Wang Youmin: Maritime Silk Road and New Trends in Cross-straits Relations

Author:Wang Youmin Date:2016-11-25

On November 22, 2016, the Institute of International & Strategic Studies (IISS), Peking University (PKU) held “North Pavilion Seminar · lecture 10”, which invited Wang Youmin, lawyer, Director of Taiwan Youmin Joint Law Firm and Legal Adviser to the General Chamber of Commerce of Taiwan, to give a lecture titled "Maritime Silk Road and New Trends in Cross-straits Relations". The lecture was hosted by Associate Prof. Guan Guihai, Executive Vice President of IISS. 

Wang Youmin first pointed out that Taiwan is most concerned about the potential risks and problems of China's "the Belt and Road" strategy. Problems must be considered by Taiwan include the following: whether there will be any waste in resource allocation; whether China's infrastructure investment in the Southeast Asian countries will produce new corruption; how to overcome the unstable investment environment that is brought about by frequent regime change in Southeast Asian countries; the possible negative reactions from the United States, Europe and Japan on the strategy. Wang Youmin also noted that China should give more technical guidance, and let countries on the Maritime Silk Road assume more economic obligations. 

Next, Mr. Wang analyzed Taiwan's advantages in joining in the strategy of the new Maritime Silk Road. The first advantage is a geographical advantage, as Taiwan is very close to Fujian province, the beginning of the new Silk Road. The second advantage is that the level of manufacturing and service industries and quality of labor in Taiwan are still higher than the average level and quality of those in Mainland China and Southeast Asian countries. The third advantage is that the Taiwanese has a long history of doing business overseas. Many Taiwanese businessmen have family members live in Southeast Asia, and they have rich experience in business management. 

Wang Youmin also recalled the development of cross-strait relations since 1949, and noted that there are two kinds of views in the discussion on how would Taiwan play its role in the strategy of Maritime Silk Road, which are "politics comes first" and "economy comes first". 

Finally, Wang Youmin offered his prospects of cross-strait relations. He hoped that people on both sides will exert their wisdom, cooperate more with each other, strengthen national sentiments, and develop cooperative and mutually beneficial relations. 

In the question-and-answer session, Wang Youmin answered questions from teachers and students at the lecture, such as Taiwan people's identity, the impact of online public opinion on cross-strait relations and others. 


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