Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Markus G. Puder

First Page



This Article examines the relationship between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, and explores whether the German experience may contain lessons for the relations between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. The Author's analysis of the German situation begins with a discussion of the relations between the separate German states, with a particular emphasis on how that relationship was shaped by the Basic Treaty. That document provided for the promotion of peaceful relations, recognition of independence and sovereignty of each nation, as well as a normalization of the diplomatic relations. After ratification, the Bavarian State Government sought a declaration that the ratification law was incompatible with the Basic Law, which conceived of Germany as one nation. The German Federal Constitutional Court unanimously rejected the petition, finding that the Basic Treaty was compatible with the Basic Law. The Author examines the Court's methods of analysis, as well as the ramifications of the Court's decision.

The Author then turns to an examination of the relations between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. He recognizes that the People's Republic of China advocates the One-China principle for achieving a peaceful reunification between the mainland and Taiwan. By contrast, the government of Taiwan maintains that China has been split into two separate and independent states with divergent political and economic systems.

The Author notes that such divergent viewpoints had plagued German rapprochement. Once the parties moved past their disagreements, however, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were able to launch a viable partnering mechanism that increased the permeability of the inner-German border, facilitated German-German dialogue, and alleviated the hardships of division. The Author suggests that the Chinese affinity for treaty frameworks in the context of legal and political arrangements may be harnessed for increased levels of interaction in social, economic, trade, and other venues. Furthermore, the Author contends, the success of the Basic Treaty has illustrated how increasing contacts and decreasing tensions can effectively enhance the relationship.