- In December 1987 Taiwan lifted the ban on travel to China for those with close relatives there.
- The full relaxation of restrictions on Taiwan travelers visiting China came into effect in December 2008 with the opening of direct flights.
Since the government relocated to Taiwan in 1949, it has exercised jurisdiction over Taiwan proper, Penghu Islands, Kinmen Islands, Matsu Islands and a number of smaller islands, while China has been under the control of the authorities in Beijing. Beginning with the acceleration of Taiwan’s democratization in the late 1980s, many restrictions concerning civil exchanges with China have been lifted. Today, Taiwan is one of the biggest investors in China. In 2017, the value of cross-strait bilateral trade was US$139 billion. In that year, travelers from China made nearly 2.7 million visits to Taiwan, up from 329,204 in 2008.
Taipei City-based Straits Exchange Foundation facilitates cross-strait communication and negotiations. (Chin Hung-hao)
In June 2008, institutionalized talks between Taiwan’s semiofficial Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits resumed after a 10-year hiatus. By August 2015, 11 rounds of negotiations had been held alternately on either side of the Taiwan Strait, producing 23 formal agreements and two consensuses. Most significant among the accords is the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) concluded in June 2010, which aims to institutionalize trade and economic relations between Taiwan and China.
Peace and Stability
In order to promote thorough domestic reforms, the country requires a peaceful, stable external environment, especially with regard to relations with China. President Tsai Ing-wen, since taking office May 20, 2016, has worked to build a consistent, predictable and sustainable cross-strait relationship based on existing realities and political foundations.
The government’s unchanged position is to maintain the cross-strait status quo. This is Taiwan’s commitment to the region and the world. Peace, prosperity and development in Asia are common responsibilities of all countries in the region. Therefore, cross-strait issues are connected to regional peace. Taiwan will fulfill its responsibilities of safeguarding regional security by continuing to extend goodwill and maintaining stable, consistent and predictable cross-strait relations.
In 1992, the two institutions representing each side of the strait, the SEF and ARATS, through communication and negotiations, arrived at various joint acknowledgements and understandings. This was done in a spirit of mutual understanding and a political attitude of seeking common ground while setting aside differences. The government respects this historical fact. Since 1992, over 20 years of interactions and negotiations across the strait have enabled and accumulated outcomes that both sides must collectively cherish and sustain; and it is based on such existing realities and political foundations that the stable and peaceful development of the cross-strait relationship must be continuously promoted.
The government will continue to address cross-strait ties based on the historical fact of the 1992 talks, the ROC Constitution, the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, and the will of the people.
In addition, the government calls upon the authorities of China to face up to the reality that the ROC exists and that the people of Taiwan have an unshakable faith in the democratic system. The two sides of the strait should sit down and talk as soon as possible. Anything can be included for discussion, as long as it is conducive to the development of cross-strait peace and the welfare of the people. Wisdom and flexibility, as well as a calm attitude, can advance a divided present toward a win-win future.