Driving Forces Behind Taiwan’s Mainland Policy

Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


Taiwan’s Mainland policy has gone through several stages since 2 November 1987 when some Taiwan residents (mostly veterans of the Chinese Civil War) were allowed to visit their relatives on the Mainland. Confusion, experimentation, and improvisation characterized this initial stage of Taipei’s policy. After nearly forty years of separation and confrontation, only a small number of people in Taiwan had any experience in dealing with the Mainland. Fewer knew how to interact peacefully. A ministry responsible for coordinating and making policy for this matter, the Mainland Affairs Council, was not established for another three years, until January 1991. And its precursor, the Working Group on Mainland Affairs (August 1988–January 1991), was only beginning to draft regulations with the hope of injecting some order into the chaos. However, the direction of the policy was unmistakably toward more opening and more contact with the Mainland. Recent disclosures pointed to the onset of a direct, secret channel between then President Lee Teng-hui of the Republic of China and the Beijing leadership in 1990 — a channel that preceded and later co-existed with the ‘officially unofficial, and unofficially official’ channel between Taiwan’s Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Mainland’s Association of Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS).1


Democratic Progressive Party National Security Council Legislative Yuan Chinese Identity Secret Channel 
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  1. 1.
    The first media report of this secret channel was found in ‘A True Account of Nine Rounds of Cross-Strait Secret Talks in Lee’s Era’, Business Weekly (Taipei), 24–30 July, 2000, 60–94. It was later confirmed by Chou Jing-wen, A True Account of Lee Teng-hui’s Rule (Taipei: Ink, 2001), 192–204. Chou’s book, based solely on interviews with Lee, disclosed that a total of 27 meetings were held during Lee’s presidency of 12 years. The main Taiwan envoy had always been Su Chih-cheng, Lee’s personal secretary. Su’s Mainland interlocutors included Yang Sede (Director of CCP Taiwan office, 1986–1993), Wang Daohan, and Zeng Qinghong (Jiang Zemin’s confidant). The venues were Zhuhai, Hong Kong, and Macao. See Chou, 192.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    For the Resolution on Taiwan’s Future, see Important Documents of the DPP’s Cross-Straits Policy, DPP Department of China Affairs, Taipei, 2000, 88–90. For the ‘special state-to-state relationships,’ see Su Chi, op.cit; and Lee Teng-hui and Mineo Nakajima, Asia Wisdom and Strategy (Taipei: Yuanliu, 2000), 34–65.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    For an analysis of the SNTVsystem and its implications, see Hung-mao Tien and Tun-jen Cheng, ‘Crafting Democratic Institutions’ in Steve Tsang and Hung-mao Tien (eds), Democratization in Taiwan: Implications for China (Basingstoke: Macmillan — now Palgrave Macmillan, 1999), 23–48.Google Scholar
  4. 22.
    Bau Tzong-ho, ‘The People’s Ethnic Identity’, in Chen Yih-yan, Bau Tzong-ho, A Study of Mainland Policy and Cross-Strait Relations, a research project commissioned by the MAC and published on 30 June 2000, 124Google Scholar
  5. 31.
    Chen Shui-bian, Century’s First Voyage: Reflections on the 500 Days Since Power Transfer (Taipei: Eurasia Press, 2001), 190.Google Scholar
  6. 34.
    Chou Jing-wen, A True Account of Lee Teng-hui’s Rule, (Taipei: Ink, 2001), 223.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chi Su

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