Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Ma Ying-jeou during their meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, Nov. 7, 2015. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
Having worked through numerous difficulties, the leaders across the Taiwan Strait, Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou, initiated a historic meeting in the Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore, on Nov. 7, 2015.
An achievement of peaceful development proposed by the two sides of the Straits in 2008, the meeting was the first formal communication between the leaders since the dual governances across the Strait started in 1949.
Despite the complicated problems which may even threaten the smooth development of the two sides, the significant meeting between Xi and Ma in Singapore ushered in a new era of national rejuvenation. When they shook hands, they made a historic gesture to leave behind the tensions and disputes across the Strait.
The unification of China which is rising from the stigma of a turbulent past has been anaspiration shared by the Chinese people. The late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping has been quoted as saying, "The descendants of the Chinese nation have been unanimously looking forward to the unification of the nation and the separation is against the will of the entire nation."
Tracing back to the era ruled by Chiang Kai-shek, when he receded to Taiwan, the two sides had been in a tug of war for the legitimacy to represent the government of China. The tension was eased when the Chinese mainland proposed a peaceful unification in 1980s. The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Kuomintang reached consensus in 1992 to pave the road for the unification of the country.
However, cross-Strait relations were disturbed by Lee Teng-hui and the Democratic Progressive Party which intended to separate Taiwan from China.
The tension eased when Ma took office as the leader of Taiwan in 2008. The cross-Strait ties became closer when the economic cooperation signaled by the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) was increasingly intensive, especially after the global financial crisis, and the relations have now been steered again to the route of peaceful development.
During their meeting in Singapore, Xi and Ma reached a new consensus on the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, a political foundation following the "One China" principle proposed in the 1992 Consensus.
Peaceful reconciliation is the mainstream of cross-Strait affairs
Based on the new consensus, the peaceful reconciliation across the Strait has been a focus point for the two leaders. In Xi's speech, China should not relapse into the tragedies which occurred in the past centuries and should not lose the achievements generated from the peaceful development across the Strait. Ma echoed Xi in his speech by emphasizing the resolution to safeguard the peaceful development across the Strait, saying "Let's ensure the reciprocal interests and a win-win situation with the profound wisdom of the Chinese culture."
A miserable war caused by complicated political realities and the intervention of external forces in the last century has separated numerous Chinese families on either side of the Strait. The emotional response to the separation has become lessened as the elder generation passed away. The present mission, which has become increasingly important, is to safeguard the younger generations away from these miseries.
The road to peaceful development paved in 2008 across the Strait is the only correct route leading to the countdown of the national rejuvenation spearheaded by the deepened communication between the two sides.
Worries of Taiwanese people over a rising mainland which has been asserted to jeopardize the security of Taiwan are nothing but a result of the instigation triggered by some local politicians to disturb the cross-Strait relations for personal gain and party interests.
After all, the peace of the Strait should be guaranteed with the efforts of the compatriots from both sides. As long as we adhere to the principles of peace, development, openness and inclusiveness, the unification of the two sides across the Strait will eventually be achieved.
People's welfare is the foundation of the unification
Xi and Ma shook hands in Singapore ignoring criticisms. "[The meeting is about] making the compatriots across the Strait continue to explore peaceful and stable lives and creating bright futures for the younger generations," Xi said. Ma agreed with Xi's views saying, "The development of the two sides across the Strait should comply with the interests of the people…This is not for personal gain or the interests of a single party, but for the happiness of the generations to come."
The welfare of the people does not simply refer to the interests of one part, one party or a number of individuals, but to the welfare shared by the two sides across the Strait, the welfare of all Chinese descendants.
Therefore, the meticulous efforts for the meeting between Xi and Ma are correct and will win the support of all Chinese. Meanwhile, the schemes of separation have deviated from the common interests of the Chinese people. They are wrong and will definitely confront with strong opposition from both sides across the Strait.
The author is a senior researcher of Charhar Institute and associate professor from Tsinghua University.
The article was translated by Wu Jin. The unabridged version was first published in Chinese .
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