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To what degree does the evidence of contemporary cross-strait relations support the view that Taiwan and Mainland China are experiencing not only economic but also political convergence?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The constructivist theory of international relations.
  3. Mainland China and Taiwan interactions.
  4. The problem: Taiwan has become a real nation state.
  5. Taiwan's constant efforts to strengthen its links with other countries.
  6. Clear tension between the two sides of the strait.
  7. The failure of almost every negotiation driven by SEF and ARAT.
  8. Conclusion.
  9. Bibliography.

In 1949, after having lost the Chinese Civil War against the CPC, the Kuomintang retreated from Mainland China and established a government in Taipei, the largest city of the Taiwan Island, while continuing to claim its sovereignty over the whole China. At the same time, the People's Republic of China, created by the communists, started treating the Republic of China as a renegade and considering Taiwan as a legitimate part of their sovereignty.
From this period and until the 1990S, two different entities, ruled by different government faced each other, claiming that they were the legitimate governors of China. But with the international recognition of the PRC and after a democratisation of the regime, the ROC government stopped fighting for being sovereign over China and started claiming for recognition of its own legitimacy. Since the 1980's, a ?status quo? about the Taiwanese situation has been maintained, not only by Taiwan but also by the PRC and the United States, involved in the Mainland- Taiwan relations as a mediator, because of all the economic and geopolitical implications an escalation of the conflict could generate. Actually, the losses for both sides would be enormous, partly due to the degree of economic interdependence linking the PRC and the ROC. The question is here to know if Mainland China and Taiwan are experiencing political convergence. Is a reunification possible in the future? Are there similar points in both sides views of the situation and could one model influence another? Could the economic and cultural cross strait links be a way of reaching a political agreement?

[...] To reach an agreement, the two governments will have to take into account, on one hand the sovereignty of the ROC, and on the other, the Chinese will for reunification. For the moment we can't speak about a political convergence but ?identities an interest can change? which let us think that maybe, at a longer term, Mainland China and Taiwan would be able to negotiate. Cynthia Weber, International relations theory, a critical introduction (Oxon: Routeledge, 2001), p Ibid Ibid, p Ibid, p66 Ralph N. [...]


[...] The problem is that Taiwan has become a real nation state and even if the status quo around it is fragile, the Taiwanese people refuses to loose its sovereignty which is opposed to the nationalist Chinese view of Taiwan as a part of Mainland which has to be reunified. As we can see, Mainland China and Taiwan interests and identities have become really divergent, which constitutes a real blockade for any political convergence. And this situation is increased by the debate on the china? principle. [...]


[...] Actually, even if their are supposed to have talks only about people to people issues, the fact that Taiwan and Mainland China haven't the same definition of the china? principle and that the PRC doesn't recognise the ROC sovereignty constitutes a blockade to all form of negotiation. The fact that, when ex president Lee Teng hui called for talks between two sovereign states, the PRC reacted violently is relevant of this reality(21). China is always accusing the Taiwanese authorities of having a separatist agenda and of betraying the China? principle which limits the possibilities for harmonious negotiations and a political agreement. [...]

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