Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Tsai Government Must Calmly Seek a New Cross-Strait Consensus

The Tsai Government Must Calmly Seek a New Cross-Strait Consensus
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
September 24, 2016

Executive Summary: Taiwan has definitely been shut out of the ICAO conference. It cannot attend the conference as a “special guest” as it did three years ago. This amounts to a major diplomatic defeat for the Tsai government. Mainland officials have also issued an unprecedented statement, making clear this was the handiwork of the Tsai government. President Tsai must now remain calm and not overreact. After all, this was the expected reaction of the Mainland to the DPP government's rejection of the 1992 Consensus. The DPP government must now reestablish trust with the Mainland. It must reach a new consensus as the basis for consultations, in order to avoid further harm to Taiwan.

Full Text Below:

Taiwan has definitely been shut out of the ICAO conference. It cannot attend the conference as a “special guest” as it did three years ago. This amounts to a major diplomatic defeat for the Tsai government. Mainland officials have also issued an unprecedented statement, making clear this was the handiwork of the Tsai government. President Tsai must now remain calm and not overreact. After all, this was the expected reaction of the Mainland to the DPP government's rejection of the 1992 Consensus. The DPP government must now reestablish trust with the Mainland. It must reach a new consensus as the basis for consultations, in order to avoid further harm to Taiwan.

The Ma government was able to achieve a series of major breakthroughs and take part in international activities precisely because it recognized the 1992 Consensus. The Ma government affirmed the 1992 Consensus as the political foundation for cross-Strait relations. It affirmed that cross-Strait relations were not state to state relations. That established trust between the Mainland and Taiwan, and enabled Taiwan to take part in international activities through a series of pragmatic arrangements. But the situation has changed. The Tsai government has stubbornly refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus. Therefore the Mainland's pragmatic arrangements are now null and void. Being shut out of the ICAO conference was 100% predictable.

Ever since President Tsai took office, she has misjudged the situation on both cross-Strait and national security matters. She had too much faith in purported help from the United States, and too little appreciation for the Mainland's adherence to fundamental principles. The Mainland made abundantly clear that Taiwan's participation in international activities was predicated upon recognition of the 1992 Consensus. Yet the Tsai government ignored its warnings. It assumed that repeated US expressions of support, along with behind the scenes negotiations, would ensure Taiwan's eventual attendance. But in the end it was forced to admit it was shut out completely.

The fiasco was a major warning for the Tsai government. It confirmed Mainland leader Xi Jinping's declaration that "without a solid foundation, the earth will move and the mountains will shake". That was not an offhand remark. That summed up the Mainland's fundamental posture. The Mainland's basic position is crystal clear. As long as the DPP government recognizes the 1992 Consensus, all issues are negotiable. During the Ma era, the Mainland honored that commitment. Critics have demeaned Taiwan's participation in international activities under those conditions as merely temporary measures, rife with uncertainty. But the international reality is that the vast majority of nations and international organizations recognize the one China principle. For organizations that require the status of a sovereign state, even the United States only supports Taiwan's participation, not its membership. Also, the ICAO immediately issued a statement explaining that it adheres to the one-China principle, and that Taiwan's past participation was exclusively the result of invitation by the Mainland. Taiwan may participate in the activities of international organizations only with the blessing of the Mainland. There is no other way.

Therefore the first priority for cross-Strait relations at this stage is to reaffirm the nature of cross-Strait relations. If the Tsai government cannot bring itself to reaffirm the one China premise or the 1992 Consensus, then Taiwan will be less and less able to participate in international activities. The cross-Strait diplomatic war could then resume at any time. This obviously is not a blessing for people on either side, and definitely not a blessing for Taiwan.

The most worrisome aspect of this is the Tsai government's continuing refusal to face international reality. It even cites public sentiment as an excuse, claiming that the people of Taiwan "chose democracy and have been subject to unfair treatment". In fact most people on Taiwan want to maintain the status quo. They want the government to negotiate with the Mainland, to maintain Taiwan's status as a political entity, and to ensure economic growth and international participation. The Tsai government's refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus has set back cross-Strait relations. If the Tsai government truly values public opinion, it will listen carefully to what people have to say about cross-Strait relations. It will acknowledge the Mainland's core concerns. It will as soon as possible, adopt a pragmatic attitude regarding the political foundation for cross-Strait exchanges, and arrive at a new consensus.

The Mainland refuses to allow the Tsai government to participate in international activities. We must acknowledge that fact. At the same time, we must not allow this to become a sticking point for the two sides. We hope the Mainland will allow Taiwan greater participation in international activities, particularly on matters of public welfare such as the ICAO and the WHA. Pragmatism on the part of the Mainland will avoid damage to the interests of the public on Taiwan.

The Mainland has noted that Taiwan retains access to international civil aviation data. But if Taiwan cannot participate in ICAO activities, it can only access the relevant information through third nations or business pipeline. The process is arduous, and the information is incomplete. The Mainland must let people understand in a clear and unambiguous manner that aviation safety will not be affected. It must actively provide the relevant data, or allow the relevant organizations and nations and Taiwan to expand technical cooperation. Only then can the public on Taiwan experience the Mainland's sincerity and goodwill. Only then can it prevent cross-Strait political disputes from affecting the public interest.

社論》蔡政府要冷靜 尋求兩岸新共識
2016/9/24 下午 08:14:45  主筆室

台灣確定未獲國際民航組織邀請,無法如3年前一樣以「特邀貴賓」身分出席大會,這是蔡政府在外交領域遭受的重大挫敗。對此,大陸官方也在第一時間發出聲明,直指這是蔡政府所造成。蔡總統此刻宜冷靜,不要過度反應,畢竟這是大陸針對台灣拒絕九二共識的預期性作為;民進黨政府應該做的是和大陸累積互信、協商建立新共識,以免再對台灣造成傷害。

事實上,馬政府時期之所以能在國際參與上接連取得重大突破,就是跟九二共識有關。也正因為當時台灣方面認同九二共識這一政治基礎,並確認了兩岸關係非國與國的性質,才讓大陸與台灣之間的互信不斷增強,也才有後續針對台灣參與國際組織的一系列務實安排。如今情勢丕變,蔡政府始終對九二共識採取迴避態度,因此大陸做出務實安排的前提也就不復存在,台灣此番未獲國際民航組織邀請自是意料中事。

蔡總統執政後,連續在兩岸和國安議題上發生誤判,過於相信來自美國的所謂協助,又過於輕視大陸對基本原則問題的堅持,因此,雖然大陸多次明確表示台灣參與國際組織相關活動應以九二共識為前提,蔡政府仍然充耳不聞,認為美國已經多次公開聲明支持台灣有意義參與,且私下也在密集進行,因此台灣最終仍會出席,直到最後一刻才肯承認無法參與的事實。

這次事件無疑是對蔡政府的一大警訊,再度證明大陸領導人習近平所謂「基礎不牢、地動山搖」的說法並不只是隨口一說,而是大陸的基本態度。大陸的基本立場其實相當清楚,就是只要確認九二共識,兩岸之間的各種問題都可納入協商,在馬政府時期大陸也兌現了這一承諾。雖然外界批評台灣參與國際組織相關活動都是以臨時方式,充滿不確定性,但國際現實正是如此,世界各國和國際組織絕大多數都認可一中原則,即便美國也只是支持台灣有意義參與那些要求主權國家身分的國際組織活動,並未支持台灣成為其會員。此次國際民航組織也立即發出聲明,解釋該組織是基於一中原則,過去台灣之所以能夠參與是因為大陸主動邀請。這也就意味著,台灣要參與國際組織活動,來自大陸的善意是基本前提,捨此並無他途。

因此,現階段兩岸關係的首要大事就是重新確認兩岸關係的性質,若無法針對九二共識或者一中意涵做出答覆,相信後續台灣參與國際活動的空間只會進一步限縮,兩岸外交戰也將隨時上演,這顯然不是兩岸人民之福,更不是台灣之福。

令人憂慮的是,蔡政府仍然沒有正視這一國際現狀,甚至再度祭出民意作為理由,認為這是因為台灣人民「選擇民主而受到不公平的待遇」,這種說法顯然有待商榷。台灣的主流民意是維持現狀,就是要求政府必須設法與大陸協商,既維護台灣的主體性,又能為台灣的經濟發展和國際參與創造更大可能。蔡政府迄今迴避九二共識導致兩岸關係倒退,若蔡政府真的重視民意,那就應該認真傾聽民眾對兩岸關係的心聲,面對大陸的核心關切,以務實態度盡速和大陸就兩岸交流政治基礎問題進行協商,並協議出一個新的共識。

