When China-friendly Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and his party took power in 2008, the main story for the island was how it’s historic and sometimes hostile ties would with improve the advent of this new leader.
It’s been almost 4 years since I first transferred to Taiwan from Singapore as a staff photographer covering various cross strait events and I realised that I had amassed a hefty collection of photos over the years to tell this story.
I began thinking about this Taiwan & China cross strait relations multimedia project because most of my assignments were spent covering historic events like the first direct flights between China and Taiwan. You see, before the deal was signed, if you wanted to fly to Beijing from Taipei, you had to fly to Hong Kong or Seoul first before flying into either side. A simple 4 hour flight became 8 hours.
Once compared to the two bickering Koreas, Taiwan and China have been praised by other neighbouring countries these past few years for making efforts to build closer economic cooperation. Such cross strait stability saw a boom in economy as Taiwan’s GDP continued to expand steadily after talks began with China.
If Ma retains his presidency after elections in 2012, it would give him four more years to pursue more in-depth cross strait policies with China like military issues. A reduction in an arms race would benefit both economies a great deal.