The Ways of Heaven are Hard to Decipher: The DPP made the Hu Siew Summit Possible
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 17, 2008
The DPP made the Hu Hsiao Summit possible. That is not an exaggeration.
In 2000, the Lien/Siew ticket was cheated out of its election victory. Lien and Siew each went their own way. In 2001, Siew organized the Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation. He served one term as Chen Shui-bian's Chief Economic Adviser. In 2005, Lien Chan, as Chairman of the Kuomintang, visited the mainland and established a KMT/CCP dialog mechanism. For several years, Lien and Siew went their own way, and shared little ground in common.
Who could have predicted that in 2008 Ma Ying-jeou would seek out Vincent Siew as his running mate? That the Ma/Siew ticket would score a resounding victory? That the mutual trust created between the KMT and CCP by Lien Chan's dialogue mechanism, in conjunction with Vincent Siew's cross-strait foundation, would enable the attention-grabbing Hu/Siew Summit to take shape, virtually overnight? Lien Chan's dialog mechanism, Vincent Siew's cross-strait foundation, and Ma's impending presidency were three separate paths. Yet they converged almost instantly. They became a "one-two punch." They played out a chapter of history that took the world by surprise.
The course of history is tortuous. Had the KMT not been out of power for eight years, would Lien Chan have been able to visit the mainland? Had the DPP not resorted to political trickery to remain in power in 2004, would Lien Chan's visit the mainland have acquired so much legitimacy with the public on Taiwan? Had the KMT not been out of power, would Vincent Siew have been "reduced" to lobbyist for a cross-strait common market? Could the KMT and the CCP have established such a well-oiled dialogue mechanism? Would party officials at the highest levels have enjoyed the opportunity for face-to-face interaction? Had the DPP not lost the hearts and minds of the people, would Ma Ying-jeou and his new cross-strait policy have met with the approval of so many voters? Without all these precedents, how could the Hu Siew Summit have taken place? How could the "Four Hopes" and "Four Constants" have made their debut?
The price paid, eight years in the political wilderness, was high. But the rewards have been commensurate. First. Events have confirmed that the path of Taiwan independence and the DPP's Closed Door Policy is a dead end. Maintaining the status quo and advocating cross-strait exchange can no longer be falsely equated with "betraying Taiwan." The Ma/Siew ticket's election victory has confirmed the legitimacy of cross-strait links. Second. The KMT and CCP party hierarchies have made good use of this eight year window of opportunity. After rare personal contacts and heartfelt exchanges, they have established a considerable degree of mutual trust. Third. The KMT was able to establish close contacts with the CCP only because it was out of power. Now that the KMT is again the ruling party, bilateral contacts can immediately and seamlessly be raised to the level of "ruling party to ruling party" contacts.
Without eight years of accumulated experience, today's scenario would have been impossible. Eight years of opposition KMT interaction with the CCP will enable the ruling KMT to interact smoothly and constructively with the CCP. Conversely, eight years of Democratic Progressive Party misrule has thoroughly discredited Taiwan independence and the DPP's Closed Door Policy. Eight years of DPP misrule has transformed the DPP into a reluctant but persuasive witness on behalf of the KMT's new cross-strait policy. For cross-strait relations, the past eight years have been a blessing in disguise.
As Beijing sees it, Taiwan independence momentum has been building over the past eight years. The Rectification of Names and Authoring of a New Constitution campaigns, the Plebiscite to Join the UN, and efforts to stuff the Republic of China down the Memory Hole, have forced Beijing to look more favorably on "maintaining the status quo." A Bush/Hu hotline exchange affirmed the 1992 Consensus and One China, Different Interpretations, and that "opposing independence had higher priority than promoting reunification." Meanwhile on Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian's misrule and malfeasance, his campaigns to purge Chiang's legacy, insult Chiang's memory, demolish Chiang's name plaques, demagogue the 228 Incident, Rectify Names and Author of a New Constitution, hold Plebiscites to Join the UN, have infuriated the public, undermined the legitimacy of Taiwan independence, and provoked doubts about the DPP's Closed Door policy.
The two sides of the Taiwan Strait have taken note of two entirely opposite trends. The mainland authorities have noted the Taiwan independence movement's increased momentum. The public on Taiwan has noted the Taiwan independence movement's diminished credibility. Amidst these opposing trends, the KMT and the CCP have won over public opinion. The public has endorsed the KMT's policy of open exchanges. Ma Ying-jeou, as spokesman for a new cross-strait policy, emerged victorious in the presidential election. Who created this situation? Who but the DPP? Who but Chen Shui-bian?
After an eight-year War of Resistance against the DPP, the opposition KMT is again the ruling party. The KMT knows what it means to lose power. The CCP should take the KMT's experience to heart. It should remember that the people are the masters and government authority originates with them. After eight years of interaction, the leadership on both sides of the strait must behave not like rivals jockeying for advantage, but like stakeholders promoting mutual advantage. After all, the two sides have a common cause -- the welfare of the people. They may be opponents, but they are also allies. This precious eight year legacy is something that both sides should cherish and maintain.
As for the DPP, its eight years in power created the conditions that made the Hu Hsiao Summit a possibility and a reality. It makes no difference that it was the farthest thing from the DPP's intention. The indisputable fact is the DPP made it all possible.
2008.04.17 02:43 am