In April 2008, the authors visited Taipei and Beijing with a delegation of U.S. and Canadian experts to discuss prospects and constructive suggestions for cross-strait confidence-building measures. This report presents the authors reflection on what they learned during the trip and their assessment of the possibilities for and main obstacles to confidence building across the Taiwan Strait.
American, Taiwanese, and Chinese participants all agreed that a strategic opportunity now exists to improve relations across the strait. There are emerging opportunities for confidence building in nontraditional security areas, such as the environment and public health. Establishing patterns of cooperation in these areas could precede the negotiation of more difficult military CBMs and build habits of collaboration. The biggest obstacle to CBMs, however, is the deep-seated suspicion on both sides of the strait. The United States, Taiwan, and China should all take steps to promote mutual trust and seek win-win-win solutions, and CBMs can play a critical role in that process.
About: The advent of a new administration in Taiwan under the leadership of President Ma Ying-jeou and his Kuomintang (KMT) party has brought with it promising prospects for improved relations between mainland China and Taiwan.
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