大陸方面拒絕我方參與國際組織,我們予以尊重,與此同時,我們也不願意看到此次事件演變成兩岸對抗的起點,仍然希望大陸方面能夠給予台灣更廣闊的國際參與空間,特別是有關民眾福祉的相關活動,如WHA和國際民航組織大會等等,需要大陸採取務實舉動避免台灣民眾相關權益受損。

大陸方面指出台灣獲取國際民航資料的管道暢通,但現實卻是台灣若無法參與國際民航組織活動,就只能透過第三國或者商業管道來獲取相關資訊,過程艱辛且資訊並不完整。大陸要以明確、不含糊的態度讓民眾了解,台灣飛安問題不受影響,且要積極主動提供相關數據資料,或者允許相關組織與國家和台灣展開技術性合作,以便解決問題,如此才能讓台灣民眾感受到大陸的善意與誠意,避免兩岸政治糾紛波及民眾利益。

Friday, September 23, 2016

Taiwan and the Thucydides Trap

Taiwan and the Thucydides Trap
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
September 23, 2016

Executive Summary: Following the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, the domestic and foreign media began paying closer attention to the Mainland's analysis of global political and economic issues. As Gideon Rachman, author of "Orientalism" noted, following the global financial crisis, political and economic forces shifted toward the East, in particular Mainland China. The rapid rise of China has the potential of lifting up emerging Asian nations. China's rise and theirs go hand in hand. As a result some Western nations have become increasingly apprehensive about Mainland China's international influence. Then there are the United States and China, which some believe are caught in a Thucydides Trap.

Full Text Below:

Following the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, the domestic and foreign media began paying closer attention to the Mainland's analysis of global political and economic issues. As Gideon Rachman, author of "Orientalism" noted, following the global financial crisis, political and economic forces shifted toward the East, in particular Mainland China. The rapid rise of China has the potential of lifting up emerging Asian nations. China's rise and theirs go hand in hand. As a result some Western nations have become increasingly apprehensive about Mainland China's international influence. Then there are the United States and China, which some believe are caught in a Thucydides Trap.

In 2012 Harvard University political science professor Graham Allison published an article related to this in the Financial Times. But a truly thought-provoking incident took place last September. Xi Jinping visited the United States and made reference to the “Thucydides Trap”, something familiar only to Western political elites. Xi showed that Chinese leaders are increasingly comfortable with Western political rhetoric and global communications. Athenian historian Thucydides noted how fifth century BC Sparta found itself faced with the rise of Athens. Allison touted the term "Thucydides Trap", and noted how the rise of new powers provokes fear among existing powers. Both sides respond by attempting to seize the initiative. Allison warned about a head on collision between the current US hegemon and a rising China. China's political system remains highly centralized. Yet its leaders invoke Western historical precedents to challenge Western hegemony and advocate mutual respect and win-win. This is a highly intriguing situation.

Xi Jinping used the Thucydides Trap to make another important point. This one hit Western powers squarely in their sore spot. Upon entering the 21st century, long term global economic power has apparently shifted from West to East. The focus of economic thought has similarly turned to the East. After 2008, the United States, European nations, and other developed nations have been subject to internal bottlenecks. They have found it difficult to sustain their past economic advantages, and their military, political, and ideological dominance. First, the US hegemon once supported political democracy and economic freedom. In recent years however, nationalism, isolationism, and protectionism have gained traction. This year's US presidential election focuses on its loss of global dominance. Furthermore, Mainland China hosted the G20. This provided it with its first opportunity since joining the WTO to promote tariff reduction for new WTO members. The hope is that new members may help China become the world's largest market, and show that the United States is conservative while China is open.

Second, US allies have their own difficulties. Europe must deal with radical right wingers. The refugee problem amounts to riding a tiger. Economic growth remains sluggish. Brexit has rendered Europe unable to help the United States. Japan, in the Asian Pacific, remains in dire economic straits. Southeast Asian nations have now adopted a two-pronged strategy. They are friendly with both major powers. US allies are either unable to cope with their own problems, or they have their own plans. China is gathering economic strength. It is bringing benefits to its neighbors. It is accumulating power, making US political and economic dominance harder to maintain.

Previous CCP leaders resorted to more authoritarian language to depict China as one of the world's major powers. Xi Jinping put it bluntly. The US should not fall into the foregoing trap. He stressed that under the new big power relationship, China seeks to avoid conflicts and confrontation, to promote mutual respect and win-win cooperation. It advocates the avoidance of error, deceit, and emotionalism.  It argues that bilateral cooperation at all levels will ensure a better understanding of each others' positions. Xi exhibited a more "mature" political style that shrugged off Western nations' stereotype of Mainland China as a nation “beyond the pale”.

Consider the matter pragmatically. The key to preventing the Thucydides Trap from becoming a reality, is seeking common interests between the two nations, and subjecting the power struggle to risk management. On the eve of this year's G20 meeting, the two nations announced the approval of the Paris Climate Accord. That is one example. Nevertheless the rise and expansion of a new power continues to inspire fear and reaction on the part of the current hegemon. If in the future nationalist arguments prevail, or neither side is willing to compromise, war could erupt. By then, Washington, Beijing, and Taipei, constrained by political and economic considerations, will face a very dangerous predicament.

For this reason, Taipei must adopt a strategic overview of the situation. It must communicate with the Mainland much better than it has. It must formulate its own foreign policy vision, knowledge, and skills, as soon as possible. Otherwise, Taiwan will find itself relegated to the margins. By then it will be too late.

聯合/台灣不可不知的修昔底德陷阱
2016-09-23 03:55 聯合報 聯合報社論

杭州G20會議後,國內外媒體對中國大陸在全球政經話語權的引導及詮釋能力的評估似乎更上層樓,多所討論。一如《東方化》一書作者拉赫曼(G. Rachman)所說,金融海嘯後的全球政經趨勢更朝向東方聚焦,尤以中國為重。而中國大陸快速崛起,又有潛力日增的亞洲新興國家相隨,令西方國家對中國的國際影響力感到憂懼,遂有美、中兩國陷入「修昔底德陷阱」(the Thucydides trap)的說法。

此一說法雖早見於二○一二年哈佛大學政治學教授艾利森發表在《金融時報》的文章,但真正引人深思,是去年九月習近平藉訪美之機回應西方政治菁英方才通曉的「修昔底德陷阱」之說,顯示中國愈來愈懂得使用西式語言與全球溝通。艾利森借雅典史學家修昔底德描述西元前五世紀斯巴達面臨雅典崛起之情境,提出「修昔底德陷阱」一詞,指出新崛起的強權會引發既有強權的恐懼,使雙方以戰爭手段搶奪主導權的可能性升高,旨在預警當今霸權的美國和日漸竄起的強權中國須戒慎正面衝突的宿命。而政治體制仍處高度集權的中國,其領導人卻利用源自於挑戰霸權的西方經典歷史案例,向國際傳達所謂相互尊重與雙贏的強國樣貌,令人玩味。

習近平回應修昔底德陷阱觀點的另一個重要之處,在於該比喻恰恰好擊中西方國家的痛處。全球進入廿一世紀後,世界經濟實力出現由西往東的長期板塊移動,發展思維的焦點也轉向東方,二○○八年後美國與歐洲等國家發展則受制於內部瓶頸,難以維繫往昔利用經濟優勢帶動軍事、政治、意識形態的主導形勢。首先,過去支撐美國擴張霸權的政治民主、經濟自由開放兩大思維,近年遭到國家主義、孤立主義、保護主義的劇烈衝擊,其效應在今年的美國總統大選展露無遺,也削損其全球政經霸主的光環。何況,中國藉主辦本屆G20的機會,通過入世至今首次更動的「加入WTO關稅減讓表修正案」,意欲迎接各國前來襄助中國成為全球最大市場,呈現出美、中兩國一保守、一開放的迥異姿態。

其次,美國的盟友也各有難關,如歐洲盛行的極右派激進言論、騎虎難下的難民問題、遲滯的經濟成長,乃至英國退歐激起的仿效危機,都使歐洲無力協助美國。而亞太地區的日本仍深陷經濟欲振乏力的困境,東南亞國家則採取兩手策略,與兩大強權分別保持友好。於是,盟友或因自顧不暇,或各有盤算,加上中國以強大經濟實力,澤被四鄰所累積的助力,皆使美國維繫政經霸主地位漸感不易。

