In Taiwan, Plan for China ‘Embassy’ Sparks Fears of Meddling

In Taiwan, Plan for China  ‘Embassy’ Sparks Fears of Meddling

Having already overseen a spectacular warming of ties with mainland China, with 18 signed cross-strait agreements to show for it, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou took the latest step in his National Day speech on Oct. 10, approving a plan to allow both sides to set up representative offices on each other's soil. But permitting Chinese officials to have a permanent presence on the de facto independent island is a controversial step, drawing inevitable comparisons to Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong, which is widely seen as meddling in politics there.

On Sunday, Lin Join-sane, the new chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and as such Taiwan's top cross-strait negotiator, wrapped up a five-day trip to mainland China. At the top of his agenda were discussions with his mainland counterparts about a plan for the two countries to swap quasi-embassies to “serve the needs of businesses, students and the general public.” As the two sides have never formally recognized each other's existence, crafting amendments to the relevant laws -- not to mention establishing the proper diplomatic protocols -- will undoubtedly be a painstaking effort.

But those caveats do little to reassure the unification-wary Taiwanese political opposition, which fears that the representative office will help the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to tighten its grip on Taiwan's domestic politics and society.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review