Monday, November 3, 2008

The Chiang/Chen Meeting in Taipei: Peace and Prosperity

The Chiang/Chen Meeting in Taipei: Peace and Prosperity
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 3, 2008

Today ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin led a delegation to Taiwan. This constitutes a major milestone during 60 years of cross-Strait relations.

Anyone focused exclusively on the disturbances in the streets during Chen Yunlin's visit will not see the forest for the trees. On the other hand, anyone who views events through a longer lens, through 60 years of history, will appreciate the historical significance of the Chiang/Chen Meeting in Taipei.

Last Thursday in Beijing, Chen Yunlin said that as the Chairman of the State Council for Taiwan Affairs and the Chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Strait, he "found himself situated at critical point in history and reality." Therefore he hoped he could contribute something to cross-Strait relations. Chen Yunlin was born in 1941. That means he was once a Republic of China citizen. He joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1961, the year the Cultural Revolution was launched. During last Thursday's press conference, he said that in preparation for his visit to Taiwan, he devoted considerable energy to learning the Minnan dialect. He said he regretted not being able to visit central and southern Taiwan. He became so choked with emotion he could no longer speak. His reaction was the result of 60 years of setbacks. Today Chen Yunlin stands at the crossroads of his personal history and reality.

But let's look beyond Chen Yunlin individually, and examine matters from a higher perspective. Sixty years of history and reality have led us to today. The two sides became separated because China's poverty and weakness led to chaos. Once the two sides were separated, in 1949, each side adopted a different philosophy and approach in its attempt to solve the problem of poverty and weakness. The Mainland was led by Mao Zedong. Deng Xiaoping's reforms and liberalization in the late 70's, reversed Mao's direction. Without them the Mainland would still be the victim of man-made disasters caused by Mao Zedong and the Gang of Four. Chiang Ching-kuo lifted martial law and established exchanges with the mainland. Without these changes, Taiwan would have been strangled long ago, both politically and economically. That is why both the Mainland and Taiwan experienced breakthroughs in their political and economic development. That is why cross-Strait relations have transcended obsolete catechisms such as "Liberate Taiwan" or "Counterattack the Mainland." That is why Chen Yunlin, who joined the Chinese Communist Party during the Cultural Revolution, can now arrive on Taiwan as a special envoy and engage in peaceful consultations.

Even if one shrinks one's timeframe to the past 20 years, to the lifting of martial law on Taiwan, the convergence of history and reality is mind-boggling. In 1993, Koo Chen-fu met with Wang Daohan in Singapore. The players on Taiwan were Lee Teng-hui and Koo Chen-fu. On the Mainland they were Jiang Zemin and Wang Daohan. In 1999, a Second Koo-Wang Talk was planned for Taipei, but negotiations broke down. This was followed by by the eight year long embarrassment known as Chen Shui-bian. Nine years later, on May 20, cross-Strait exchanges were restored. The Mainland's players are Hu Jintao and Chen Yunlin. Taiwan's players are Ma Ying-jeou and Chiang Pin-kung. Times have changed. The nine year hiatus seemed to put history on hold. But because the mountain wouldn't come to Mohammed, Mohammed went to the mountain. And the currents of history are flowing again.

The Chiang/Chen Meeting in Taipei is a 60 year historical landmark, Cross-Strait interaction is an invisible but perceptible thread. It represents the people's longing for peace. The Chinese Mainland endured class struggle under Mao Zedong and the Gang of Four. Deng Xiaoping's reforms and liberalization were responses to the people's hopes and dreams. Deng's reforms and liberalization changed the relationship between the government and the political opposition on the Chinese Mainland. It changed the theme of cross-Strait relations to a longing for peace. Otherwise, today's regime in Beijing would be little different from the regime in Pyongyang. Meanwhile, the lifting of martial law on Taiwan made the will of the public abundantly clear. Cross-Strait relations became a subject of public debate. Lee Teng-hui's flip-flopping opportunism, and Chen Shui-bian's self-deceptive "Rectification of Names and Authoring of a New Constitution," can be seen as a painful process Taiwan's cross-Strait policy had to undergo. Agreement is not yet complete, but mainstream public opinion on Taiwan demands peace. Demand for peace was a fundamental force behind the 2008 election. In other words, As long as Mainland China continues its political liberalization and economic reforms; as long as as Taiwan's democracy and rule of law is not subverted, the cross-Strait consensus will be peace and mutual prosperity. It will also constitute the larger current of history.

People yearn for peace. The two sides must respond to their wishes. As long as the two sides adhere to peace as their highest principle, cross-Strait interaction is likely to fulfill the public's demand for a win-win relationship and mutual prosperity. As long as the two sides invest increased energy into fulfilling the public's demand for a win-win relationship and mutual prosperity, cross-Strait peace is sustainable.

