Tuesday, November 04, 2008

China-Taiwan Pact

"Peaceful negotiation creates a win-win situation."

This was the calligraphy that PRC representative Chen Yunlin (head of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits) and Chiang Ping-kung, chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation, displayed after they signed the pact that sets forward direct flight and ship links between the mainland and the island. They have also agreed to hold regular talks every six months.

Both sides appear to be prepared to leave aside "final status" issues and concentrate on practical cooperation (the next set of agreements to be negotiated will deal with banks, food and product safety, and so on). The strategy in both Beijing and Taipei is to make it not worth the while of the other side to jeopardize the growing beneficial linkages to pursue maximalist solutions.

A possible model for Serbia-Kosovo, or Georgia and Abkhazia, to follow?

This China Taiwan Pact is a wonderful demonstration of the importance and power of the liberal perspective of politics and the institutions it utilizes to implement path dependence. The interdependence created through these regular talks and opened trade routes demonstrates how nations can work together through systemic policies and each improve their economic and social standings. What's more, this most recent development is just the foundation that will be built upon in the future "with banks, food and product safety".

In a time when financial stability is being tested, these policies that facilitate trade are necessary to allow countries to stay competitive in the global economy.
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