Friday, January 9, 2009

"Yet To Be Reunified" Offers More Creative Possibilities than "Immediate Reunification"

"Yet To Be Reunified" Offers More Creative Possibilities than "Immediate Reunification"
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
January 9, 2009

Hu Jintao said, "The two sides of the Taiwan Strait can explore pragmatic political relations, under special circumstances under which the nation has yet to be reunified." This would seem to be the first time a new issue has been raised since "military security confidence building measures" and a "peace agreement," and leaves considerable room for the imagination.

Hong Kong's implementation of "One Country, Two Systems", has maintained its democratic capitalist system, and is moving toward direct elections of its Regional Governor. If "One Country, Two Systems" were implemented on Taiwan, what would happen to the Republic of China? Would it continue to hold presidential elections? The answer is obvious. Would Beijing have the ROC reduced to electing its own Regional Governor?

This is what we mean when we speak of room for the imagination. For example, the two sides could form a confederation under the "Big Roof Theory." The Republic of China and the People's Republic of China would remain part of One China, even though they were not yet reunified. They would not be reunified into a single nation. This would accord with "special circumstances under which the nation has yet to be reunified." But it would not be "Two Chinas," yet it could also be referred to as "One Country, Two Systems." The leaders of the two sides of the Strait would alternate as president and vice-president of this confederation. As we said, does this not leave considerable room for the imagination? Could this not be considered "political relations in special circumstances under which the nation has yet to be reunified?

This is not the place to discuss a confederation. We merely wish to stress how much room there is for creative possibilities. Taipei has its bottom line. It cannot accept One China as the People's Republic of China. Beijing has its bottom line. It cannot accept de jure Taiwan independence. Between these two bottom lines, the two sides have enormous room in which to maneuver. This would include such arrangements as a confederation.

Hu's Six Points has far reaching possibilities, and has provoked differing responses. As yesterday's editorial noted, Hu has shifted the focus of cross-Strait relations from goal oriented "Eventual Reunification," to process oriented "Peaceful Development." This ought to be acceptable to the majority of people reading this editorial. Actually reunification is not possible in the immediate future, because under current conditions "reunification" for Taipei would amount to annexation. For Beijing on the other hand, premature reunification would mean an intractable and ungovernable Taiwan. Reluctant reunification that destroyed the ROC's democratic achievements would be an irreparable loss for the Chinese nation as a whole. Therefore talk of process oriented "Peaceful Development" is more relevant than talk of goal oriented "Eventual Reunification." As the two sides invest their energy in process, rather than goals, considerable room for creative possibilities will spontaneously emerge.

Yesterday's editorial noted that when Hu Jintao's wrote about process, he addressed a wide range of social, cultural, economic, diplomatic, military, and political issues. If Hu Jintao's "peaceful development of cross-Strait relations" is indeed Beijing's highest priority, then it should respect the ROC's system of democracy. It should make an effort to expand democracy on the mainland. As our editorial the day before yesterday noted, "Peaceful Development is Democratic Development." Hu Jintao pointed out many issues worthy of attention. These include social, cultural, economic, diplomatic, and military issues. Efforts in these areas can influence and guide public opinion in a positive manner, creating solutions to cross-Strait political problems.

Assuming Hu's Six Points were made in good faith, Beijing can demonstrate that good faith through its handling of WHA and ASEAN plus N. ROC participation in WHA relates to Hu's fifth point, "Taiwan's participation in the activities of international organizations." It has also been the focus of public attention on Taiwan in recent years. Beijing has no reason not to respond positively. ROC participation in ASEAN relates to Hu's second point, "Exploring cross-Strait economic cooperation mechanisms as part of the Asia-Pacific region's economic convergence." Postive gestures on these two matters would constitute the most up to date evidence of Beijing's good faith. We must note that if such issues are loaded with political baggage, they may be counter-productive, even destructive. WHA should only be about WHA. ASEAN should only be about ASEAN. Only then can such gestures enhance goodwill in cross-Strait political relations.

