Development of Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Irresistible
This is the title of the signed article published in the October issue of "Cross-Strait Relations", a magazine run by the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS).

The article says that at the "Economic Development Consultation Conference" held in Taiwan from July 22 to August 26 this year, industrialists and businessmen and personages from all walks of life in Taiwan strongly demanded abandonment of the "no haste, be patient" policy and advocated active opening of cross-Strait economy, trade and investment, vigorously promoting cross-Strait air and shipping services and finally incorporating these as the consensus into this conference.

This reflects that the "no haste, be patient" policy is unpopular and is finally discarded, the continued development of cross-Strait economic and trade relations, an early realization of "three direct exchanges" (exchange of mail, trade and air and shipping services) represent the popular feeling and are irresistible.

The article expresses the view that the development of cross-Strait economic and trade relations essentially has its necessity and is irreversible. Firstly, the sustainable development of Taiwan's economy in the new century is inseparable from the mainland market of the motherland. On the one hand, since the rapid development of the cross-Strait economic and trade relations in the late 1980s, the mainland market of the motherland has gradually become an important market space for the development of Taiwan economy of an island type, and now it has become a very important driving force for Taiwan's economic growth. On the other hand, the further upgrading of Taiwan's industrial structure also needs to rely on the mainland market. Benefited from the vast mainland market as the heartland, Taiwan's industrial structure has smoothly turned from a labor-intensive industry to a capital- and technology-intensive industry over the past decade. As Taiwan's industry is faced with new challenges at the present stage, whether or not it can be successfully reshaped and upgraded, to a large extent, depends on whether or not cross-Strait economy and trade can be further effectively integrated.

The article says that strengthening cross-Strait economic and trade cooperation is also the only road for Taiwan's economy to conform to the trends of economic globalization and regionalization in today's world. After China's accession to the WTO, although the Chinese market will face various kinds of impact, its important position in the Asia-Pacific economic system can only be strengthened, and not weakened. Precisely because of this, the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea as well as Southeast Asian countries in the world have, without exception, striven to deepen their participation in the Chinese market. If Taiwan fails to strengthen its economic cooperation with the Chinese mainland, the grasp of the opportunity offered by economic globalization and meeting the grim challenges it has brought about will be out of the question.

The article points out that the "no haste, be patient" policy pursued by Lee Teng-hui refuses to open cross-Strait direct "three links", the continuation of this policy by the new leader of the Taiwan authorities after his assumption of office has caused serious, evil consequences to Taiwan's economy. Since the beginning of this year, Taiwan's economy has been landed in the situation of the most serious recession over the past 50 years. The Taiwan authorities have repeatedly provoked tension in the cross-Strait relations and have long been obstructing the economic and trade contacts between the two sides of the Straits, this is obviously one of the decisive facts. It has not only restrained the development of cross-Strait economic and trade relations, directly hindered Taiwan's economic growth, more importantly, it has caused the deterioration of Taiwan's investment environment and internal and external investors to lose their confidence. It is precisely from a comparison they made between the economic situation prevailing on both sides of the Straits and from the hurt they themselves have suffered that the broad masses of the Taiwan people and industrialists and businessmen have come to understand that the "no haste, be patient" policy cannot be continued, but must be discarded, and that cross-Strait direct "three links" must be realized at an early date and vigorous efforts must be made to develop cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges and cooperation.

The article indicates that we welcome all moves genuinely designed to promote cross-Strait economic exchanges and cooperation and expedite direct "three links". At the same time, it must be pointed out that the rapid and smooth development of cross-Strait economic and trade relations requires a macro-environment based on the one-China principle and on good relations between the two sides of the Straits. Thus far, the Taiwan authorities still refuse to accept the one-China principle and deny the "Consensus reached between the two sides in 1992". At the Taiwan "Economic Development Consultation Conference", they still refused to accept the opinions on acknowledgement of the "1992 Consensus" raised by Taiwan industrialists and businessmen and the three opposition parties-the Kuomintang (KMT), People First Party and the New Party.

The article emphasizes in conclusion that the Taiwan authorities must accept the one-China principle, acknowledge the "1992 Consensus" at the earliest possible date, and regard cross-Strait economic exchanges and cooperation and cross-Strait direct " three links" as the internal affairs of a country, remove all obstacles hampering the development of cross-Strait economic and trade relations, only by so doing can it help Taiwan's economy to shake off the predicament and embark on the road to further development.

(people's daily 09/21/2001)