相較於先前中共領導人多使用東方威權色彩的語言敘述中國融入世界的大國想像,習近平則直言中、美關係不可落入前述的陷阱,強調中國要建立的新形態大國關係是不衝突、不對抗、相互尊重與雙贏的合作,並主張要避免錯誤算計與情緒性決策,透過兩國各層面互動,對彼此思維有較完整與正確的解讀等說法,更演示出一種「成熟的」大國風範,擺脫西方國家眼中「化外之邦」的刻板印象。

務實來看,要擊破修昔底德陷阱的預言,關鍵在美、中兩國能否找出共同的利益,將權力的競逐轉化為風險管理,本屆G20會議前夕兩國宣布批准《巴黎氣候協定》,即為一例。但除此之外,崛起及擴張中的新強權vs.恐懼和反制的既有霸權故事仍在上演。倘若未來民族或國家主義的論調屢被提及,抑或雙方獨鍾自我利益的算計而寸步不讓,則走向衝突與戰爭的可能性恐將大增。屆時,政經兩面向多受制於美、中的台灣,必將面臨極險峻的困境。

有鑑於此,台灣不僅應全面審視這場強權競逐態勢,更須對中國大陸外交溝通能力已大幅提升為戒,盡速強化自身外交領域的視野、智識及運作技巧。否則,若台灣的聲音淪為邊緣之言,即為時已晚。

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Beijing Washington Balance of Power Spells End to Taipei's Two-Pronged Strategy

Beijing Washington Balance of Power Spells End to Taipei's Two-Pronged Strategy
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
September 23, 2016

Executive Summary: President Tsai must disabuse herself of the fantasy that she can ally with the US and Japan to oppose China. Instead, she should proclaim that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait “belong to one democratic China", and jointly ensure peace within the Taiwan Strait. She should propose a "Taiwan Strait Peace Initiative", changing Taiwan's long-held view of Mainland China as its enemy, legally and militarily.

Full Text Below:

Harry Harding is former US President Bill Clinton's China policy consultant. Recently he noted in a seminar at the Brookings Institution two extremely unfavorable scenarios in the Taiwan Strait. In the first, Beijing loses patience. In the second, Washington abandons Taiwan. If Washington abandons Taiwan, two more scenarios emerge. One, Washington uses Taiwan as a bargaining chip with Beijing, and the two reach an agreement. Two, an increasing powerful Mainland forces the US to bid farewell to Taiwan.

At the same venue, Bonnie Glaser from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that abandoning Taiwan is fundamentally contrary to the interests of the United States. She said that until the Chinese economy is stronger and its politics more open, the people of Taiwan may want a different relationship with the Mainland. However, former American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Richard Bush warned that when overall US strategy changes, or when the balance of power between the United States and Mainland China changes beyond a certain point, the United States may change its security commitments to Taiwan. What will the next US administration do? That will depend on officials responsible for Taiwan policy. Once the US decides that the military and economic costs of the Taiwan Relations Act are too high, it is likely to abandon Taiwan.

The US has long linked the Taiwan issue to Mainland China's internal affairs. Taiwan has long been seen by Beijing and Washington as a strategic bargaining chip. When US relations with Mainland China are strained, the Taiwan issue surfaces, and becomes the two sides' punching bag. When US relations with Mainland China are relaxed, Taiwan's importance diminishes. The discrepancy in power between Taipei and Beijing has steadily increased. Economic and trade interaction have increased, but so have disagreements over sovereignty. US and Mainland Chinese strategic competition has intensified. Cross-Strait relations have been lost in the melee. DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen has assumed power. The US must deal with a rising Mainland China. It too finds itself in a dilemma. Abandon Taiwan, and it may encourage the expansion of Mainland power in East Asia, and discredit the US in the Asian Pacific region. Back Taiwan fully against the Mainland, and it runs the risk of a shooting war. Meanwhile the widening gap in understanding between Taipei and Beijing over sovereignty, has sowed the seeds for future turmoil in the Taiwan Strait.

The US has long resorted to double deterrence. It has warned the CCP that it cannot use force against Taiwan. It has also warned the DPP that it cannot promote de jure Taiwan independence. Can it maintain the status quo? Can it maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait? The US now faces a severe test. The Rand Corporation believes that the CCP will achieve air superiority in the Taiwan Strait by 2017. By 2025, the CCP's area denial capability will have increased significantly. Its strategic nuclear strike capability will be more assured. It would be hard to predict who would win in a war with the US. The only certainty is that both sides would suffer heavy losses, leaving both vulnerable. Mainland China's long-range nuclear missiles and submarine-launched JL-2 nuclear missiles have the ability to reach the continental United States. Mainstream public opinion in the United States opposes sending troops to fight on behalf of Taiwan independence.

The US government assumes that Tsai Ing-wen understands this. If the DPP disrupts cross-Strait communication channels, and military conflict erupts, that will undermine the vital interests of the United States in the Western Pacific. The Beijing authorities stress that without the 1992 Consensus, then “the cross-Strait foundation will become unstable, the earth will move, and the mountains will shake". Washington has urged Beijing to maintain flexibility and exercise restraint. But Mainland President Xi Jinping is resolute. Washington no longer dares to use psychological warfare against the Mainland. President Tsai is also DPP Chairman. She is caught between the Constitution of the Republic of China and the Taiwan Independence Party Platform. Does she want to be President of the Republic of China, Chairman of the DPP, or President of an independent Taiwan? She herself may be confused. Since her inauguration, the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, and deep green pressure groups have each proposed conflicting policy directions. President Tsai may wish to maintain stability. But she has sowed cross-Strait and international chaos.

If President Tsai allows DPP ministers to promote cultural Taiwan independence and collaborate with deep green pressure groups to engage in de-Sinicization, Beijing authorities will concluded that she is engaged in a two-pronged strategy. That would further undermine cross-Strait relations. It could even make Beijing lose patience, and conclude that peaceful reunification is no longer possible. Beijing may then establish a timetable for reunification, and take drastic action to deal with the Taiwan issue.

The disparity in the two sides' strength has steadily increased. So have the disagreements over sovereignty. The increasing military might of the Mainland makes the US policy of “strategic ambiguity” unsustainable. The Tsai government must exercise caution. It must be responsible for its own decisions. President Tsai must disabuse herself of the fantasy that she can ally with the US and Japan to oppose China. Instead, she should proclaim that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait “belong to one democratic China", and jointly ensure peace within the Taiwan Strait. She should propose a "Taiwan Strait Peace Initiative", changing Taiwan's long-held view of Mainland China as its enemy, legally and militarily. She should act in good faith toward both Beijing and Washington. This will enable the cessation of cross-Strait hostilities and the restoration of peace and stability. This would be in the core interests of the US, the Mainland, and Taiwan. It would also prevent the prophecy of the US abandoning Taiwan from coming true.

中美消長 台灣不能再玩兩手策略
2016/9/23 中國時報

美國前總統柯林頓的中國政策智囊何漢理(Harry Harding),日前在華府「布魯金斯研究院」研討會上指出,台海發生最壞的兩種可能狀況,第一是北京失去耐心,其次是美國放棄台灣;而「美棄台論」又分為華府以台灣為籌碼,與北京交易並達成協議,另一種則是因中國實力強大,讓美國必須跟台灣說再見。

在同場合,「戰略與國際問題研究中心」顧問葛來儀表示,放棄台灣在根本上有違美國利益,等到中國經濟更強大,政治更開放,或許台灣人民會希望與大陸有不一樣的關係。不過,美國前在台協會理事主席卜睿哲提出警訊認為,當美國整體戰略出現變化,或者美、中在東亞軍力消長達到某種程度時,美國可能會改變對台灣的安全承諾,至於未來美國政府會做什麼,很大程度取決於負責此政策官員對台灣問題的理解與判斷。一旦美國政府認為執行《台灣關係法》的軍事經濟成本及風險越來越高,「棄台論」成真的可能性將大幅上升。

台灣問題一直都是包含美國因素的中國內政議題,同時也經常被北京與華府視為「戰略緩衝」。當美中關係緊張時,台灣問題會浮上檯面,成為兩國的沙包,但美中關係和緩時,台灣的作用順勢下降。不過,由於兩岸綜合國力差距日益懸殊、經貿互動密切但主權意識分歧擴大,以及美、中兩國戰略競逐加劇,讓兩岸關係迷失在十字路口。蔡英文領導民進黨全面執政後,美國面對綜合國力茁壯的中國時,也正面臨政策兩難,一則是放棄台灣,但卻可能鼓勵中國在亞洲實力擴增,讓美國在亞太地區信用破產;另一則是全力支持台灣對抗中國,但卻必須冒著與中國開戰的風險。同時,日益擴大的兩岸主權鴻溝,正埋下今後台海地區動盪的新根源。

