Cross-Strait relations

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Flags of the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China.

Cross-Strait relations or Mainland–Taiwan relations, refer to the relationship between Mainland China and Taiwan.


  • Fleeing the mainland, Jiang Jieshi took refuge on the island of Formosa (Taiwan), which China had regained from Japan after the end of World War Two. It was protected by the limited aerial and naval capability of the Communists and, eventually, by American naval power. However, until he intervened in Korea in 1950, Mao Zedong prepared for an invasion of Formosa, creating an air force to that end. Jiang, in turn, used Formosa and the other offshore islands he still controlled as a base for raids on the mainland. Meanwhile, in the spring of 1950, the island of Hainan and, in 1950–1, Tibet were conquered by the Communists, the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, being occupied on 7 October 1950.
  • And now,
    Nostalgia is the coastline, a shallow strait.
    I, on this side,
    The mainland, on the other.
    • Yu Kwang-chung (1987) cited in "Nostalgia" on The Isle Full of Noises: Modern Chinese Poetry from Taiwan, 1987.
  • If we were to attack Iraq now, alone or with few allies, it would set a precedent that could come back to haunt us. In recent days, Russia has talked of an invasion of Georgia to attack Chechen rebels. India has mentioned the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Pakistan. And what if China were to perceive a threat from Taiwan? So Mr. President, for all its appeal, a unilateral attack, while it cannot be ruled out, on the present facts is not a good option.
  • The present state of tension in the Taiwan area was created directly by Chinese Communist action, not by that of the Republic of China or by the United States. The fact is that following a long period of relative calm in that area, the Chine Communists, without provocation, suddenly initiated a heavy artillery bombardment of Quemoy and began harassing the regular supply of the civilian and military population of the Quemoys. This intense military activity was begun on August 23rd-some three weeks after your visit to Peiping. The official Peiping radio has repeatedly been announcing that the purpose of these military operations is to take Taiwan (formosa) as well as Quemoy and Matsu, by armed force. In virtually every Peiping broadcast, Taiwan (formosa) and the offshore islands are linked as the objective of what is called the "Chinese Peoples Liberation Army."
  • The issue, then, is whether the Chinese Communists will seek to achieve their ambitions through the application of force, as they did in Korea, or whether they will accept the vital requisite of world peace and order in a nuclear age and renounce the use of force as the means for satisfying their territorial claims. The territory concerned has never been under the control of Communist China. On the contrary, the Republic of China--despite the characterizations you apply to it for ideological reasons--is recognized by the majority of the sovereign nations of the world and its government has been and is exercising jurisdiction over the territory concerned. United States military forces operate in the Taiwan area in fulfillment of treaty commitments to the Republic of China to assist it in the defense of Taiwan (Formosa) and the Penghu (Pescadores) Islands. They are there to help resist aggression--not to commit aggression. No upside down presentation such as contained in your letter can change this fact.
There are no Taiwanese in Taiwan and Taiwanese are all Chinese. Which Taiwanese is not Chinese? They are Chinese just like you are. ~ Hsing Yun
  • Both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one family. There are no Taiwanese in Taiwan and Taiwanese are all Chinese. Which Taiwanese is not Chinese? They are Chinese just like you are. We are all brothers and sisters. The more (cross-strait) exchange we have, the more mixed we will be. Then we won't be able to distinguish who's Mainland and who's Taiwanese — and we will naturally become unified.
  • It's time that six decades of separation (between Taiwan and Mainland China) and previous generations' confrontation be ended. Let the current and the future generations choose common development and jointly create a situation of mutual benefits.
Taipei has a responsibility to share its 60-year experience of democratization and economic development with Beijing. We also have a responsibility to make freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law the core values for promoting cross-strait ties. ~ Lin Chu-chia
  • The service trade agreement is a pact that benefits related sectors across the Taiwan Strait and promotes the interests of the public on both sides. It will result in a win-win situation for both sides.
  • The DPP will engage (mainland) China with a positive attitude and confidence, hoping to foster constructive and well-intentioned dialogues, while maintaining the party's values and basic positions. Unfortunately, (mainland) China remains stubborn and has always tried to coerce Taiwan into a framework defined by nobody but China.
