Commercial Times: Risk of imbalance in Taiwan-China exchanges
Central News Agency
2014-07-06 02:39 PM
Exchanges between Taiwan and China are deepening, with more frequent exchanges of visits and views between ordinary people from both sides. A significant example is last month's visit to Taiwan by Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office chief Zhang Zhi-chun, the most senior Chinese official ever to set foot on Taiwan, who traveled to central and southern Taiwan and brought him into contact with rank and file Taiwanese. However, the increasing exchanges between the two sides exposes an imbalance, as Chinese officials are reaching out to Taiwanese people, Taiwan's officials show little interest in engaging with the Chinese public. Instead, they associate mainly with Chinese officials while visiting the Chinese mainland. This phenomenon arises out of the fact that China is eagerly seeking Taiwanese support for closer links between the two sides, and Taiwan is encouraging Chinese officials to obtain first hand knowledge about the feelings of local people. On the other hand, Taiwanese officials are inward-looking and more concerned about the opinions of their voters than the opinion of the Chinese, and they are afraid that their Chinese host would raise their backs should Taiwan officials rub shoulders too closely with the Chinese people. China's charm offence in Taiwan will help it sell its policy to the Taiwanese people, but Taiwan officials' detachment from the Chinese makes it difficult in winning Chinese sympathy for Taiwan's stance. This difference would bode ill for Taiwan when it conducts political dialogue with China, because it could not appeal to the Chinese people for support, while the China appeal to the Taiwanese for support. This is the same detachment that has impeded Taiwanese businessmen's efforts to tap into Chinese markets. They are not interested in associating with Chinese people and thereby cannot make full use of the business opportunity to expand their market share. We urged Taiwanese officials and businessmen to rub shoulders more closely with the Chinese people while visiting China and form firm friendships with them, which will help them develop a China approach more popular with the Chinese people. (Editorial abstract - July 6) (BY Maubo Chang)
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