美國長期運用「雙重嚇阻」,一方面警告中共不可對台動武,另方面要求台灣不可推動「法理台獨」的策略,能否繼續維持台海和平穩定現狀,已經面臨嚴峻考驗。美國國防智庫「藍德公司」認為,共軍在2017年將取得台海空優,到2025年時,共軍反介入與區域拒止能量大增,戰略核武等二擊能力亦更趨穩定,美、中若開戰將勝負難料,但唯一可以確定的是,雙方都將損失慘重,讓兩國實力變得脆弱。更何況美國在共軍中長程核導彈以及巨浪二型潛射核導彈有能力攻擊本土的威脅下,美國主流民意已不可能同意出兵為保衛台獨而戰。

美國政府認為蔡英文應明白,兩岸交流溝通管道若因民進黨執政中斷,甚至引發軍事衝突,將破壞美國在西太平洋的關鍵利益。北京當局則強調,若沒有九二共識,兩岸「基礎不牢,地動山搖」。華府雖建議中方保持彈性與克制,但對大陸國家主席習近平的意志與決心已不敢視為心理戰運用。目前身兼民進黨主席的蔡總統,糾結在《中華民國憲法》與《台獨黨綱》之間,到底要當中華民國總統?民進黨總統?還是台獨總統?可能自己都已經搞不清楚。她就職以來,府院黨與深綠團體接連推出相互矛盾的政策方向,蔡總統雖想保持平衡感,卻讓兩岸與國際一頭霧水。

倘若蔡總統放任民進黨閣員力推「文化台獨」措施,並與深綠團體「去中國化」合唱雙簧,將會被北京當局解讀為玩弄兩手策略,恐進一步影響兩岸關係,甚至讓北京失去耐心,認為和平統一已無可能,將按照實現統一的時間表,斷然採取行動處理台灣問題。

台海兩岸綜合實力的懸殊差距與主權鴻溝擴大,加上美、中軍力消長新形勢,已讓美國運用兩面嚇阻的模糊戰略難以為繼,蔡政府務必要謹言慎行,並為自己的決定負責;同時蔡總統應擺脫「聯美日、抗中」迷思,發表兩岸以「同屬民主中國」政治基礎,共維台海和平穩定發展;另亦可主動提出「台海和平倡議」,改變台灣長期以大陸為假想敵的軍事戰略與法理架構,向北京與華府釋出最大誠意,讓兩岸協商中止敵對狀態,恢復和平穩定發展正道,此不僅符合美中台共同的核心利益,更能避免美國棄台論成真。

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tsai Government Beware! Swing Voters Defecting!

Tsai Government Beware! Swing Voters Defecting!
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
September 22, 2016

Executive Summary: President Tsai has repeatedly stressed her determination to maintain the status quo. She hoped to win over swing voters. She hoped to broaden her support base. She hoped that swing voters and pale blue voters would flock to her. The defection of swing voters is a warning to the Tsai government. She must address the 1992 Consensus.

Full Text Below:

Shortly after taking office, past presidents have invariably sought to transcend blue vs. green political affiliation and become presidents to all the people. President Tsai is no exception. Since taking office on May 20, her cabinet appointments have included members of the blue camp and civil service politicians. Her policy proposals have sought to ensure stability. Even on cross-Strait issues, she has been prudent. As a result, deep green elements are very unhappy. They are constantly pressuring President Tsai to start over. They have even demanded that the entire Lin Chuan cabinet be replaced. But President Tsai has held her ground. She has not changed either existing policy or existing personnel, with the sole exception of her Executive Yuan spokesman.

But as with past presidents, President Tsai's attempt to win the support of a majority of voters has failed. On the one hand, blue vs. green opposition has intensified. Different camps have taken diametrically opposed attitudes toward the Tsai government. According to previous TVBS polls, 75% of all DPP supporters are satisfied with President Tsai's performance. Up to 63% are satisfied with Lin Chuan's performance. Conversely, 71% of KMT supporters are dissatisfied with President Tsai's performance. Up to 67% are dissatisfied with Lin Chuan's performance.

According to another poll commissioned by the KMT think tank, 29.7% of those who switched from Ma to Tsai in 2012 and 2016, have changed their minds a second time. They are unhappy with Tsai's policies during her first 100 days. Among those who voted but did not specify whom they supported, 30% were unhappy with Tsai's performance. This means that blue camp supporters are returning home. Even more alarmingly, swing voters who are unhappy with Tsai's performance outnumber those who are happy. According to a TVBS poll, 31% of swing voters were dissatisfied. Only 27% were satisfied. As many as 38% of swing voters were dissatisfied with the Lin Chuan cabinet's performance. Only 23% were satisfied.

This swing voter turnabout was expected. The Tsai government's philosophy of governance seeks stability. But what Taiwan needs is a breakthrough in her current plight. In other words, the Tsai government's policy path is the problem. On today's Taiwan, the differences between the blue and green camps are many. They include cross-Strait policy, social welfare policy, and industrial policy. But the sharpest distinction between the KMT and the DPP is over cross-Strait policy.

Over 30% of all swing voters want to maintain the status quo. This is because swing voters and economically motivated voters have long overlapped. These voters are not so particularly concerned about blue vs. green reunification vs. independence ideology. They are more concerned about sound governance and economic development. On matters of reunification vs. independence, they seek to maintain the status quo, or hope to delay any decision for later, in order to avoid the risks either might pose for the status quo.

During the 2012 election, economically motivated voters chose to support Ma Ying-jeou. This does not mean they agreed with reunification. This meant they thought the 1992 Consensus would ensure stable cross-Strait relations. That in turn would ensure Taiwan's economic development. But four years later the Ma government failed to ensure the equitable distribution of the dividends of cross-Strait exchanges within society as a whole. Therefore swing voters shifted in favor of Tsai Ing-wen, precisely because they wanted to change Ma government economic policies.

This does not mean that swing voters support the cessation of cross-Strait exchanges. They merely seek cross-Strait equilibrium. They do not want to be too close to the Mainland. Nor to they want to move too far. Once President Tsai came to power, she dragged her feet on the 1992 Consensus. This led to a freeze in official cross-Strait interactions. This has also affected cross-Strait people to people interactions. Swing voters have begun to have doubts, and have begun to repudiate the Tsai government.

According to a TVBS poll, 43% of the people are unhappy with the Tsai government's cross-Strait policy. Only 36% are satisfied. This is obviously higher than the percentage of blue camp supporters within the population. According to the Kuomintang poll, 30% think that cross-Strait relations have become strained. With steady pressure from the Mainland, cross-Strait tension has continued to rise. More and more people are realizing that cross-Strait relations are deteriorating. According to the latest polls, those who advocate swift reunification or swift independence have risen to 7% and 16 % respectively, the highest in recent years. Those who advocate maintaining the status quo indefinitely, or declaring independence immediately, have fallen to 47% and 15% respectively, the lowest in recent years.

This reflects people's pragmatism. More and more people have come to realize that since the Tsai government took office, cross-Strait tensions have skyrocketed. They have begun to take a serious look at cross-Strait reunification vs. independence issues.

Interestingly enough, according to a Taiwan Indicators Survey Research poll of southern Taiwan, voter support in die hard green camp districts show even greater change. During the general election DPP support exceeded 60%. Now however, over 33% are unhappy with President Tsai. In southwestern Taiwan that number is up to 39%. Not only swing voters are disaffected with Tsai. Even green camp supporters are expressing disappointment. These people are dissatisfied because their economic interests have suffered. When cross-Strait relations were good, the Mainland procured large quantities of agricultural products from Taiwan. Now the relevant incentives have been significantly reduced. Local farmers and fishermen are definitely feeling the pain.

President Tsai has repeatedly stressed her determination to maintain the status quo. She hoped to win over swing voters. She hoped to broaden her support base. She hoped that swing voters and pale blue voters would flock to her. The defection of swing voters is a warning to the Tsai government. She must address the 1992 Consensus.