(Mainland) China today is like the Chinese Nationalist Party when I first entered politics (in the 1970s), when it tried to control Taiwan through martial law. Today, (Taiwan) society is entirely liberal and we have managed to come this far. ~ Su Tseng-chang
  • Today, China uses history to recast its invasion and occupation of Tibet as not anything of the sort. In the view of the Chinese government, it simply reasserted its historical rights, which had been established over the centuries. Taiwan, at least to the Chinese, presents a similar case. As Zhou Enlai said to Henry Kissinger in 1972, “History also proves that Taiwan has belonged to 'China for more than a thousand years—a longer period than Long Island has been part of the U.S.” In fact, history proves no such thing. In the case of Tibet, it is true that Dalai Lamas from time to time recognized the mandate of heaven of the emperor in far-off China, but for most of the time, the remote mountain land was left to its own devices. Taiwan has even looser ties with China. It was too far across the sea for most Chinese dynasties to bother with. Only the last dynasty, the Qing, tried to assert some control, partly because the island had become a refuge for pirates and rebels.
  • The British colony of Hong Kong and the city-state of Singapore did the opposite of all other countries, and opened their economies wide, without trade barriers. The experts claimed that free trade would knock out the small manufacturing sectors they had, but, on the contrary, they industrialized at a record pace and shocked the outside world by becoming even richer than the old colonial master, Britain. Taiwan and South Korea learned from this and began to liberalize their economies with amazing results. Their rapid growth took them from being some of the poorest countries in the world to some of the richest in a few generations. It was a global wake-up call because it was so easy to compare what the Chinese in Taiwan achieved compared to the Chinese in Mao’s China, and what the Koreans in the capitalist south created compared to the Koreans in the communist north. In the mid-1950s, Taiwan was only marginally richer than China. In 1980, it was four times richer. In 1955, North Korea was richer than South Korea. (The north was, after all, where mineral resources and power generation were located when the country was partitioned.) Today, South Korea is twenty times richer than North Korea.
    • Johan Norberg, The Capitalist Manifesto: Why the Global Free Market Will Save the World (2023)
Taiwan has no other way forward other than reunification with the mainland. ~ Wang Yi
  • We shouldn't push it away. As it is a huge market over there in mainland China, it behooves Taiwan to maintain friendly, smooth economic relations.
  • With hindered communication across the strait, I will lead the (Kuomintang) party to take on the responsibility to protect and ensure the personal well-being, rights, social and economic exchange, and cultural transmission for people on both sides (Taiwan and Mainland China).
We (Taiwan and Mainland China) may not share the same history, but we could have a common destiny and future. ~ Frank Hsieh
  • I used that phrase (both sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family) in 2015 and last year (2017). Like I said at the very beginning, we should avoid throwing a wild card and should just stick to old practices.
  • The two sides of the Taiwan Strait, based on the 'one China' principle, agreed that either side can freely interpret what 'one China' means in a verbal form. This means that the mainland can claim that the People's Republic of China represents all of China, while we can also claim that the Republic of China represents the whole of China.
  • As a local government, Kinmen should avoid becoming embroiled in (cross-strait) political affairs, but the county needs to seize opportunities (with Mainland China) when the atmosphere is right. Fujian and Kinmen are neighbors and during the trip to the (Fujian) province, the (Kinmen) county government can put forward ideas on future exchanges and cooperation between the two sides, in the hope of concrete results.
  • As INTERPOL's third largest funder, (mainland) China has great influence on the organization's agenda and workings, which obviously presents us with a big challenge. Last year (2018), INTERPOL's secretariat asked us to deal with a case through (mainland) China's INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Beijing and even downgraded the Criminal Investigation Bureau under Taiwan's National Police Agency to the level of a local branch in China, disregarding our (Republic of China) sovereign status and our considerable contributions to tackling cross-border crime.
Taiwan does not trust China. Probably Taiwan knows better than any other country the nature of the Chinese Communist regime. Taiwan knows that you cannot rely on accurate information from China. So, from Day One, Taiwan acted to protect itself. ~ Jianli Yang
  • What matters most (for Taiwan in dealing with Mainland China) is exerting the positive influence of Taiwan and making (mainland) Chinese people envy life on the (Taiwan) island. This would be key to the survival of Taiwan.
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