Bridging the divide between parent states and secessionist entities: a new perspective for conflict management?
This paper departs from the contested nature of the border that separates each side in secessionist conflict – the parent state considers this as an internal administrative line; the de facto state, conversely, sees this as an international border. The argument made builds upon the theoretical aspects of the bordering practices in the current literature, and then examines three cross-border cases – Mainland China-Taiwan, Cyprus-Northern Cyprus and Moldova-Transnistria, to demonstrate different patterns of cross-border interactions and their achieved outcomes. It questions why border-crossing practices have either brought about normalization in degrees, or with a questionable value? This paper makes the conclusion that although border-crossing practices have normalized relations between adversaries, they have also simultaneously brought along self-perpetuating separation as most of the divisions still persist today. Redefining borders and facilitating cross-border interactions has only had a limited contribution to conflict management.