Political border disputes will be played out in miniature at Shanghai’s World Expo next year, after rumors that World Expo organizers are planning a Taiwan pavilion within the Chinese section of the fair stirred up old tensions about Taiwan’s political status.
Though Taipei officials are making arrangements for two pavilions representing the capital city in the international “Urban Practices Area,” organizers may set up a separate Taiwan pavilion inside the Chinese section. Taipei’s city government will not be involved with these plans, the Tapei Times reported Monday.
The decision to locate the Taiwan pavilion within the borders of the Chinese section of the Expo could be seen as a statement about Taiwan’s status in relation to China.
The decades-long dispute (which thankfully never turned into another war) seemed to have cooled after the election of President Ma Ying-jeou, whose Kuomintang administration has been much less vocal about Taiwan independence than its predecessor. Over the last year, a lot of strides have been made to bring Taiwan and China (especially, it seems, Shanghai) closer – including the first direct flight from the mainland to the island, a successful museum cooperation initiative, and even a recent overture from Premier Wen to “talk peace.”
But the conflict has really only been side-stepped so far, mostly by keeping the conversation politely tied to economics. Taiwan still considers itself very much its own country and China still considers Taiwan very much a renegade province, and wouldn’t it be awkward if that hullabaloo was unearthed again because of one silly little question: Where should we place the pavilion?
Photo from taiwan-map.com.