蔡政府小心 中間選民轉向了
2016/9/22 中國時報

歷任總統上任之初,都希望超越藍綠成為全民總統,蔡總統也不例外。520上任以來,內閣成員選用了部分出身藍營或公務體系政治人物,政策基調力求穩定,即便在兩岸問題上,也盡量審慎處理。深綠對此大為不滿,不斷施壓蔡總統要求改弦更張,甚至要求林全內閣全面改組。但蔡總統仍然頂住壓力,沒有改變既有政策和人事,只先換了行政院發言人。

與以往歷任總統相似,蔡總統爭取更大多數選民的支持,努力還是失敗了。一方面,藍綠意見對立激化,不同陣營民眾對蔡政府的態度呈現截然對立的態勢。根據先前TVBS民調中心的調查結果,高達75﹪的民進黨認同者對蔡總統滿意,對林全的滿意度也有63﹪;但國民黨的認同者中,有71﹪的人對蔡總統感到不滿意,對林全的不滿意度也高達67﹪。

另根據國民黨智庫的委託調查,2012年投馬而2016年投蔡的「轉投族」,有29.7﹪的人對蔡政府施政百日不滿,投票未表態者同樣有3成對蔡政府不滿,代表藍營支持者的回流現象。更大的警訊是中間選民開始轉向,對蔡政府不滿的比例開始超過滿意者。在TVBS民調中,中間選民31﹪表示不滿意,滿意只有27﹪,對林全內閣,中間選民更是有38﹪不滿意,只有23﹪滿意。

中間選民轉向其實是意料之中的事情,蔡政府的施政理念以求穩為主,但當前台灣的問題是尋求突破困境之道,換句話說,蔡政府的施政方向本身就存在問題。在台灣,藍綠陣營的主要分歧廣泛存在於兩岸政策、社會福利、產業政策等各個領域,但相對來說,真正能對國民黨和民進黨做出明確區隔的只有兩岸政策。

對超過3成的中間選民來說,更希望維持現狀。這是因為長久以來,中間選民與所謂經濟選民高度重疊,這些選民並不那麼關心藍綠、統獨等意識形態問題,而更關注政府治理績效和經濟發展。他們在統獨立場上傾向於維持現狀,或者之後再做決定,避免現在走向統一和獨立給自己帶來的風險。

2012年大選,經濟選民在最後關頭選擇支持馬英九,這並不意味他們認同統一,而是認為九二共識可以帶來兩岸關係的穩定,進而為台灣經濟發展繼續提供動力。但這4年的發展經驗表明,馬政府並未將兩岸關係發展的紅利公平分配給全社會,因此中間選民開始轉向支持蔡英文,正是因為他們希望蔡英文能夠對馬政府的問題做出調整。

這並不表示中間選民支持兩岸交流停擺,而是希望兩岸關係能夠實現動態平衡,不至於過度向大陸靠攏,但也不能過分疏遠大陸。但蔡總統上台執政以後,遲遲處理不好九二共識問題,導致兩岸官方互動停頓,兩岸民間互動也受到影響,中間選民感到疑慮,進而開始轉向否定蔡政府。

事實上,根據TVBS的民調,已經有高達43﹪的民眾對蔡政府的兩岸政策不滿,只有36﹪的人表示滿意,這顯然高於藍營支持者人口比例。而在國民黨的調查中,也有3成民眾認為兩岸關係變得緊張。隨著大陸的不斷施壓,兩岸緊張對立的氛圍不斷加強,越來越多民眾意識到兩岸關係向壞發展的趨勢,根據最新的民調,主張急統和緩獨的比例分別達到7﹪和16﹪,均是近年來的最高值。主張永遠維持現狀和急獨的比例則降為47﹪和15﹪,都是近年來的最低值。

這一趨勢反映了民眾的務實心理,越來越人意識到蔡政府執政後的兩岸緊張情勢,開始認真看待兩岸統一問題。

有意思的是,在台灣指標民調所做的調查中,南部泛綠鐵票區對蔡政府的滿意度,呈現出更大幅度的變動。大選時民進黨支持度超過6成,現在高屏地區不滿蔡總統的比例高達33﹪,雲嘉南地區高達39﹪。從這個角度看,不僅是中間選民對蔡政府不滿,連綠營支持者也有人表示失望。這些人之所以不滿,顯然與自己既有的經濟利益受到損失有關,過去兩岸關係良好,大陸對台有大量的農產品採購和契作,現在相關優惠措施大幅減少,當地農漁民可謂十分有感。

蔡總統多次強調維持現狀的決心,本希望拉攏中間選民,希望擴大支持者的基礎,讓廣大中間乃至淺藍選民能夠成為自己的支持者。中間選民的背離現象是蔡政府的警訊,她必須認真為九二共識解套。

Status Quo No Longer What Tsai Ing-wen Assumes It To Be

Status Quo No Longer What Tsai Ing-wen Assumes It To Be
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
September 20, 2016

Executive Summary: This newspaper's survey on cross-Strait relations, yielded results that were expected and unexpected. Not surprisingly, the current cross-Strait situation is close to what observers expected from Tsai Ing-wen before she was elected. Surprisingly however, Tsai Ing-wen believed that holding high the banner of "maintaining the status quo" would win over the US and Japan, appease the CCP, and calm in the dispute. The fact is, exchanges have chilled, tourism has fallen, and uncertainty has increased. Dissatisfaction with the government's decisions mas made Tsai Ing-wen's highly touted “maintaining the status quo” ever more  difficult to maintain.

Full Text Below:

Eight blue camp county chiefs and city mayors are touring the Mainland, hoping to restart cross-Strait exchanges. But the Presidential Office and the Executive Yuan insist that cross-Strait exchanges not be based on preconditions. Early this month, political appointee Chang Ching-sen said "Mainland tourists are those we most need as friends". The Executive Yuan denied that this was its official position. Those scoring the Tsai government's handling of cross-Strait relations are giving it a failing grade.

This newspaper's annual survey on cross-Strait relations found that people are unhappy with Tsai Ing-wen's mismanagement of cross-Strait relations. They worry about escalating bilateral tensions. The survey reflects peoples' opinions on cross-Strait relations. It also reflects the probable direction for cross-Strait relations in the near future.

According to this newspaper's past surveys, cross-Strait relations have inevitably experienced ups and downs. They have waxed and waned. They have been on the brink of crisis only in isolated areas. The latest survey however, found that only people to people relations remain stable and warm. All other areas are on the brink of crisis. In particular, the diplomatic peace has come to an abrupt end. Cross-Strait diplomatic war has for the first time crossed a red line. The poll on the cross-Strait status quo shows the diplomatic war in a genuine state of crisis. Can the government prevent the diplomatic war from spiraling out of control? That depends on the Tsai government's ability to respond.

The Hsiung Feng III missile fiasco revealed the lack of national security measures. The South China Sea arbitration fiasco revealed the lack of a national security overview. Can the Tsai government handle cross-Strait tensions? The public cannot help but wonder. People do not believe the Tsai government is capable of handling cross-Strait issues. They worry about the deterioration in cross-Strait trust. Yet strangely enough, they do not believe the two sides will go to war. But we would remind the Tsai Government. People are unconcerned about the outbreak of a cross-Strait war only because cross-Strait exchanges in recent years have had a moderating effect on relations. That goodwill must be maintained. One must not be emboldened by it. The cross-Strait status quo cannot be maintained out of thin air. Those who assume it can are misjudging the situation.

We would also remind national leaders to not idly wait for change, or bury their heads in the sand. That will only lead to the loss of any advantage. Before the election Tsai Ing-wen repeatedly pledged to "maintain the status quo". But people no longer believe the status quo can be maintained. The Tsai government has refused to state its position on the 1992 Consensus. It feigns confidence even though cross-Strait channels of communication have been cut. To the public, this is the main reason cross-Strait relations have changed. The DPP has long trumpeted the "China Threat Theory". But according to our poll, the number of people concerned about the Mainland being more powerful than Taiwan has reached a new low. This shows that DPP hostility toward the Mainland is a relic of the Cold War and must be thoroughly updated.

Another issue is even more worthy of the ruling government's attention. Public perception of Taiwan's future often differs from the perception of those in power. Sometimes it is diametrically opposed. Ma Ying-jeou championed "no reunification, no independence, and no use of force". Yet the green camp relentlessly characterized this as "pro-China". During his term, advocacy of Taiwan independence reached new highs. By contrast, Tsai Ing-wen's "maintaining the status quo" is perceived as "soft Taiwan independence". Yet only four months into her term, the percentage of people who advocate reunification has reached new highs. The Sunflower Student Movement showed that the public thought the Ma government had tilted too far to the Mainland. As a result, Taiwan independence sentiment reached new highs. Conversely, the public is unhappy with the Tsai government's cross-Strait policy, and concerned for its future. As a result, the number of people who advocate reunification has reached new highs. Clearly the public does not necessarily march to the drums of those in power.