The two sides have endured 60 years of of blood and tears to get to where they are today. Before Chen Yunlin departed for Taiwan, he openly praised Taiwan's economic miracle and status as one of the Four Asian Tigers. By contrast, the ruling and opposition parties on Taiwan usually hesitate to affirm or to praise "The Rise of China." In any event the success enjoyed by both sides is not due to luck. Had mainland China not been the beneficiary of Deng Xiaoping's tutulage, had Chiang Ching-kuo not helped Taiwan emerge from its cocoon, lifting restrictions and opening up new possibilities, neither Taiwan nor the mainland would be where they are today. As long as the dominant figures were Chiang Ching-kuo and Deng Xiaoping, and the path correct, i.e., lifting martial law, exchanges, reforms, and liberalization, both sides could govern successfully. Their successes would result in a cross-Strait policy of peace and mutual prosperity.

But time never stands still. The world never stops turning. Chiang Ching-kuo and Deng Xiaoping have gone to their rewards. Their cross-Strait thinking may not be of much help to current cross-Strait relations; What Ma Ying-jeou and Hu Jintao are doing, and must continue doing, is already far beyond anything Chiang Ching-kuo and Deng Xiaoping ever imagined.

Let's review 20 years of often stormy cross-Strait interaction. Lee Teng-hui once had his "National Unification Guidelines" and even a secret envoy engaged in shuttle diplomacy. But the two sides lost confidence in each other. Today, Lee Teng-hui, the "Godfather of Taiwan independence," openly refers to Taiwan independence as "outdated and dangerous." Chen Shui-bian once had his "New Centrist Path" and "Five Noes." He even referred to the "Rectification of Names and the Authoring of a New Constitution" as "self-deception." Later however, Chen supported independence and abetted corruption. Twenty years of cross-Strait interaction shows us that if mainland China does not respect the Republic of China, and does not allow it sufficient latitude, turmoil on Taiwan and a cross-Strait crisis will persist. Twenty years ago the Beijing authorities' perspective was, "The Republic of China is dead." Today it is "Maintain the status quo" and "Defend the 1992 consensus," and by implication, "One China, Different Interpretations." We have lived through 50 to 60 years of "Liberate Taiwan!" and "Counterattack the Mainland!" We have endured 20 years of infighting over reunification vs. independence. Have we learned our lesson? Have we woken up?

Chen Yunlin stands at the crossroads of history and reality. He is demonstrating remarkable forbearance over the attack on Zhang Mingqing. He is apologizing for the contaminated powdered milk scandal. He was choked with emotion as he spoke. He bit his tongue and swallowed his pride. The public on Taiwan either welcomes or opposes Chen Yunlin's visit. But the relationship between the two sides is not sufficiently equal for Taiwan. Lack of dignity may provoke resentment. But 50 or 60 years ago we were using guns to "Liberate Taiwan" or "Counterattack the Mainland." For 20 years we fought over over independence vs. reunification. Today the Chiang/Chen Meeting in Taipei stands astride history and reality. It is unquestionably a positive and progressive development, one that ought to be celebrated and affirmed. As we can see, after endless friction and collision, we have finally found the right direction. That direction is peace and mutual prosperity.

We hope Ma Ying-jeou, Hu Jintao, and the leaders of both sides will surpass Chiang Ching-kuo and Deng Xiaoping 's achievements and thinking. Their achievements and thinking about cross-Strait relations, if correct, will ensure peace and mutual prosperity.

2008.11.03 02:15 am



陳雲林上周四在北京開記者會,他說:他自國台辦至海協會,「置身歷史和現實的座標點上」,希望為兩岸多做點事。以陳雲林的年歲,一九四一年生,曾是中華民 國國民;一九六六年入中國共產黨,正是文革發動之年;然而,在上周四的記者會中,他說為了訪問台灣,勤學閩南話;又說,這次他不能到中南部,遺憾之餘,竟 致哽咽失聲。這六十多年的滄桑,交匯在陳雲林今日個人生命的「歷史與現實」的座標點上。

跳開陳雲林個人,拉高放大來看,今日兩岸關係的「歷史與現實」,更是交匯在一甲子以來更宏觀的一個大歷史座標點上。兩岸的分離,是因中國窮弱造成的動亂所 致;一九四九年兩岸分離後,各自以不同的理念與方法,去各自設法解決窮與弱的問題。大陸由毛澤東主導,倘若沒有鄧小平在七○年代後期開端的改革開放,扭轉 了發展方向,大陸恐怕迄今仍陷於毛澤東及四人幫所製造的禍亂之中;相對而言,台灣若無蔣經國的解除戒嚴及開放與大陸交流,台灣也恐怕在政治或經濟上早已窒 息。正因大陸及台灣各自在政經發展上分別突破了自困的瓶頸,所以兩岸關係也才可能跳脫「解放台灣」或「反攻大陸」的符咒,今日也才會見到文革年代加入共產 黨的陳雲林,以和平協商特使的角色來到台灣。

