04 November 2008

An Historic Day - For the Chinese

(From RealClearWorld)

While the world had its eyes peeled to the US election, riveted by the yearlong drama finally coming to a close, November 4, 2008 will be remembered for something else in Chinese history.

For the first time since 1950, direct air, shipping and mail links will be established between Taiwan and mainland China. The agreement came swiftly, on just the second day of the direct talks between Chinese and Taiwanese representatives in Taipei. The deal will be in effect within 40 days - before the end of 2008.

It was a win-win of sorts. For China, the symbolic agreement at least provides the perception that Taiwan, separated from the mainland at the end of the Chinese Civil War, is coming to a closer embrace. For Taiwan, the benefits are more tangible, as the island's economy is now inextricably linked to that of the mainland, and these links will allow Taiwan to serve as the gateway to the burgeoning mainland market.

Not everybody in Taiwan is happy about closer ties to China. The opposition Democratic Progressive Party is making its living off stirring anti-China sentiments. But for the majority of the island's 23 million residents there is an understanding that whether they like it or not, China will be in their future - for better or for worse - so they may as well make the best of it.

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