Hu Siew Summit: Moving Towards Win/Win Through Change
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 7, 2008
Changes in the world's strategic scene have created pitfalls for the unwary. During the ROC Presidential Election, Vincent Siew's "Cross-Strait Common Market" was criticized mercilessly. Today, Vice President elect Vincent Siew, in his capacity as Chairman of the Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation Chairman, will attend the Boao Forum for Asia being held this weekend on Hainan Island. With with the eyes of the world upon him, he may take part in a "Hu Siew Summit."
The theme of the Boao Forum this year is "Green Asia, Moving towards Win-Win through Change." This theme suggests the possibility of exciting developments. Vice President elect Vincent Siew is willing to attend. The Beijing authorities have welcomed him. What is this, if not an opportunity to "move towards win-win through change?"
The two sides are undergoing major internal changes. These include how they govern their respective jurisdictions and how to cope with change, including changes in cross-strait policy. Mainland China's three decades of liberalization and reform need no comment. Mainland China is returning to the grass roots and the rule of law. It may even be testing the waters of democracy. Objectively speaking, Hu Jintao's handling of the mainland's "peaceful rise" has been remarkably skillful. So have Beijing's handling of changes in cross-strait policy. As soon as Ma and Siew were elected, Hu Jintao reaffirmed the 1992 Consensus and One China/Different Interpretations, without being asked. Today he has given the Hu/Siew Summit a boost. This is a sign of change and offers the promise of a win-win future.
Taiwan's changes are even more apparent. The election victory of the Ma/Siew ticket reflects a major backlash against a decade of "creeping independence" and Closed Door economic policies. The election foretells a major change in governing style and cross-strait policy. This is both heart-breaking and inspiring. It is heart-breaking because Taiwan wasted a decade of precious time. It is inspiring because it eventually led to introspection and change. Ten years of wasted time is a heavy price to pay for such a lesson. That is why it has left such a deep impression. This Legislative Elections and the Presidential Election have lent these changes greater legitimacy.
This change in cross-strait relations is the result of six decades of trial and error, beginning with the lifting of martial law 20 years ago. A heavy price has been paid in blood, sweat, and tears. Now, as a result of the Legislative Elections and Presidential Election, the Taipei side is returning to the "Path of the Republic of China." The Beijing side, meanwhile, has reaffirmed the "One China, Different Interpretations" stance. This opportunity was hard won. With the Boao Forum, the two sides now have an unprecedented platform. Let's hope the two sides do not retreat from their determination to change. Let's hope they do not give up on their efforts to establish a win/win scenario.
Let us hope that when Hu Jintao and Vincent Siew meet at the Boao Forum, they can establish a New Hu/Hsiao Era, or even a 2008 Cross-Strait Consensus. Hu and Siew are the ideal candidates to usher in this New Era. Hu Jintao has managed the mainland's "peaceful rise" with a steady hand. He has made room for One China, Different Interpretations. This offers the prospect of a cross-strait opening on a grand scale. In 2001 Vincent Siew established his Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation. Like Don Quixote, he may have been the first person of his prominence to establish a cross-strait platform. Now Siew is Vice President elect, and determined to promote a win-win cross-strait scenario. Seven years ago, who knew Vincent Siew would be in the catbird seat today? Who knew his foundation would become to the key that would open cross-strait relations? Heaven works in mysterious ways.
We believe Hu and Siew are capable of acting as agents of cross-strait change. We believe they are credible figures capable of promoting a win/win cross-strait scenario. Therefore, even though the two sides may be tentative about the current Boao Forum, we hope they will not waste this opportunity to make tectonic changes. They ought to make a concerted effort to create a "2008 Cross-Strait Consensus."
As we previously mentioned, both Taipei and Beijing have changed their cross-strait policies. These changes are rooted in the changes each side has made in its style of governance. Beijing's theme is "peaceful rise" and a return to the grass roots. Taipei's theme is "peaceful coexistence" and democracy. Taipei cannot adopt a Taiwan independence policy, a Closed Door economic policy, or a policy that "betrays Taiwan" by "immediate reunification." Beijing cannot adopt a "reunification by force" policy. Nor can it refuse to maintain the status quo, which is One China, Different Interpretations. This constitutes change and a win/win scenario.
For Hu Jintao and Vincent Siew, the theme for the Boao Forum this year ought to be "Cross-Strait Surprises leading to Win/Win" We look forward to Vincent Siew returning to Boao the same time next year.
2008.04.07 02:50 am