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National reunification across the Taiwan strait — an inevitable trend

Source: Understanding China -- 70 Years of Progress and Development Updated: 2021-01-21

In 1972, Yu Kuang-chung, a celebrated poet in Taiwan, published his poem "Nostalgia", in which he wrote about his agony and frustration in being separated from his family on the mainland for more than 20 years. "And now, nostalgia is a coastline, a shallow strait. I on this side, the mainland on the other". His words touched the hearts of millions of nostalgic Chinese longing to return home. In 2011, when he was visiting his hometown of Quanzhou in Fujian Province, he added another line to his poem: "In the future, nostalgia will be a long bridge; you can come here and I can go there." With these simple words, he described the changes that had taken place across the Taiwan Strait with increased exchanges and communication between the two sides, and thus expressed his confidence and expectation for reunification. 

While Taiwan and the mainland have been separated for 70 years, efforts to reduce tension and increase communication and cooperation have never ceased. Cross-Strait relations have witnessed one breakthrough after another over the years, from the open letters to Taiwan compatriots to the development of the "One Country, Two Systems" policy and the basic strategy for national reunification; from the 1992 Consensus to the first-ever historic meeting between leaders from the two sides; from total separation to direct two-way links in postal mail, transportation, and trade; and from the early years, when Taiwan was expelled from the UN, to efforts to defeat attempts at Taiwan independence. 

As we now look upon cross-Strait relations from a new starting point, we can see an overwhelming and unstoppable historical trend for national reunification. In his speech at a conference commemorating the publication of the "Letter to Taiwan Compatriots" issued by the Standing Committee of the NPC 40 years ago, General Secretary Xi Jinping elaborated on China's policies and positions in the new era for peaceful reunification, demonstrating political wisdom and historical responsibility for a solution to the question of Taiwan. Listening to his convincing words, we realize even more that national renewal and reunification represent a historical trend, a cause to fight for, and a goal that we all want to achieve. 

Peaceful reunification depends on national rejuvenation. The fact that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait remain separated is a wound left over from history. It is said that "the Taiwan question was created at a time when China was a weak and chaotic country, but it will end with the rejuvenation of the nation." As the Chinese nation moves forward with its renewal, we will see a much stronger force for national reunification under more favorable economic, political, and cultural conditions. People in Taiwan will, of course, be a part of this great journey, joining hands with the people on the mainland in the drive to achieve their dream for national renewal. 

Integrated development is a sure path to peaceful reunification. In times of great changes, the mainland and Taiwan must work together through thick and thin as we move forward with a shared future and intertwined interests. To realize national reunification, it is essential for people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to have the same goals, which are in turn enabled by more communication and connectivity. As requested by General Secretary Xi Jinping, connections with Taiwan should be improved to the greatest extent possible. In particular, as soon as possible, we need to ensure water, electricity, and gas supplies to Kinmen and Matsu from the coastal areas of Fujian, and build bridges wherever possible so that people in Taiwan may benefit from development in the mainland. We must also make sure that Taiwanese residents and businesses in the mainland enjoy equal treatment and access to equal, inclusive, and convenient public services.


Yu Kuang-chung (1928-2017) 

Countercurrents against peaceful reunification must be curbed. General Secretary Xi Jinping stated categorically that nothing can change the fact that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are Chinese with the same national identity, and nothing can stop the trend toward reunification of the Chinese nation. Taiwan independence goes against this unstoppable trend and will eventually be crushed by the wheels of history. Chinese must not fight against Chinese, and for this purpose we have made the greatest efforts for peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity. However, we do not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures to prepare for possible interference by external forces and separatist activities by a handful of "Taiwan independence" separatists. Such measures would certainly not be targeted at the people of Taiwan.


PRC Residence Permit for Taiwan Residents 

The residence permit for Taiwan residents is a permit available to Taiwan residents who come to work, study, live, and travel in the mainland, with protection provided for the legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan residents on the mainland. On August 6, 2018 the General Office of the State Council published the procedures for the application and issuance of residence permits for Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan Residents, and the permit system took effect on September 1, 2018. 


The Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait and the Strait Exchange Foundation 

The Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) is a public organization established in Beijing on December 16, 1991 for the purpose of promoting peaceful reunification. Entrusted by the mainland authorities, it handles communications with its counterpart in Taiwan on issues regarding cross-Strait exchanges and is authorized to conclude relevant agreements. The Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF) was established in Taiwan on November 21, 1990. It is a non-governmental organization authorized by the Taiwanese authorities to handle cross-Strait affairs. Since the beginning of the 1990s, ARATS and SEF, under authorization from the authorities on both sides, have been holding talks and dialogues for the purpose of promoting economic, trade, scientific, technological, and cultural exchanges between the two sides. Pictured here are ARATS and SEF representatives signing official documents. 

We may not be able to decide on what has happened in the past, but we can certainly seize the moment and choose our future. Seventy years have passed, and that is long enough to let bygones be bygones and leave bitterness, hate, and separation behind us. Looking to the future, we have every reason to believe that we can build the mutual trust that allays misgivings, that we can increase communication and clear up misunderstanding, and that we can let peace prevail over conflict. People on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, working together, will usher in a bright future for the country as we realize the reunification of the Chinese nation and achieve the goal of national rejuvenation. 

The views don't necessarily reflect those of Qiushi Journal.