President Tsai mid-month reportedly said she needs more give and take from Beijing to rein in pro-independence hardliners in Taiwan; China responded blaming Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party for strained ties. Taiwanese Coast Guard 6 May detained several Chinese fishermen and accused them of trespassing in Taiwanese waters off SE coast; China demanded their release. After backtracking on questioning “One-China” policy, new U.S. administration appears to have delayed plans to sell $1bn package of weapons to Taipei. Chinese authorities arrested Taiwanese human rights activist Li Ming-che and charged him with subversion in Hunan province 26 May.
After drifting toward crisis for much of 2004, the outlook for stability across the Taiwan Strait has improved.
Each side’s most preferred solution for resolving the continuing Taiwan Strait issue – in the case of Taipei, widely recognised de jure independence; and in the case of Beijing, reunification of China on the same ‘one country, two systems’ basis as Hong Kong – are both non-starters.
Apparently irreconcilable positions on the ‘one China’ principle have emerged between China and Taiwan over the last decade, with Taiwan for some time now asserting not only that it is a separate political entity but an independent sovereign country.
China's underlying position on its cross-Strait relations, however strong its current commitment to peaceful diplomacy, is that Taiwan must make sustained, visible progress toward a peaceful settlement or risk a resort to armed hostilities.
In the last decade, Taiwan has moved slowly but surely away from its commitment to the idea of ‘one China’, the proposition, long agreed on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, that Taiwan and the mainland are parts of one country.