Chair Professor Ying-Jeou Ma gave his third speech this semester in the morning of May 9th 2018, talking about cross-strait relations by analyzing the reunification cases or progress of some East Asian countries. The speech drew a large crowd of audience that packed the whole courtroom of Guei Memorial Building at Soochow’s Downtown Campus.
Ma cited North and South Korea as an example of how the interaction between two entities of a previously united country can influence the world. The heads of the two countries met and announced the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula on April 27th, 2018, which marked the end of wars and their cooperation for peace, making a huge impact to the whole world.
Several countries had or have been split into two sides after World War II, including Germany, Vietnam and Korea; Ma pointed out, however, that each of the cases was somewhat different. While Germany and Vietnam have been reunited, North and South Korea, as well as Taiwan and China, are still separate states maintaining a relation that alternates with hostile and friendly atmospheres. While dismissing the case of North and South Vietnam, which reunited through the use of military force, Ma considered the peacefully-merging East and West Germany a much better example for Taiwan and China.
During his presidency from 2008 to 2016, Ma had improved China-Taiwan relations by measures such as cross-strait charter flights, tourism open to Chinese mainlanders, the signing of ECFA, etc. He also met the PRC leader Jin-Ping Xi and reiterated the 1992 Consensus in Singapore in 2015. Ma pointed out that contrary to the interaction between North and South Korea, the exchange and communication between Taiwan and China began from private, civil organizations to the official, government levels. As many Taiwanese visit, work or even live in China now, Ma thinks peaceful communication should be the best way to ease cross-strait tension.
In the Q&A session Ma quoted some Chinese proverbs and ancient sayings to explain the current situation and future of divided regions. As for cross-strait relations, he suggested that both China and Taiwan need to extend and deepen communication and exchange with each other in a gradual manner before finding out the most appropriate solutions to the future of the two sides .
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