Once the Tsai government came to power, the number of people who advocate reunification has increased. But so has the number of people who advocate Taiwan independence. It is often said that 'Circumstances are more powerful than individuals”.  Perhaps that is why many who once advocated immediate independence have slammed on the brakes and now advocate gradual independence. Their numbers too have reached new highs. In fact, the increase in pro-reunification and Taiwan independence sentiment may be backlashes to pressure from Beijing and soft Taiwan independence. The increase in the number of people at both ends of reunification vs. independence spectrum, draws from those in the middle who would "maintain the status quo indefinitely". In other words, Tsai Ing-wen's cross-Strait policy has led to an increasingly divided society detrimental to Taiwan's future.

This newspaper's survey on cross-Strait relations, yielded results that were expected and unexpected. Not surprisingly, the current cross-Strait situation is close to what observers expected from Tsai Ing-wen before she was elected. Surprisingly however, Tsai Ing-wen believed that holding high the banner of "maintaining the status quo" would win over the US and Japan, appease the CCP, and calm in the dispute. The fact is, exchanges have chilled, tourism has fallen, and uncertainty has increased. Dissatisfaction with the government's decisions mas made Tsai Ing-wen's highly touted “maintaining the status quo” ever more  difficult to maintain.

現狀,已非蔡英文以為的現狀
2016-09-20 聯合報

藍營八縣市首長赴大陸拚觀光,希望重啟兩岸正向交流,府院卻力斥兩岸交流不應預設前提。月初,政委張景森喊話「陸客是我們最需要交的朋友」,行政院也否認是「政院立場」。不過,對於蔡政府處理兩岸關係的表現,民眾則給了完全不及格的評價。

本報兩岸關係年度調查顯示,民眾非僅不滿意蔡英文處理兩岸關係的表現,更對兩岸之間升高的緊張態勢感到相當憂慮。這份調查,反映了台灣民眾對於當前兩岸關係的主客觀看法,也指出了兩岸關係在可預期未來的可能走向。

本報歷次調查,兩岸之間各領域的關係不免起伏,或弛或張,最多是部分領域升高到緊張邊緣。但這次調查,除民間關係仍屬穩定和緩外,各領域幾已全面性瀕臨緊張;尤其外交休兵結束,兩岸外交競爭更首度跨越警戒線,進入真正的緊張狀態。民調反映的兩岸「現狀」,顯然正快速遷移。如何防止兩岸之間出現螺旋式升高的激盪互撞,考驗著蔡政府的應對能力。

從雄三誤射暴露國安空虛、南海仲裁反映國安無措來看,蔡政府能否穩健應對兩岸緊張關係,不免令人擔心。耐人尋味的是,民眾雖不信任蔡政府處理兩岸問題的能力,也憂心兩岸關係惡化,卻又寧可相信兩岸不會爆發戰爭。就此而言,我們要提醒蔡政府:民眾不擔心兩岸爆發戰爭,其實是近年兩岸交流對雙方的關係具有緩和作用,這種善意必須維持,切不可以因此有恃無恐,以為兩岸現狀可以憑空維持下去,那恐將錯估形勢。

我們也要提醒,國家領導人不能只求以拖待變,或明知不安卻埋首沙堆逆勢而為,那只會使自己的優勢喪失。蔡英文選前一再保證要「維持兩岸現狀」,但越來越多民眾已不相信「現狀」能繼續維持。蔡政府迴避「九二共識」,卻又對另闢蹊徑維繫兩岸溝通裝作很有把握的樣子;在民眾心裡,卻明白這正是兩岸關係生變的主因。民進黨長期強調「中國威脅論」,但根據這次民調,不擔心大陸強盛不利台灣的民眾卻創下新高。這顯示,民進黨對中國的敵意其實還殘留在冷戰年代的思維,必須徹底更新。

更值得執政者警惕的是,民眾對台灣前途的看法,往往並不隨掌權者的主觀意志而移轉,有時反逆向而行。馬英九標舉「不統、不獨、不武」,屢被綠營質疑「親中」,其任內民眾主張「獨立」的聲音達到高點。相對的,蔡英文強調「維持現狀」,被認為是「柔性台獨」,但其上任才四個月,主張「統一」的民眾比率已創新高。如果說太陽花學運反映了民眾認為馬政府兩岸政策過度傾斜,使當年的台獨音量擴到最大;那麼,民眾對蔡政府兩岸政策的不滿與對未來的憂心,也讓主張統一的民眾比率攀上新高。可見,民意對掌權者的主觀意志並不買帳。

蔡政府上台後,不只統一的聲音增加,主張獨立的民眾比率也提高了。但或許看清「形勢比人強」,部分原急獨民眾踩煞車觀望,因此主獨者增加的比率主要集中在「緩獨」,並創新高。其實,統獨比率的升高還混雜著對於北京進逼與「柔性台獨」的反彈或呼應;必須注意的是,統獨兩端增加的民眾,正是從光譜中間的「永遠維持現狀」向兩端挪移。換言之,蔡英文的兩岸政策已導致社會益發分歧,這對台灣是不利的。

本報兩岸關係調查結果,有些在意料之中,有些則在意料之外。不意外的是,兩岸當前態勢,並未脫外界對蔡英文當選總統前的預期;意外的是,蔡英文似乎以為只要高舉「維持兩岸現狀」大旗,即可拉攏美日、安撫中共、平息內爭。事實卻是,不論就外在情勢或內部民意而言,冷卻的交流、緊縮的觀光、對前景不明的憂慮、對政府決策的不滿,蔡英文標榜的「現狀」如今都已難以維持了。

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Tsai Ing-wen Surrender to Deep Greens Would Spell Disaster for Taiwan

A Tsai Ing-wen Surrender to Deep Greens Would Spell Disaster for Taiwan 
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
September 19, 2016

Executive Summary: Deep greens provide Tsai Ing-wen's core support. Her policy path and personnel appointments must bow to these considerations. But surely one must draw the line somewhere. Can she hold the line on Lin Chuan?  This may show just how far President Tsai Ing-wen is willing to accommodate deep green forces. Peng is another matter. Allow us to be blunt. If Tsai Ing-wen bows before deep green forces and pro-green talking heads; if she replaces Peng, her government will experience an across the board crisis of confidence.

Full Text Below:

After many days of harsh attacks by green camp legislators, Central News Agency Chairman Chen Kuo-hsiang wrote a strongly worded letter to President Tsai, vowing to "fight to the bitter end". Nevertheless, the attacks against him continued to escalate. Before this wave of pressure began, the Chairman of the Grand Hotel resigned. Others appointments, including those for Radio Taiwan International, were also under attack. These officials supposedly enjoy tenure. They should not be affected by ruling party changes. But if they refuse to cooperate and step down, they will be besieged, smeared, and discredited. The rush for positions in the new government is on. Even the most rudimentary table manners have gone out the window. The spectacle is truly amazing

The latest wave of rumor-mongering and mud-slinging by Legislative Yuan fringe elements, intended to force certain people to resign, is even more vicious than what happened during the Chen era. In 2000, the DPP became the ruling party for the very first time. To ensure political stability, most civil service officials were temporarily retained, with the exception of political appointees. The gradual replacement of all personnel took one to two years. New political appointments were not made immediately. Continuity was not interrupted. People were indeed scrambling for official positions. But at least they had better table manners.

In particular, wave upon wave of deep green elders have been pressuring Tsai to replace Lin Chuan. To say that their deeper intentions are "abundantly clear" is a gross understatement. The Tsai government's First 100 Days report card is poor. But can all the blame be laid at Lin Chuan's feet? Cross-Strait relations are frozen. Our diplomatic options have been narrowed. Labor confrontation has intensified. Military personnel, civil servants, public school teachers, and tourism industry operators have all taken to the streets. Did all these groups take to the streets to protest the Lin Chuan cabinet? Spare us. Does Lin Chuan alone really have the wherewithal to do all this? Anyone with a modicum of common sense knows better. In today's cabinet personnel appointments, how many people can he really decide? Put bluntly, Lin Chuan's real function is to stop bullets aimed at Tsai Ing-wen.

Of course, Lin Chuan's expertise in finance and economics should be respected and his recommendations adhered to. Upon becoming Premier, his financial personnel appointments were made strictly on the basis of professional considerations, not political coloration. Therefore personnel appointments in the eight major government shareholder companies did not include green camp people.

But the “greening” of government shareholder companies was too slow for deep green forces. The ratio of greens was not high enough for them. Mega Holdings. Hua Nan Holdings, Taiwan Holdings, and other important financial holding companies all sought professionals. That insistence angered many lying in wait to snatch lucrative personnel appointments. The result is the strange phenomenon of both the green camp and the blue camp eager to force Lin Chuan to resign.

