Thursday, January 8, 2009

Is Taiwan to be Ruled by a Regional Governor?

Is Taiwan to be Ruled by a Regional Governor?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
January 8, 2009

Ever since the Lien Chan/Hu Jintao Meeting of 2005, terms such as "One China," "China's reunification," and "One Country, Two Systems" have been bandied about. They have also appeared in Hu's Six Points.

Hu Jintao's remarks invoked the 1979 "Message to Our Taiwan Compatriots" from 30 years ago. As one traces one's roots and acknowledges one's heritage, it is natural to invoke such language. The thinking behind such expressions is undoubtedly Hu's own. At the macro level, Hu Jintao's may be seeking "China's reunification." But his language reveals that when it come to process, Hu advocates the "peaceful development of cross-strait relations."

Reunification and independence issues are goal oriented. Immediate reunification and immediate independence are indifferent to process. They are concerned only with goals. Concern for process, on the other hand, means delaying the pursuit of one's goals. It means using a process to solve problems. Those concerned only with goals, do not accept the status quo. They advocate changing the status quo. Those concerned with process, respect the status quo. They advocate maintaining the status quo, improving the status quo. Hu Jintao has been goal oriented. But he is becoming process oriented. He has not given up his goals, but he has become more process oriented. He has gone from hailing "reunification," to acknowledging and respecting the reality of "special circumstances under which the nation is not yet reunified."

Goal oriention can easily lead one to an impasse. Take Beijing's long-standing Taiwan policy. The term "One Country, Two Systems" has not appeared in quite a while. What exactly does "One Country" mean? Hu Jintao's recent talk did not stipulate that "One China" is the People's Republic of China. That being the case, what exactly does "Two Systems" mean? Look at Hong Kong. "Two Systems" means an appointed Regional Governor. But the Republic of China has directly elected four presidents. Is Taiwan to be ruled by a Regional Governor?

Beijing was once goal oriented. It did not accept the status quo. It advocated changing the status quo, i.e., promoting reunification. But since 2000, Beijing and Washington have both advocated maintaining the status quo. They have both expressed opposition to "unilaterally changing the status quo." The reason is Taiwan independence had gained momentum. But how does one define the status quo? Does it mean recognizing and maintaining the Republic of China? Little progress has been made on this front. If one fails to maintain the Republic of China, how can one maintain the status quo? If one refuses to accept the Republic of China, then what is the status quo?

Beijing's recent interpretation is "Although the two sides have not been reunified, the mainland and Taiwan belong to One China. This has never changed." This interpretation can also be found within Hu's Six Points. In practical terms, this means that although the two sides are ruled separately by the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China, they still belong to One China. This is the Roof Theory in which One China refers to a Third Entity that encompasses "Taiwan + Mainland China," or "Republic of China + People's Republic of China." But based on Beijing's real world practices, this is not what it really means.

In order to rebuild cross-strait relations, we must improve our understanding of both goals and processes. In terms of goals, the One China Roof Theory will remain deadlocked unless it is liberated from Beijing's unilaterally defined "One China means the People's Republic of China." In terms of process, Hu's Six Points include the signing of a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement, the establishment of a cross-Strait economic cooperation mechanism, the creation of a mechanism for Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation, a halt to internal conflict over foreign relations, a relaxation of restraints on Taipei's participation in international activities, the establishment of military security mechanisms, and a peace agreement. Although the nation has yet to be reunified, the two sides would explore the possibility of pragmatic political relations under special circumstances. These all stress process. These all stress "doing something positive, doing something concrete." These may be beneficial to reunification. But more importantly, they are beneficial to maintaining a status quo in which the nation has yet to be reunified.

Cross-strait interaction has moved from goal oriention to process orientation. This is a positive development. The best approach is to adopt the right process in order to spontaneously discover the right goal. To impose goals on the process will distort the process. If the goal is to return Taiwan to rule by an appointed Regional Governor, under "One Country, Two Systems," not only will the goal not be achieved, the process will be undermined as well.

In Hu's Six Points, Hu mentions "political relations under yet to be reunified special cross-Strait circumstances." Is Hu suggesting a new "Roof Theory?" Is Hu suggesting a neutral framework for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations? Does this respect history, reality, and the wishes of the people? Can it introduce a new process to cross-Strait relations? We will have to wait and see.

2009.01.08 02:35 am


胡錦濤的談話,既是借一九七九年《告台灣同胞書》三十周年之題而發,為了追溯淵源,為了表彰傳承,自然要重新啟用這些歷史語彙。當然,這些語彙所蘊含的思 維無疑亦是胡錦濤個人的認知與追求;唯就大處來看,胡錦濤雖然是「中國統一」的「目的論」者,但他在通篇談話中,亦顯示他也是「兩岸關係和平發展」的「過 程論」者。

統獨議題,皆是「目的論」;急統急獨,更是不問「過程」、不擇手段之「唯目的論」。「過程論」,則是延緩對「目的」的追求,而主張以「互動過程」來累積解 決難題的資源與條件。亦即,目的論不接受現狀,主張改變現狀;過程論則主張尊重現狀,維持現狀,改善現狀。胡錦濤近幾年來的表現,應可視為從「目的論」, 向「過程論」移動;他未放棄「目的」,但向「過程」傾斜;也就是從高喊「統一」,轉移至承認並重視「尚未統一的特殊情況」。


北京過去是「目的論」者,不接受現狀,主張改變現狀(推動統一);但自二○○○ 年前後以降,則與美國一起主張維持現狀,反對「片面改變現狀」,原因是台獨聲勢上揚。但是,「現狀」作何定義,是否在某種程度上承認及維持「中華民國」, 卻是似有改變又迄無進展。然而,若不維持中華民國,如何維持現狀?若不接受中華民國,現狀是什麼?

北京近年來的說法是:「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。」此種理論這次也見諸胡六點。在現實上,這應當是指兩岸雖以「中華民 國」與「中華人民共和國」分裂分治,但仍同屬「一個中國」。倘係如此,就「屋頂理論」而言,「一個中國」即應是指「台灣/大陸」或「中華民國/中華人民共 和國」之上的「第三概念」。但是,在北京的實際操作中,顯然並非作此定義。

欲重建兩岸關係,須從「目的論」及「過程論」兩方面皆進行改善。就目的論言,例如,「一個中國」的「屋頂理論」,若不能跳出「一個中國就是中華人民共和 國」的「片面主義」,即生僵局。就過程論言,則胡六點此次多所著墨,包括簽定綜合性經濟合作協議、建立兩岸經濟合作機制、與亞太經濟合作機制相銜接、停止 涉外事務之內耗、鬆綁台灣參與國際組織活動、建立軍事安全機制、達成和平協議,及就國家尚未統一的特殊情況下的政治關係展開務實探討等等。這些均是強調 「多辦好事/多辦實事」的「過程主義」,辦了或許有利於「統一」,但更重要的是尤其有利於維持「尚未統一/統一不成」的「現狀」。


在胡六點中,還看不出「尚未統一的特殊情況下的(兩岸)政治關係」究何所指。是否指一個新的「屋頂理論」?是否指一個「不統/不獨/亦統/亦獨」的「兩岸 關係和平發展框架」?是否有尊重歷史、尊重現實、尊重人民願望的新內涵?能否為兩岸關係帶入一個新的「過程」?在在似乎皆有想像空間。

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