Thursday, April 12, 2012

Continue with the “economics first, politics later” approach

l  The Boao Forum, particularly the meeting between China’s Vice Premier Li Keqiang and Taiwan’s Vice President-elect Wu Den-yih, headlined cross-Strait developments in early April. This was the second time since 2008 that Taiwan’s vice president-elect was invited to attend the Boao Forum.

l  In the hour-long meeting with Li, Wu pronounced another 16-word phrase that conveyed two important messages from Taipei: (1) maintaining cross-Strait peace and stability remains the top priority, and (2) “economics first, politics later” will continue to be the preferred approach in managing cross-Strait ties.

l  Though Wu’s 16-word phrase did not offer anything new, it clearly signaled to Beijing that cross-Strait political talks are not a priority and Taipei has no plans to initiate such a dialogue anytime soon.

l  We do not expect that Beijing and Taipei will formally launch political negotiations for a peace agreement, but certain politically sensitive issues, particularly Taiwan’s international space, will invariably come up in future cross-Strait negotiations.

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