Even more absurdly, Mega Holdings' Mega Bank  violated the US Money Laundering Control Act. It was assessed heavy penalties by the US amounting to 180 million USD. This led to “Friend of Tsai” Mega Bank chairman's resignation in late March. The position remained unfilled for over four months. Many candidates vied for the position. After careful consideration by the Executive Yuan, Hua Nan Holdings CEO Hsu Kuang-hsi was appointed. He would concurrently serve as chairman of the board. But Hsu Kuang-hsi happened to be general manager during the incident in 2012. As a result he immediately became a target for green camp factions fighting over the post. The siege intensified, and spread all the way to Central Bank President Peng Huai-nan, merely because Hsu Kuang-hsi is a distant relative. This forced Hsu Kuang-shi to resign. Lin Chuan was also beaten black and blue over the matter.

Attacking Hsu Kuang-hsi was merely the pretext for an attack on Peng Huai-nan.

This son of a laborer boasts no dazzling academic credentials. He has no illustrious family background. This central bank president is a rarity among his peers the world over. He is charged with managing 9 trillion NT in assets. His personal account contains less than 700 million NT. He served under the Chen government and the Ma government, gaining trust and respect. Tsai even wanted him as her vice presidential running mate. Recently Global Finance magazine awarded him the only 13A rated central bank president in the world. Yet deep greens have locked on to this key position. They intend to use the Mega Holding political storm, to battle Peng Huai-nan and demand that he step down.

What can one say when the scramble for positions has descended to this level?

Deep greens provide Tsai Ing-wen's core support. Her policy path and personnel appointments must bow to these considerations. But surely one must draw the line somewhere. Can she hold the line on Lin Chuan?  This may show just how far President Tsai Ing-wen is willing to accommodate deep green forces. Peng is another matter. Allow us to be blunt. If Tsai Ing-wen bows before deep green forces and pro-green talking heads; if she replaces Peng, her government will experience an across the board crisis of confidence.

A leader who looks the other way when deep greens snatch political resources is of course, despicable. But a leader who allows deep green forces to direct the government, spells disaster for Taiwan.

蔡英文若向深綠低頭,台灣災難!
2016/9/19 中國時報

在連日遭綠營立委猛批後,中央通訊社董事長陳國祥日前發出公開信給蔡英文總統,措詞強硬表示「奮戰到底」!而他後續所承受的攻擊還在擴大當中。在此之前的逼退行動中,圓山飯店董事長已辭職,其他如中央廣播電台等相關人事也陷入炮火之中,這些職務本享有任期保障,不應受政黨輪替影響,但他們只要不配合讓位,就會陷入抹黑、放話、圍剿的重圍中,搶位子搶成這般急切,連最起碼的吃相都不顧了,還真是令人嘆為觀止!

講實在話,最近這一波波透過立委外圍放話、羞辱等手段,達到逼退特定人士去職的手法,較之當年的扁朝時代還要粗暴。2000年第一次政黨輪替,為維持政局穩定,除了主要政務官替換外,多數事務官乃至公營行庫人事都暫時不動,全部人事的逐步換血至少花了1、2年以上,許多政務推動也就不致於出現立即歸零或嚴重脫節的現象,那時節不是沒有出現搶位子現象,但最起碼吃相沒有這次這麼難看。

特別是最近深綠大老一波波對小英施壓,明示要撤換林全的喊話,其背後的深層用心,用「昭然若揭」來形容恐怕還是客氣了!今天小英政府百日新政的成績單不佳,帳能夠全算在林全頭上嗎?從兩岸瞬間急凍,外交空間日窄,勞資對立加劇,軍公教、觀光業者陸續上街頭,乃至後面無數還要上街抗議的團體,全都是衝著林全內閣而來的嗎?別逗了!林全一人哪來這麼大能耐?稍具政治常識的人都清楚,當今內閣人事,他能真正決定幾個人?又能真正叫得動幾個人?講得再直白一點,今天林全最大的功用,或許就只是替蔡英文擋子彈吧!

當然,林全在他專長的財經領域,應該還是有所主導與堅持的。他接任閣揆之後對金融人事,依舊相當堅持以專業為首要考量,不以顏色用人,因而八大公股行庫的人事布局並未出現綠營色彩人士。

但也因為公股法人代表綠化速度太慢,且綠化比例不高,像是兆豐金、華南金、台灣金等重要金控公司高層,林全都希望能找專業人士,也就是這樣的堅持,讓無數躲在背後準備搶食肥缺的人氣憤難平,也就出現綠營比藍營還要急著想推林全下台的奇特現象!

更誇張的是,兆豐金控旗下兆豐銀行因違反美國《防制洗錢法》,遭美國重罰1.8億美元,導致兆豐金、兆豐銀董事長蔡友才在3月底請辭,這個懸缺逾4個月的金控董座人選,角逐者甚多。政院經多方考慮後,本來拍板由華南金董座徐光曦出任,同時兼掌兆豐銀董事長。但由於徐光曦在2012年案發時恰好就是總經理,竟立即成了綠營相關派系爭食者的切入點,不僅擴大圍剿撻伐,甚至一路延燒到央行總裁彭淮南,只是因為徐光曦為央行總裁彭淮南的遠親,逼得徐光曦請辭不說,林全同樣也為此被打得滿頭包。

如果打徐光曦算是「項莊舞劍,志在沛公」,那麼所謂「沛公」指的就是彭淮南了!

這位出身工友之子,沒有亮眼的學歷、顯赫的家世,是全球少數出身基層的央行總裁,掌管9兆資產,個人存款不到700萬,歷經扁政府與馬政府,都獲得高度信任與尊崇,小英還曾想請他擔任副手!日前才在《全球金融雜誌》(Global Finance)最新公布的全球央行總裁評比中,獲得全球唯一13A級央行總裁,如今深綠陣營竟鎖定央行總裁這個大位,意圖藉著兆豐銀政治風暴,展開「倒彭大作戰」,費盡全力要把彭淮南給拉下台!

搶位子搶到這般田地,夫復何言!

可以理解,深綠是蔡英文的政治基本盤,她的施政方向與人事布局必須要買這些人的帳,但終究不能沒有任何底線!林全究竟挺不挺得住,或許是觀察蔡英文總統與深綠之間最終如何博弈與妥協的指標。但彭淮南可是另一回事,容在這裡不客氣地說,如果蔡英文最終竟不惜向深綠勢力及親綠名嘴低頭,為這個理由撤換了彭淮南,那麼她的治理危機勢將全面爆發!

一個放任深綠勢力搶食政治資源的領導者,固然讓人不齒,但若弄到讓深綠勢力主導,那就真的是台灣的災難了!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Government Wants Alibaba, But Refuses to Utter Open Sesame

The Government Wants Alibaba, But Refuses to Utter Open Sesame
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
September 14, 2016

Executive Summary: When Ko Wen-je's approval ratings plummeted, he used the Twin Cities Forum as a stage for cross-Strait political theater. He attempted to salvage his reputation by resuming construction on the Taipei Dome. By contrast, when Tsai Ing-wen's approval ratings plummeted, placing her on the critical list, Chen Shui-bian's dark shadow loomed large. If Tsai Ing-wen is seeking a way out in cross-Straits relations, she need not emulate Chen Shui-bian or Ko Wen-je. But she must be wise enough to know the difference between the two.

Full Text Below:

President Tsai has been in office a mere 100 days, but her approval ratings are already in the cellar. Taiwan independence forces are holding high the "core constituency" banner, demanding that the empress abdicate. In response, the Tsai government has made a number of subtle changes in its personnel appointments. It originally boasted that presidential appointments for SOEs and government shareholder corporations would be made on the basis of professional qualifications. Now however, personnel appointments are being made on the basis of “green, not expert”. How much of this is belated nepotism and political appeasement? Will appointees responsible for cross-Strait relations change government policy? That is a matter of concern.

Since the Democratic Progressive Party returned to power, it has busied itself purging the blue camp. It is too preoccupied with its vendetta to take to the streets. As a result, its cross-Strait agenda has lain dormant. It has ignored the standoff over the 1992 Consensus. It is unwilling to rub the CCP tiger the wrong way. It is unwilling to confront the slings and arrows of the Taiwan independence movement. It assumes that if it can "maintain the status quo", it will not lose points. President Tsai met with reporters recently after 100 days in office. In theory, she has racked up a number of achievements. But in cross-Strait relations, "maintaining the status quo" is the only thing that matters. In her inaugural address she insisted she was doing everything in her power to narrow the distance between the two sides and maintain stable cross-Strait relations. She clearly does not consider cross-Strait policy a matter of urgency. She is either unable or unwilling to provide a “clever response” explaining the relationship between Taiwan and the Mainland.

