How to Maintain the Status Quo for 100 Years
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 4, 2007
One of the principle reasons the Taiwan independence movement still has room to maneuveur, is that the Beijing authorities have never been willing to give the "Republic of China" its proper due. If Beijing refuses to give the Republic of China its proper due, some people on Taiwan will conclude that since the "Republic of China" doesn't get any respect from Beijing, one might as well give Taiwan independence a chance.
The "Plebiscite to Join the UN" is an example. The motive for pushing the "Plebiscite to Join the UN" is not really to champion Taiwan's membership in the United Nations. The real motive is to mock the Republic of China for being expelled from the United Nations. The Taiwan independence movement likes to stress how badly the Republic of China has been mistreated by "China." But it is unable to offer a convincing argument that a "Republic of Taiwan" would fare any better.
The Taiwan independence movement "reasons" that since the Republic of China doesn't get any respect from Beijing, one might as well go for Taiwan independence.
The above arguments are by now general knowledge. If Beijing wants to resolve the cross-straits deadlock, if Beijing is unwilling to see Taiwan independence continue to develop, if it wants to undergo radical reform, it must give the Republic of China its due and room for development. Actually, in recent years the Beijing authorities have made significant concessions in this direction. What is needed is greater clarity and explicitness.
The Beijing authorities' current position is: First, maintaining the the status quo. Second, publicly stressing that although the two sides of the strait are not yet unified, both the mainland and Taiwan are part of One China. This is the cross-straits status quo. This position, that the two sides of the strait are not yet unified, is acceptable and sustainable. That being the case, why can't Beijing state clearly that the cross-straits status quo is One Divided China? Third, Beijing says the cross-straits status quo is not merely our (Beijing's) viewpoint, it is also Taiwan's current legal status. That being the case, why can't Beijing state clearly that it acknowledges the "ROC's current constitution and laws?" Fourth, the Beijing authorities no longer say that "Taiwan is a part of China." Instead they say that "The mainland and Taiwan are both part of China." That being the case, why not state clearly that Beijing acknowledges that "One China" is a third concept, senior to both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China? Why not state that it accepts the "One China/Big Roof Theory?" To sum up, Beijing has already attempted to redefine the "Republic of China." Maintaining the status quo amounts to preserving the Republic of China. Our position is: Why not clarify matters by making them more explicit? Why not state matters even more clearly?
The Taiwan independence movement's arguments and Beijing's One China arguments have moved in unexpected directions in recent years. The Taiwan independence movement's argument has suddenly retreated from "Taiwan is already independent" to "Taiwan is not yet independent, and must rectify its name, author a new constitution, and establish a Nation of Taiwan." It has changed from "Taiwan independence is the status quo" to "Taiwan independence is the future." By contrast, Beijing's "One China" argument used to stress ensuring the reunification of a "Future One China." That has now changed to "Although the two sides are not yet unified, they remain part of One China." It has changed its "future unification" to "Although the two sides are not yet unified, they remain part of One China." The Taiwan independence movement now rejects the status quo, and insists on destroying the Republic of China. Beijing, on the other hand, is maintaining the status quo. In fact it has already accepted the status quo in which the Republic of China is "Not yet unified or refuses to be unified."
In recent years the Beijing authorities' cross-straits argument has undergone three major adjustments: First, maintaining the status quo, which implies "accepting the Republic of China." Second, no longer demanding unification, accepting a cross-straits status quo that is not yet unified; Third, "One China" has changed from future tense to present tense. Also "One China is the People's Republic of China" has changed to the "Big Roof Theory" in which "Both the mainland and Taiwan are part of One China." Beijing's new cross-straits argument has already been integrated into a "One China, Different Interpretations" framework. It merely needs further clarification and explicitness. It merely needs to be stated more clearly.
The knot can only be untied by the person who tied it. If Beijing can correctly define the "Republic of China," the Taiwan independence movement's room to maneuveur will be reduced accordingly. Last week in Hong Kong Tang Shu-bei said, "So long as both sides insist on One China, 100 years is not too long to wait to reunify." Conversely, If one can refrain from unifying within 100 years, or if unifying within 100 years is disadvantageous to mainland China, then why not accept the "One China, Different Interpretations" approach to maintaining the status quo?
2007.12.04 03:39 am
北 京當局相關論述的現行架構是：一、以「維持現狀」為核心主軸；二、公開指出「儘管兩岸尚未統一，但大陸與台灣同屬一個中國的事實從未改變」，又稱：「這就 是兩岸關係的現狀」。此一論述是在指出：「兩岸尚未統一的現狀」可以接受，也可以維持。然則，北京為何不能更清楚地指出可以接受「兩岸分裂分治的現狀」？ 三、北京又謂：「（兩岸關係的現狀）不僅是我們（北京）的立場，也見之於台灣現有的規定與文件……。」然則，北京為何不直接明說「見之台灣現行之憲法及法 律」？四、北京當局如今已罕言「台灣是中國的一部分」，而改謂「大陸與台灣同屬一個中國」；則何不明說，北京接受「一個中國」為超越「中華人民共和國」及 「中華民國」的「第三概念」；亦即接受「一個中國」為「屋頂理論」？綜上所論，可知中共已在嘗試將「中華民國」重新定位；所謂「維持現狀」，其實就是「維 持中華民國」。我們的主張則是：何不更加清晰化與名目化，何不乾脆把話說得更清楚一些？
「台獨論述」與北京的「一中論述」，近年出現反向 動線的弔詭發展。「台獨論述」從「台灣現狀已經獨立」，突然倒車轉入「台灣現狀尚未獨立，必須正名制憲，另建台灣國」；亦即從「現狀已經台獨」，變成「未 來台獨」。相對而言，北京的「一中論述」，過去強調「必『將』統一」的「未來一中」；如今則已經變成「儘管尚未統一，仍是一個中國」；亦即從「未來統 一」，變成了「現狀雖未統一，仍可視為一中」。兩者之間的反向動線是：台獨否定「現狀」，要毀滅中華民國；北京則維持現狀，其實已經接受了中華民國「尚未 統一，或拒不統一」的「現狀」。
北京當局近年來的兩岸論述已有三大調整：一、維持現狀，當然也就存有「接受中華民國」的含義；二、不再催 迫統一，接受了「兩岸儘管尚未統一」的現狀；三、「一個中國」從「未來式」變成「現在式」；也從「一個中國就是中華人民共和國」，變成「大陸與台灣同屬一 個中國」的「屋頂理論」。中共的這套兩岸新論述其實已見「一中各表」的完整架構，問題只在仍可進一步清晰化、名目化，必須把話說得更清楚一些。
解 鈴還須繫鈴人。北京若能對「中華民國」作出正確定位，台獨的操作空間必將相對減縮。唐樹備上周在香港說：「只要堅持一個中國，一百年不統一也可以！」然 而，換個角度來說：「若能一百年不統一，或若百年內統一對中國大陸不利，則倘不明言接受『一中各表』，將如何維持一百年的現狀？」