In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 89© 1994 by University ofHawai'i Press Ralph N. Clough. ReachingAcross the Taiwan Strait: People-to-People Diplomacy. Boulder and Oxford: Westview Press, 1993. xiv, 206 pp. Hardcover $49.95. Ralph N. Clough's new book, ReachingAcross the Taiwan Strait, chronicles the explosion since 1987 in unofficial ties between the people on Taiwan and the China mainland. Most research has focused on the growth in travel, trade, and investment between the two sides of the Strait. Clough is more comprehensive. Separate chapters describe the rapid growth in travel, trade, investment, illegal activities (illegal immigration, smuggling, hijacking, piracy), media, sports, and cultural exchange. In clear, succinct prose, Clough lists chronologically the development of relations in each of these areas. He places developments in context by showing how they fit with Aie objectives and strategies of the auAiorities on each side of Aie Strait. More valuable even than Alis chronology itself, however, is Clough's insightful and thought-provoking analysis. Despite vasAy increased cross-Strait intercourse, Clough concludes that the two sides "have made little progress since 1987 toward their avowed goal of political unification of the two parts of China" (p. 146). The People's Republic of China (PRC) wants Taiwan incorporated as a "special administrative region," highly autonomous , but subordinate to Beijing. Beijing sees direct mail, trade, and transportation links as important components ofthe integration process, but reserves the right to use military force to reunify China. Taiwan initially wants the two sides to "not deny each other's existence as political entities, settle all disputes through peaceful means, and respect each ofher in the international community."1 Further progress toward reunification requires that Beijing renounce the use of arms against Taiwan. "Ultimately" government-to-government negotiations "will lead to integration according to the principles of democracy, freedom, and social justice." Clough believes that Taiwan's preconditions for reunification are unlikely to be met anytime soon. In fact, he sees the growth of active, participatory democracy on Taiwan widening the gap between Taiwan society and the one-party system on the mainland. Clough concludes, "The more prosperous and democratic Taiwan becomes, the less likely it is that its people would agree to negotiations based on the assumption Aiat Taiwan is a province of the PRC" (p. 165). This conclusion leads to the important continuing role of"track-two" diplomacy . Track-two diplomacy refers to private or unofficial efforts to ease confiicts between contending parties when "track-one"—or official—negotiations are not possible. Clough points out "the beneficial effect on Aie political climate on the two sides of the Strait" from track-two contacts—contacts that range from Taiwan 90 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 folks visiting relatives on the mainland to "private individuals authorized by their governments to negotiate in a private capacity on specific issues" (pp. 2-3). His discussion of cross-Strait handling of smuggling issues is one excellent example of the important contribution that track-two diplomacy can make. Moreover, his analysis of Taiwan's use of track-two diplomacy suggests its potential benefits elsewhere —for example, in relations between the two Koreas (a subject which Clough touches on in chapter 9). The strong analytic content of ReachingAcross the Taiwan Strait overrides minor deficiencies in the book. Given the fast-breaking nature of the phenomenon he is reporting on and the importance of public perceptions of what is happening, Clough relies heavily on media sources. I would have preferred that he go as close to the original source as possible whenever possible. For example, with his gracious acknowledgment of assistance received from government officials, scholars, and politicians on both sides of the Strait, why does he so frequently use the unreliable Taiwan press as the source even for official statements and reports? Useful context has sometimes been omitted. For example, a background on and analysis of Taiwan's trade and investment as a percentage of total PRC trade and investment would make chapter 3 seem less Taiwan-centric. The discussion of illegal immigration could be placed in better perspective ifwe knew what percentage of illegals in Taiwan are mainlanders. Given Taiwan's current low unemployment rate and shortage of unskilled labor...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 89-91
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.