This year is the 60th anniversary of divided rule. Cross-Strait issues cannot be resolved in one fell swoop via "Holistic Engineering." They must be resolved step by step by means of "Piecemeal Engineering." Can Beijing shift its attention from goal oriented "reunification" thinking, to process oriented "yet to be reunified" thinking? Is this what Hu meant in his sixth point, "Establish a framework for peaceful development of cross-Strait relations?"

Actually, all processes, at any stage, are also goals. Conversely, even if one has an eventual goal, attempting to achieve that goal merely starts another process. For example, the difficulties encountered by East and West Germany following reunification were more serious than expected. The difficulties ecountered by Taipei and Beijing would be even greater.

For the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, "yet to be reunified" offers more room for the imagination and for maneuveuring than "immediate reunification." It offers more options. Could this be the basis for Hu's Six Points? (End of Series)

2009.01.09 03:26 am



本文所指的想像空間在此。比如說,倘若採邦聯制,即可在「屋頂理論」下,維持中華民國與中華人民共和國的「雖未統一,但同屬一個中國」;而既未「統一」成 為「單一國家」,則亦符合「尚未統一的特殊情況」;且並非「兩個中國」,又可堪稱作「一國兩制」。至於邦聯的正副元首,可由兩岸交互輪替。有沒有這種想像 空間?這算不算「在國家尚未統一的特殊情況下的政治關係」?

此處並非要討論邦聯制,而只是想強調想像的空間可以有多大。若要討論「尚未統一前的兩岸政治關係」,就台灣而言,其底線或許是不能接受「一個中國是中華人 民共和國」;就大陸而言,其底線則是不能接受「法理台獨」。在這兩條底線之間,應當即是廣闊的想像空間與經營平台,其中自可包括了諸如邦聯制等思維與設 計。

胡六點橫看成嶺側成峰,引起見仁見智。但是,如昨日社論所說,他將兩岸關係的重點從「終極統一」(目的論)移至「和平發展」(過程論),則應是多數人可以 接受的解讀。其實,兩岸在未來相當時期中,確實不可能「統一」;因為,對台灣言,在現今條件下,統一就是被併吞;對大陸言,即使統一,也難治理台灣;對 「中華民族」言,則若因勉強統一而摧毀了台灣已經實現的民主成果,那將是無可彌償的「民族」損失。因而,談「終極統一」之目的論,不如談「和平發展」的過 程論;在努力經營「過程」之中,自會出現想像空間。

昨日社論說,胡錦濤對「過程論」多所著墨;他廣泛論及社會、文化、經濟、外交、軍事、政治等領域。倘若胡錦濤所說的「兩岸關係和平發展」是最高準則,則在 政治面,北京除了應當尊重台灣的民主體制,其自身亦應努力提升大陸的民主內涵;正如前天社論所說,「和平發展」就是「民主發展」。相對而言,在政治以外的 各方面,如社會、文化、經濟、外交、軍事等領域,則胡錦濤已指出了諸多可以用心用力之處。我們認為,藉著在這些領域方面的努力,可以影響及引導民意朝正面 思考,進而營造累積解決兩岸政治難題的資源。

倘若胡六點出自真誠,我們認為,在短期內北京可藉WHA及東協加N作出初步印證。WHA是關於第五點的「台灣參與國際組織活動問題」,也是近年台灣視聽的 焦點,北京沒有理由不作回應。東協議題則是關於第二點「探討兩岸經濟共同發展同亞太區域經濟合作機制相銜接的可行途徑」,這應是近期測試北京真誠的關鍵考 題。我們必須提醒:若在這類題材上加添政治黃魚,將有反效果,甚至破局;倘能就WHA論WHA,就東協談東協,則反而能為兩岸關係添增政治好感。

今年是兩岸分裂分治六十周年。兩岸難題不易出現一個一次解決的整體包裹方案(Holistic Engineering),而必然是一個逐步化解歧見的點滴工程(Piecemeal Engineering)。換句話說,北京若能將心力從「統一」之目的論,移轉至「未統一」的過程論,這或許就是胡六點所主張的「建構兩岸關係和平發展框 架」之意旨所在。



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