Chinese defence minister 2 June warned that foreign intervention over “Taiwan question is doomed to fail” and said China would not “cede an inch” of territory. Taiwan defence ministry requested purchase of tanks and air defence systems from U.S. early June, prompting protest from China’s foreign ministry. Members of Taiwan's main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party attended opening ceremony of cross-strait forum, aimed at promoting exchange and integration between mainland China and Taiwan, held in China mid-June; govt criticised move and warned KMT it could face disbandment if it engaged in political talks or signed any agreement. Canadian warship 18 June sailed through Taiwan Strait.
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.