceful reunification. I said in my report at the 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in October 1992, “On the premise that there is only one China, we are prepared to talk with the Taiwan authorities about any matter, including the form that official negotiations should take, a form that would be acceptable to both sides.” By “on the premise that there is only one China, we are prepared to talk with the Taiwan authorities about any matter,” we mean, naturally, that all matters of concern to the Taiwan authorities are included. We have proposed time and again that negotiations should be held on officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides and accomplishing peaceful reunification step by step. Here again I solemnly propose that such negotiations be held. I suggest that, as a first step, negotiations should be held and an agreement reached on officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides under the principle that there is only one China. On this basis, the two sides may bear responsibilities together, maintain China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as plan the future development of the relations between the two sides separated by the strait. As regards the name, place and form of these political talks, a solution acceptable to both sides can certainly be found so long as consultations on an equal footing can be held at an early date.

4. We shall try our best to achieve the peaceful reunification of China since Chinese should not fight Chinese. We do not promise not to use force. If used, force will not be directed against our compatriots in Taiwan, but against the foreign forces who intervene in China’s reunification and go in for “the independence of Taiwan.” We are fully confident that our compatriots in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao and those residing overseas would understand our principled position.

5. Challenged with world economic development in the 21st century, we shall spare no effect to develop economic exchange and cooperation between the two sides separated by the Taiwan Straits so that both sides enjoy a flourishing economy and the whole Chinese nation benefits. We maintain that political disagreement should not impede economic cooperation between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. We shall continue, for an extended period, to implement a policy of encouraging Taiwanese investment on the mainland and carry out the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Protecting Investments by Taiwan Compatriots. In any circumstances, we shall protect all legitimate rights and interests of Taiwanese investors in a down-to-earth way and continually encourage exchange and contacts across the Taiwan Straits which promote mutual understanding. Since the direct links for postal, air and shipping services and trade between the two sides are the objective requirements for their economic development and contacts in various fields, and since they are in the interests of the people on both sides, it is absolutely necessary to adopt practical measures to speed up the establishment of such direct links. Efforts should be made to promote negotiations on certain specific issues between the two sides. We are in favor of conducting this kind of negotiations on the basis of reciprocity and mutual benefit and signing nongovernmental agreements on the protection of the rights and interests of industrialists and business people from Taiwan.

6. The splendid culture of 5,000 years created by the sons and daughters of all ethnic groups of China has become ties keeping the entire Chinese people close at heart and constitutes an important basis for the peaceful reunification of the motherland. People on both sides should jointly inherit and carry forward the fine traditions of the culture.

7. The 21 million Taiwan people, whether born there or in other provinces, are Chinese and our own flesh and blood. The lifestyles of our Taiwan compatriots and their desire to be masters of their own country should be fully respected. All their legitimate rights and interests must be protected. All relevant departments in our Party and government, including agencies stationed abroad, must improve their relations with our Taiwan compatriots, listen to their views and requests, show concern for and take care of their interests and do everything they can to help solve their problems. We hope that Taiwan Island enjoys social stability, economic growth and affluence. We also hope that all political parties in Taiwan will adopt a sensible, forward-looking and constructive attitude and promote the expansion of relations between the two sides. We welcome all political parties and personages from different walks of life in Taiwan to exchange opinions with us on the relations between the two sides and on peaceful reunification. Their visits to the mainland are also welcome. All personages from various circles who have contributed to the reunification of China will go down in history for their deeds.

8. We welcome leaders of Taiwan to visit the mainland in their proper status. We also are ready to accept invitations to visit Taiwan. We may discuss state affairs or exchange opinions on certain issues first. Even a simple visit to the side will be useful. The affairs of Chinese people should be handled by us, something that does not take an international occasion to accomplish. People on both sides of the Taiwan Straits eagerly look forward to meeting each other and being able to freely exchange visits.

The above eight propositions fully embody the consistency and continuance of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Government on the issue of Taiwan; the embody their determination and sincerity to develop the relations across the strait and promote the reunification of the motherland. These suggestions have been warmly welcomed by the Chinese people at home and abroad and aroused great attention from the international community. The historical course of reunifying the motherland is irreversible, and the continuously developing relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits is in accordance with the general trend and the will of the people. Following China’s resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macao, the Chinese people throughout the country eagerly hope that the Taiwan issue will be solved as soon as possible to realize the complete reunification of China, and that the solution to the Taiwan question will not be postponed indefinitely. There is only one China in the world, and the One-China Principle is the basis and Premise for solving the Taiwan issue. Besides, the change of the leader of the Taiwan region will not change the fact that Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory, and “Taiwan independence” in any form is out of the question. The Chinese government and people have the determination and ability to solve the Taiwan issue, and the reunification of China will certainly be realized.

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Last updated: 2000-07-13.