Deceive, Subsidize, Capture, Kill; Pretend, Take, Escape, Survive; Win/Win, Coexist
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 20, 2010
Both advocates and opponents of ECFA on Taiwan are wary of falling into a "deceive, subsidize, capture, kill" trap set by Beijing. Those who oppose ECFA are worried. But even those who favor ECFA have knots in their stomach.
As we noted previously, each side has its own "visible agenda" in today's cross-Strait wrestling match. Beijing's visible agenda is "deceive, subsidize, capture, and kill" the Republic of China government in Taipei. It is to use the vague language of the 1992 Consensus to deceive Taipei, to open direct links allowing Mainland tourists to visit Taiwan, to make large procurements subsidizing Taipei, to nurture a habit of dependency on the Mainland to capture Taipei, and finally, to kill the Republic of China government in Taipei. Taipei's "visible agenda" is "pretend, take, escape, survive": It is to use the "1992 Consensus" and other vague language to pretend to solve problems, without really getting to the bottom of the matter, to obtain nourishment from the Mainland, to use the nourishment to establish the primacy of the Republic of China, to escape from Beijing's trap, and to seek a symbiotic Win/Win relationship.
These agendas are not "hidden agendas." They are "visible agendas." Some people on Taiwan oppose ECFA. They are afraid of falling into Beijing's "deceive, subsidize, capture, kill" trap. Other people on Taiwan favor ECFA. They hope that Taiwan can "pretend, take, escape, survive."
In March, Mainland China experienced a 7.2 billion trade deficit, its first in six years. Its deficit with Taiwan was 7.9 billion. In other words, its deficit with Taiwan remains larger than its total deficit. The two sides are signing ECFA. Beijing's "share the wealth" policy panders to Taiwan's interests. As we can see, Beijing's policy of "deceive, subsidize" and Taipei's policy of "pretend, take" have reached a high point. This is why ECFA is currently raising alarms.
One of our recent editorials pointed out that the Republic of China has two issues for which there are no substitutes. First, there is no substitute for the geopolitical and cultural relationship between Taiwan and the Mainland. Secondly, there are no substitutes for the Republic of China's freedom and democracy. Therefore economic and trade activities under the Republic of China's system of freedom and democracy make it Impossible to ignore the Chinese Mainland, the world's factory and the world's market place. That is why the two sides' unique economic and trade relationship cannot be discontinued. The only difference is that for over a decade, Taipei was mired in the myth of "China's Coming Collapse." Had Taipei taken full advantage of its situation back then, it would be in a far better bargaining position today. It would have far less need to "pretend and take" in response to Beijing's "deceive and subsidize." The economic side of "pretend and take" and "deceive and subsidize" are understandable. What is worrisome is the political side. Can Beijing "capture and kill" Taipei? Can Taipei "escape and survive?"
Actually, ECFA may well be the magic talisman that breaks the spell of "deceive, subsidize, capture, kill" and "pretend, take, escape, survive." On the one hand, ECFA would make de jure Taiwan independence even more impossible. On the other hand, ECFA would dramatically reduce the urgency and necessity of de jure reunification. As noted in this paper's "Six New Year's Day Editorials," ECFA can facilitate the process of cross-Strait interactions, while easing any tensions generated by conflicting cross-Straits goals.
When discussing cross-Strait interactions, one will encounter the "first economics, then politics" thesis. But cross-Strait interactions have never been either purely economic, or purely political. They have always been both. ECFA has economic content, but it also has far reaching political repercussions. ECFA will have an enormous impact on cross-Strait interactions. The greatest of which is that the Mainland's economy will "capture" Taipei, while the Republic of China's democracy will "capture " Beijing. Beijing will use ECFA to shower Taipei with benefits, mainly in response to the Republic of China's democracy and public sentiment on Taiwan. Therefore behind the economic actions are political motivations. If ECFA can facilitate cross-Strait interactions, then economics can soften politics, and peace can replace military force. Violent and coercive goal orientation can be diminished, and replaced by a kinder, gentler process orientation, allowing the two sides to establish better goals. The basis of future interaction will be economics, peace, and democracy, enabling both sides to win and prosper.
ECFA will soon be signed. Beijing should forsake its agenda of "deceive, subsidize, capture, and kill." Because no matter what goals the two sides move toward in the future, Beijing cannot afford to "kill" the Republic of China's freedom and democracy. Beijing cannot afford to be accused of killing the Republic of China government in Taipei. If it were killed, Beijing would find it difficult to revive and govern the Taiwan region. This is why Beijing has adopted its "economics, peace, and democracy" policy toward Taipei. This is why we urge Beijing not to try to lure us into a trap, but instead invite us to a dance.
ECFA is still being drafted. We recommend that One China, Different Interpretations be added to its table of contents.
騙養套殺 裝吃閃活 雙贏共生
2010.04.20 02:24 am