Catalytic Diplomacy

Note to Finger in the Dike

On Getting Talks Started

(1) Agree to Discuss the One-China Principle First: Tell the public that since China considers this the most important issue between the two sides—which is certainly true—as a concession to China, you have agreed to discuss this item first. And since China has conceded that the two sides had—even in 1992—quite different ideas about what the principle meant, why should they continue to insist on the acceptance of a principle whose meaning is completely obscured as a precondition for discussing the substance of the issue?
(2) Agree not to Call for Independence During the Talks: One high Chinese official has suggested, on a personal basis, that the talks could start so long as a designated set of about five Taiwanese officials agreed not to call for independence during the talks (president, foreign minister, defense minister, etc.) He specifically said that Vice President Lu would not have to be one of these five—evidently, they discount the significance of her statements.
(3) Offer Private Talks Between Authorized Representatives: This would provide a string to draw in the talks on a basis that both sides could understand and privately accommodate themselves to.
(4) If All Else Fails, Offer to Improve Relations in Economic and Other Ways Without Political Talks.

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