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Young Minds of C3S Event Report: ‘Cross-Strait Relations Today and Prospects’

C3S Report No: 003/2017

Young Minds of C3S held its third meeting on February 4 2017 at C3S, Athena Infonomics Building, Chennai. For details on YMC3S vide the link: ‘Young Minds of C3S’- Call for Membership.

Cmde. Vasan, Director, C3S, welcomed the gathering. Dr. Alagu Perumal, Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Chennai, spoke on the topic ‘Cross- Strait Relations Today and Prospects’. Preethi Amaresh, Secretary, Young Minds of C3S introduced the speaker. Dr. Alagu Peruamal is Assistant Professor – International Business at LIBA, Chennai. He has a doctorate in International Relations. He has published several articles in professional journals and has attended many national and international conferences. His primary research interests are global food security, India-China comparative studies, East Asia Affairs and international relations. He is the founder of IIIBFT, an NGO that promotes food security. He currently teaches International Business, Mandarin and related courses.

On the topic of Cross- strait relations, the historical aspect was touched upon. Chinag Kai Shek came to Taiwan after being defeated by Mao Zedong. He ruled Taiwan (Republic of China) as leader of the Kuomintang (KMT) party for five terms. U.S.A provided security to ROC. After Chiang Kai’s death, he was succeeded by his son Chiang Ching-kuo. Li Teng-hui ruled ROC from late 1980s to 2000. He focused largely on Taiwan’s economic growth. For this purpose, business relations with PRC were increased. Meanwhile, in 1997, Hong Kong’s reunification with China took place. Taiwan was in position of being the ‘odd man out’. Li Teng was succeeded by Chen Shui-bian, whose victory brought Democratic progressive Party to power for the first time, unseating KMT’s continuous rule. Chen Shui wanted ‘creeping independence’ and created more foreign relationships. He subordinated domestic politics. U.S.A did not encourage Chen Shui as it didn’t want Taiwan to shift from the status quo. Ma Ying-jeou succeeded Chen Shui-bian. He was keen on improving relations with PRC. Business ties increased and air links were established.

In 2016 Tsai Ing-wen took office as President of ROC. While there was initial optimism amidst pro-independence Taiwanese people, they soon lost confidence in Tsai. She is said to have poor relations with the media, among other problems. She is being challenged as a leader. Her movement for labour reforms was not welcomed, as the business community in Taiwan needs China’s market. This indicated the status quo of cross-strait relations. Any pro-independence move by Tsai Ing-wen will require drastic changes in Taiwan’s domestic policy. Interestingly, southern Taiwan is more pro-independence than the northern region of ROC. However southern Taiwanese people are “out of sync with global reality”. It remains to be seen how Tsai-Ing Wen takes forward Taiwan’s relations with PRC, especially after the election of Donald Trump as US President. The session was followed by an interactive round. Light was thrown on how Taiwan is very well-developed and has an excellent safety record.

Dr. Alagu Perumal also launched the C3S Chinese (Mandarin) language class.

Asma Masood, Research Officer, C3S gave the vote of thanks.

(Compiled by Asma Masood, President, YMC3S and Preethi Amaresh, Secretary, YMC3S)

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