Meanwhile Mainland students, Mainland tourists, and milkfish sales have already exerted an economic impact. The political repercussions of the ICAO Assembly and the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting have already been felt. The cross-Strait agenda continues to buffet Taiwan head on. What is the nature of the relationship between the two sides? Tsai Ing-wen refuses to say. She insists she has "maintained the status quo". In fact, the status quo has already changed. Tsai Ing-wen must respond by uttering the magic password.

Consider the current situation. Tsai Ing-wen seems to think she does not need to say "Open Sesame". She seems to thinks that as long as she can locate Alibaba, she can open the door to the treasure trove. Either that, or Taiwan independence forces suspect that behind the door lies a bottomless pit, and that uttering "Open Sesame" will bind them hand and foot. Tsai Ing-wen hopes that Alibaba can remain silent, and that she can open the door using ventriloquism.

Taiwan independence forces are organizing a group that will demand Taiwan's membership in the United Nations. The word is that Tien Hung-mao, Chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation, and James Soong, will be special envoys to the APEC leaders' meeting in Peru. Taiwan independence forces have praised the move. Beijing's only response has been that cross-Strait issues are not about individuals, they are about political principles. Taiwan independence forces have objected to Tien and Soong. For the moment the Mainland has refrained from responding. Taiwan watchers on the Mainland suspect that the entire enterprise will be a case of “bailing water with a sieve”.

Indeed, Tien Hung-mao's office still features a photograph of him standing next to Jiang Zemin. The memory of James Soong and Hu Jintao issuing a joint communique affirming the 1992 Consensus remains fresh. Tsai Ing-wen's version of the Arabian Nights forbids the uttering of "Open Sesame". Will the appointment of two men really open the door to the treasure trove?

Tien Hung-mao was blunt. He told Tsai Ying-wen that if she refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus, cross-Strait communication channels would be interrupted. Now however, he says the other side has yet to speak, therefore "there is still room for hope". Tien Hung-mao cannot possibly be that oblivious. Relations between the two sides may not hinge solely on the term "1992 Consensus". But they do hinge on its core meaning. Does Tien Hung-mao have any suggestions? Or is he merely dragging his feet, hoping that something will change? Only time will tell.

The biggest concern observers have is the Tsai government's domestic gaffes. One group after another has taken to the streets. The economy shows no improvement. Cross-Strait relations remain deadlocked. If approval ratings continue to plummet, Beijing will be reluctant to offer further concessions. Taiwan independence forces are demanding that the empress abdicate. Will Tsai Ing-wen follow in Chen Shui-bian's footsteps?

In fact, the Tsai government has used "reform" and "justice" as pretexts to expand its powers. Its flip-flops on the vice president of the Judicial Yuan nomination reveals their connection to special interests. Delays in cross-Strait personnel appointments have ended with renewed attempts to gain entry to the United Nations. This reveals their connection to Taiwan independence. Political pressure or political collusion never ends. Tsai Ing-wen's pragmatic "communicate, listen, resolve" approach, differs from Chen Shui-bian's reckless "confront, compromise, progress" approach. The pain that Chen Shui-bian's confrontational approach inflicted lingers. Externally, Washington and Beijing are co-managing the Taiwan Strait. Internally, the public remains on tenterhooks. Will objective conditions change and favor Tsai Ing-wen and Taiwan independence forces? That remains their biggest challenge.

When Ko Wen-je's approval ratings plummeted, he used the Twin Cities Forum as a stage for cross-Strait political theater. He attempted to salvage his reputation by resuming construction on the Taipei Dome. By contrast, when Tsai Ing-wen's approval ratings plummeted, placing her on the critical list, Chen Shui-bian's dark shadow loomed large. If Tsai Ing-wen is seeking a way out in cross-Straits relations, she need not emulate Chen Shui-bian or Ko Wen-je. But she must be wise enough to know the difference between the two.

只要阿里巴巴,不要「芝麻開門」?
2016-09-14 聯合報

蔡總統執政百日民調瀕危,獨派高舉「核心選民」旗幟逼宮日甚,蔡政府人事遂出現微妙調整趨勢。如果說,先前標榜專業考量的國營事業與公股金融人事加快「綠化」腳步,多少還有些遲來的分封、安撫之意;那麼,兩岸關係領域的人事動態所反映的路線的意義與政策效應,更值得關注。

民進黨執政後,因忙於政治清算與追殺藍營,疲於應付排隊準備上街的抗爭,因而暫擱兩岸議程,冷對兩岸答卷,既不願捋中共虎鬚,也不想攖獨派鋒鏑,以為只要拖著「維持現狀」不失分即可。因此,蔡總統在執政百日前與記者茶敘時,雖然縷述各領域抽象政績,涉及兩岸議題其實只有一句話──重申「維持現狀」之重要。其重點,在強調就職演說已竭盡所能拉近雙方立場,並力圖維持兩岸關係穩定。顯然,兩岸政策非其當急之務,兩岸定位答卷則想不出「聰明回答」或根本不想答。

然而,從陸生、陸客到虱目魚契作的經濟效應已現,從國際民航組織大會到亞太經合會經濟領袖會議的政治效應則山雨欲來,兩岸議程終究撲面而至,兩岸答卷闕文仍待填補。蔡英文稱「維持現狀」,事實上,變動的「現狀」實已非原狀,催促著蔡英文提出適當的通關密語。

觀察目前情況,蔡英文似乎相信不必喊「芝麻開門」,只要找到「阿里巴巴」,就能打開藏寶山洞的石門。或者,由於獨派強烈質疑石門後面是個直墜深淵的無底洞,而「芝麻開門」更是一道自縛手腳的緊箍咒,蔡英文只好寄望阿里巴巴能不發出聲,只要運用腹語即可啟門。

就在獨派的台灣「入聯宣達團」啟程前夕,陸續傳出田弘茂接海基會董事長、及宋楚瑜將擔任特使出席祕魯APEC領袖會議的消息。對於前者,獨派盛讚是一手好棋;北京卻只回應,兩岸問題關鍵不在人,而在政治基礎。對於後者,則是獨派頗有雜音,而陸方暫不接腔,涉台學者則質疑恐將「竹籃打水」一場空。

確實,田弘茂辦公室裡還掛著與江澤民合照的相片,宋楚瑜與胡錦濤開宗明義確認「九二共識」的會談公報也記憶猶在;但蔡英文版的「一千零一夜」,有可能不喊「芝麻開門」,僅靠這兩人之任命即直入寶山嗎?

田弘茂曾直言蔡英文不接受「九二共識」,兩岸溝通機制就會中斷;現在卻說對岸還沒講話,「希望還有空間」。田弘茂或不致完全昧於現實,兩岸迂迴空間也可能不全在「九二共識」四字,而在如何表述其核心意涵;那麼,田弘茂錦囊中是否有何妙計,或只是以拖待變,各方拭目以待。

如今外界最大的憂慮是,蔡政府內政頻頻凸槌,凱道上輪流抗爭,經濟無法改善,兩岸難有出路。如果民調持續墜底,北京也不願釋出更大善意,在獨派頻頻逼宮下,蔡英文會不會走上陳水扁的老路?

事實上,從蔡政府以「改革」和「正義」為名踰法擴權的諸多舉措,到司法院正副院長提名反覆,皆可看到其身後特定團體的影武者身姿;而延宕的兩岸人事終告底定及台灣入聯的運動再起,也顯示獨派的試探、施壓或雙簧演出未曾停止。然而,蔡英文「溝通、傾聽、解決」的務實性格,和陳水扁「衝突、妥協、進步」的莽撞作風,畢竟有別。陳水扁衝撞之痛記憶猶存,外有美中共管台海,內有民眾心生警惕,客觀環境是否隨蔡及獨派主觀意志而移轉,恐怕才是最大的挑戰。

遭逢民調雪崩威脅的柯文哲,藉著雙城論壇攀上兩岸關係舞台,隨即又主動拆除大巨蛋解約引信,企圖挽救頹危的聲望。反觀民調從高峰跌至死亡交叉邊緣的蔡英文,在躊躇瞻顧之間,陳水扁的陰影威脅也越來越大。其實,要打開兩岸出路,蔡英文不必取法柯文哲或陳水扁,但她絕對必須有比兩人更清明的心智。