To Members and Friends

One China Committee Update 28

December 2009

Season's Greetings

Taiwan president vows to press for China detente

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou called Sunday October 25 for continued reconciliation with former bitter rival China as the island marked the 60th anniversary of a key battle against Chinese communist forces.

Ma was speaking to hundreds of veterans of the 1949 battle of Kinmen, a fortified island group controlled by Nationalist troops off China's southeastern Xiamen city. About 1,200 Kuomintang soldiers died and more than 10,000 communist troops were killed or captured during the battle.

Ma's remarks came less than two months before the two sides plan to hold a fresh round of negotiations in the central Taiwanese city of Taichung. Relations have warmed since May 2008, when the China-friendly Ma assumed the presidency .(Source: AFP, Oct 25, 2009).

President Obama supports "one China"

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China, President Barack Obama of the United States of America paid a state visit to China from November 15-18, 2009. The Presidents held in-depth, productive and candid discussions on U.S.-China relations and other issues of mutual interest. They highlighted the substantial progress in U.S.-China relations over the past 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, and they reached agreement to advance U.S.-China relations in the new era.

Both sides issued a Joint Statement on November 17, 2009.

The joint statement covers five areas: (1)The U.S.-China Relationship; (II) Building and Deepening Bilateral Strategic Trust; (III) Economic Cooperation and Global Recovery; (IV) Regional and Global Challenges; and (V) Climate Change, Energy and Environment.

On Taiwan, the Joint Statement states:

The absence of mentioning Taiwan Relations Act in the Joint Statement concerns Taiwan

Bunghardt on Hu-Obama Joint Statement on Taiwan

Raymond Burghardt, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan , assured Taipei on November 23 that the US position on Taiwan remains unchanged despite President Barack Obama's visit to China.

Burghardt arrived in Taipei November 22 to brief authorities on Obama's talks last week with Chinese President Hu Jintao, as many Taiwanese are worried that Obama did not speak up for Taiwan on his China trip.

Burghardt said that Obama raised the issue of Taiwan, and arms sales to, during his private talks with Hu in Beijing.

Later in the day, Burghardt met with Tsai Ying-wen, chairwoman of the pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The two met for more than an hour and had a 'heated discussion, including debate,' on if the US still honours the Taiwan Relations Act, under which Washington promises to sell defensive arms to Taipei, according to the Central News Agency (CNA).

Tsai said DPP cannot accept Obama's allowing the words - 'the US respects China's sovereign and territorial integrity' - to be written into the joint statement he signed with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing last week, and worried that US-Taiwan ties have regressed. Tsai asked Burghardt to openly state that the Taiwan Relations Act is still the most important pillar in US-Taiwan ties, and according to the law, the US is obliged to sell defensive arms to Taipei, CNA said.

Burghardt is scheduled to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou Tuesday November 24.

Also on Monday November 23, Burghardt met with Lai Shin-yuan, chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council which sets policies towards China.

Lai stressed that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country and it not part of China, according to CNA.

She asked the US government to declare in the shortest time that while the US supports Taiwan and China's improving ties, US position on Taiwan's sovereignty remains unchanged.

Burghardt said the US encourages Taipei-Beijing dialogue, but is not pushing Taiwan to launch political negotiations with China. (Source: Nov 23, 2009

China-Taiwan trade talk on December 22

Taiwan and China will discuss a free trade pact at formal talks next week amid protests planned by the island's opposition parties wary of deeper engagement with Beijing.

Negotiator P.K. Chiang of export-reliant Taiwan and Chen Yunlin of economic powerhouse China will meet in central Taiwan's Taichung on Tuesday December 22 for a fourth round of talks on the proposed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), since ties began warming last year.

The pact aimed at slashing import tariffs while allowing more market access in the banking sector, should be signed early next year, Taiwan's top China policymaker Lai Shin-yuan told Reuters in a recent interview.

Tuesday's talks will also build trust that could lead eventually to dialogue on sensitive political issues, set aside for now as China and Taiwan focus on more practical matters. They will also coveravoidance of double taxation, agricultural quarantine cooperation and joint standards for import-export inspections.

Taiwan's anti-China opposition Democratic Progressive Party said tens of thousands of supporters will launch protests from Sunday, adding the trade deal was premature. (Source: Reuters, Dec 18, 2009)

Reported The Wall Street Journal December18, the Taiwan government study said that the pact would contribute 1.65% to 1.72% to Taiwan's gross domestic product and create 263,000 jobs for some of the island's 23 million people once the two markets are fully open to each other. Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party, however, showed in its own study that the agreement would let inexpensive Chinese goods dominate the local market and eliminate 1.6 million jobs.