“On January 31, 2008, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan,  the CCP Central Committee General Secretary, Hu Jintao, gave an important speech. He clearly stated that in order to help stabilize the situation across the Taiwan Strait and reduce military and security concerns, the two sides can communicate and exchange opinions regarding military issues, and discuss the establishment of a mutual trust system for military security. This important speech has, in practical operation, opened the door for cross-strait military exchanges to establish a mutual trust mechanism for cross-strait military and security.”
“In order to establish a system of cross-strait mutual military trust, the primary condition and the most difficult issue come from the words ‘mutual trust.’ Without ‘mutual trust,’ there is no ‘mechanism.’ The ‘mutual trust’ here … is really mutual trust in a political sense. Military strategist Clausewitz has a famous line: war is the continuation of politics. On the issue of mutual trust in military security, this line can be transformed into ‘mutual military trust is a continuation of mutual political trust.’ In other words, without mutual political trust there is no mutual military trust; mutual political trust is the prerequisite and foundation for mutual military trust.”
“What is mutual political trust across the strait? In the sixteen-character principle proposed by General Secretary Hu Jintao regarding the development of cross-strait relations,  the first one is ‘establishing mutual trust.’ My understanding is that the ‘mutual trust’ here has at least three meanings: The first is we must insist on the principle of ‘one China,’ the second is we must be firmly against ‘Taiwan independence,’ and the third is we have to be firm in walking toward the general direction of unification.”
“Specifically, on Taiwan’s part, in exploring the establishment of a mutual cross-strait military and security trust system, it has to understand that the Mainland side will consider whether this system is consistent with the one-China principle, whether those who advocate “the independence of Taiwan” might take advantage of it, and whether it conforms to the goal of promoting reunification, as well as other concerns. If Taiwan tries to utilize the military and security mutual trust system as a means to achieve the goal of letting the Mainland disarm in order to have permanent peace, that would be a serious mistake. Of course, on the Mainland’s part, it has to consider whether various concerned interests on Taiwan’s side will be protected.”
“How do we build a mutual political trust that is enough to support mutual military security trust? Indeed, given the current political environment in Taiwan, if we ask Taiwan’s military and government authorities to make promises immediately, explicitly, and publicly to unify with China, and to write them down in a consensus, in agreements, and in documents regarding a cross-strait mutual military and security trust system, it would seem to be too hard for Taiwan. But on the Mainland’s part, if the two sides cannot reach a sufficient consensus on major issues, then it will be difficult to promote the establishment of a mutual cross-strait military and security trust system and make it go far enough. ‘One China,’ ‘anti-Taiwan-independence,’ and reunification, are what Mainland people want, are the common political wills of the Chinese people at home and abroad, and are the necessary conditions for rejuvenating the Chinese nation. Public opinion cannot be violated! Public opinion is also what the Taiwan authorities must face, and what the people in Taiwan must consider as a political reality.”
“How do we deal with this problem? The fundamental solution is that the Taiwan authorities ought to create conditions on the Island that lead the public in the direction of cross-strait integration instead of divergence, so that among the people of Taiwan the Blue is bluer and the Green turns Blue. At the major historic turning point, political figures should not be riding on the public’s tail and letting others lead public opinion. Although a ‘democratic society’ is pluralistic, it is necessary to lead public opinion. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), knowing this very well, had been guiding public opinion toward the direction of Green every single day of the eight years it was in power. When Chen Shui-bian came into office in 2000, supporters of the DPP were less than 40% of the population, but the DPP took on the unpleasant task of leading public opinion using the separatist ‘Taiwan Independence’ ideology. One cannot underestimate how, after eight years, the people were green-ized. Today’s Taiwan authorities have a much better condition or advancing the political agenda than the DPP did back then; it is necessary and possible to ‘blue-ize’ public opinion. If (the government) does not occupy an ideological height and control the voice on major policies, its governance will be constrained and passive everywhere, with no good policies being carried out, not to mention the major agenda of ending hostilities and establishing a mutual military trust mechanism.”
“For armies across the strait, the prospect of promoting mutual political trust is promising. The first step is to strengthen communication, and the second is to cooperate closely. Interactive communication can mitigate the hostility and build up trust; cooperation is an importance path toward mutual political trust. There is a saying from the British strategic theorist Liddell Hart, ‘In strategy the longest way round is often the shortest way there.’ With this view, we may go beyond the issue of directly talking about a mutual military security trust mechanism. With a broader ideological vision and more profound strategic foresight, we can look at the cross-strait military relationship and seek a shortcut to mutual trust through strategic cooperation.”
“What we can do right now to establish strategic cooperation involves military means, to jointly safeguard the common strategic interests of the Chinese people across the strait. This includes jointly safeguarding the Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku Islands), the East China Sea, and the territorial and maritime sovereignty of the Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands) in the South China Sea; and jointly maintaining airspace security, livelihood interests, and overseas interests. Among the Nansha Islands, the Taiwan side possesses the largest Taiping Island, which has a major airport, a harbor for large boats, and comprehensive observation and communication facilities. The Mainland side has troops stationed on seven distant reefs. These have permanent facilities, but no major airport. Judging from the situation, when the two sides defend troops and do not contact each other, they only control a few spots but not a large area. We face a disadvantageous geographic condition, compared to Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and other neighboring countries of the South China Sea that occupy our reefs. If the two sides, through cooperation in exploration of the Nansha Islands, join the navy, air, and reef defending forces to protect the Islands, the nation of Chinese will change its passive situation on the Island and foreign forces will be afraid. On the Diaoyu Islands, the current situation is that each side is defending its own sovereign rights. Thus the foreign forces do not feel the pressure and sometimes can even benefit. If both sides achieve strategic cooperation by complementing each other, and jointly defend the sovereignty and rights of the Diaoyu Islands, the situation will undergo a major change. This is also true on other fronts.”
“A higher level of strategic cooperation between the two sides will result in seeking the common interests of the Chinese nation as a whole, especially in resisting, dissolving, eliminating, or transforming the differentiation and containment from foreign forces. In this way, the Chinese people will turn from being passive to proactive, and turn the negative into the beneficial, for a smoother path and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
“Note that the two sides, in concrete actions of joint development and defense of common Chinese interests, will naturally form regular and institutionalized cooperation mechanisms, while they start from the strategic level and extend to the level of tactics. The series of communication, coordination, and cooperation measures, that are set up for the demand of strategic cooperation between both sides, both platform and activities, can actually be considered as part of the mechanism of mutual military security trust. In this way, as time passes, one day, when we look back, the people across the Taiwan Strait may be pleasantly surprised to find that a mutual cross-strait military and security trust mechanism has been in place in reality, only short of an official paper.”
 China Review News, August 29, 2010
The China Review magazine is a monthly publication under China Review News, the news agency set up by the Chinese government in May 2005 in Hong Kong, with a focus on cross-strait relations.
 The Message to the Compatriots in Taiwan issued by China on January 1, 1979, specifying the policy of the “peaceful reunification” of Taiwan.
 The sixteen-character principle is 建立互信，搁置争议，求同存异，共创双赢, or Establishing mutual trust, shelving disputes, seeking common ground, creating a win-win situation.