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Commentary on “A Modest Proposal for a Basic Agreement on Peaceful Cross-Strait Development” by Chang Ya-chung


  • Christopher R. Hughes



This critique assesses Prof. Chang Ya-chung’s draft basic agreement for cross-Strait relations by arguing that it overstates changes in Beijing’s Taiwan policy, which is based on a strategy that has not seen substantial change since it was devised in the early 1990s to prevent the island’s democratization leading to the exercise of self-determination. By over-estimating Taiwan’s political, diplomatic, military, and economic vulnerability the proposal unnecessarily narrows down Taibei’s options to the point where it has to accept Beijing’s one-China principle. This merely closes off other options that Taiwan can just as readily pursue, such as continuing to develop cross-Strait relations through ad hoc solutions to practical problems or seeking more imaginative ways to create a durable modus vivendi with international support. Even more problematic is that a political framework for stability based on the principles of Chinese nationalism is unlikely to be acceptable for Taiwan’s liberaldemocratic politics and could thus amount to an unnecessary risk that would lead to a less durable cross-Strait status quo than that which has been maintained over the last two decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher R. Hughes, 2010. "Commentary on “A Modest Proposal for a Basic Agreement on Peaceful Cross-Strait Development” by Chang Ya-chung," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 39(1), pages 149-162.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:chaktu:v:39:y:2010:i:1:p:149-162

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hsing You-tien,, 1998. "Making Capitalism in China: The Taiwan Connection," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195103243.
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    Taiwan; China; Taiwan Straits; peace policy;


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