即使將時空緊縮至台灣解嚴後的最近二十年,這種「歷史與現實」的交匯衝擊,也是驚心動魄的。一九九三年,「辜汪會」在新加坡舉行,當年台灣的卡司是「李登 輝/辜振甫」,大陸的卡司是「江澤民/汪道涵」;至一九九九年,「辜汪二次會談」幾乎就將在台北舉行,卻臨陣破局,接著就是陳水扁的尷尬八年;現在,九年 後,今年五二○兩岸恢復交流機制,大陸的卡司已換成了「胡錦濤/陳雲林」,台灣的卡司則換成了「馬英九/江丙坤」。可見,人事斗轉星移,甚至歷史江河彷彿 也被截流斷流了九年;但是路不轉人轉,江河之水如今儼然又是滔滔滾滾。

將台北「江陳會」置於六十年來「歷史與現實」的座標點上,可以看出兩岸互動有一條由隱而顯、由微而著的主軸線,那就是「民意與和平」。中國大陸擺脫了毛澤 東及四人幫的階級鬥爭論,改行鄧小平的改革開放,主要是因必須回應民意;而改革開放變化了中國大陸的朝野體質與思維,也才會改以「和平」為兩岸關係的主軸 路線;否則,今日的北京政權恐怕猶如平壤政權。相對而言,台灣方面在解嚴後,民意獲得快速釋放,兩岸關係立即成了民意激盪的重要題材,而李登輝左右搖擺的 機會主義及陳水扁「自欺欺人」的「正名制憲」,則可視為台灣在兩岸政策上必然應當經歷的民主辯證過程;至今,台灣民意雖未達到圓融整合,但「和平」無疑是 台灣主流民意的共同主張,這也是二○○八政黨輪替的基本動力。換句話說,只要中國大陸在內政上繼續深化放大政治與經濟的改革開放,只要台灣的民主法治也能 勿受汙染,兩岸「和平共榮」應是民意的共同歸趨,也必是歷史的方向。


六十年來,兩岸皆是歷經血淚艱辛而走至今日境地,陳雲林行前公開誇讚台灣創造了「亞洲四小龍」的經濟奇蹟,而台灣朝野亦常不吝對「中國崛起」給予肯定及讚 譽。但兩岸今日成就,亦絕非倖致;如前所述,倘大陸無鄧小平之扶傾廈、挽狂瀾,台灣無蔣經國之脫繭、鬆綁、開新局;則台灣及大陸的內部治理不可能有今日境 界,而兩岸關係也不可能出現如今這般柳暗花明的氛圍。由此可知:只要主導人物對了(蔣經國/鄧小平),路線對了(解嚴交流/改革開放),兩岸的內部治理就 會有成績,而這些成績就會反映到趨向「和平共榮」的兩岸關係上。


再回顧二十年來兩岸的慘烈互動。李登輝曾有「國統綱領」,甚至密使穿梭,但因兩岸當局失去誠信,李登輝現在成了公開指「台獨過時又危險」的「台獨教父」; 陳水扁曾有「中間路線」及「四不一沒有」,甚至稱「正名制憲自欺欺人」,後來卻「挺獨護貪」走到今日境地。這二十年的兩岸互動顯示,中國大陸若不能尊重 「中華民國」有足夠的空間,台灣的動盪及兩岸的危機將始終存在。北京當局從二十年前「中華民國已死」的政策觀點,走到今日「維持現狀」及「九二共識」(潛 台詞是「一中各表」);這非但是因穿越了五、六十年前「解放/反攻」的歷史硝煙,也是因深受過去二十年統獨惡鬥之痛,而有所體驗及省悟吧?

陳雲林站在「歷史與現實」的座標點上,為張銘清事件隱忍,為毒奶粉事件道歉,語帶哽咽,心中必有打脫牙和血吞的感慨;而台灣民眾在反對或期待陳雲林來訪 時,亦皆對台灣在兩岸關係上不夠對等、有失尊嚴的處境而心存遺憾或憤懣。但是,較諸五、六十年前「解放/反攻」用槍?相互殘殺,及較諸二十年來的統獨惡 鬥,今日台北「江陳會」所站的「歷史與現實」的座標點,卻無疑是正面的、進取的,也是足可慶幸與肯定的。可見,愈是經歷摩擦衝撞,愈能淬礪探索出正確的方 向,這個方向就是「和平共榮」。


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