Taipei and Beijing: Is "Reconnection" Preferable to "Reunification?"
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
September 17, 2010
Summary: This newspaper's editorial page compared "reconnection" to "reunification." Our feeling is that the "roof theory," which entails reconnection, is preferable to "reunification." As we pointed out previously, "reunification" is the hardest and riskiest option. Reunification means one side swallowing up the other under a single national title. Is "reunification" really the best solution? Is there a better alternative to "reunification?" Might "reconnection" be preferable to "reunification?" Might the "roof theory" be preferable to "reunification?"
Full Text below:
On the 2nd, the 4th, the 12th of this month, this newspaper's editorial page compared "reconnection" to "reunification." Our feeling is that the "roof theory," which entails reconnection, is preferable to "reunification."
As we pointed out previously, "reunification" is the hardest and riskiest option. Reunification means one side swallowing up the other under a single national title. This raises three questions.
One. How should one reunify? If one wants to reunfy democratically, how long will that take? If one wishes to reunify forcibly, what will be the aftermath? Two. What governance issues will arise post-reunification? After all, the President and the Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China are democratically elected under a system of universal suffrage. Even if one succeeds in implementing "one country, two systems," it is unlikely one can turn the clock back. Consider one example. After "reunification" will Taiwan still permit the existence of a pro-independence political party? Allowing their existence is a governance issue. Not allowing their existence is also a governance issue. Three. Reunification is a goal that has remained long unresolved. If one equates "failure to reunify" with not being "one China," then until "one side swallows up the other," "reunification" will paradoxically divide the two sides. Cross-Strait relations will remain strained merely because the two sides have "yet to be reunified." Conversely, if one considers the "roof theory" consistent with the "one China principle," then the two sides can gradual implement an "in progress form of One China," under a "soft roof," "flexible roof," or "hard roof."
Therefore "reunification" is in fact destabilizing the "One China principle." The "roof theory," on the other hand, may be best way to gradually put past controversy to rest and resolve the problem. The distinction between "reunification" and "reconnection" has major relevance for internal politics, both on Taiwan and on the Mainland. If the "roof theory" and an "in progress form of One China" can be adopted, disputes between mainland hawks and doves can be moderated. Beijing will not be forced to deal with government policy wild cards merely because they have yet to achieve "reunification." Taipei meanwhile, may be able to substantially reduce the social divisions created by struggles over reunification vs. independence. Why must one single-mindedly pursue the target of "reunification?" Why not consider the "roof theory" as one's "new target?"
Is there a better alternative to "reunfication?" This is a question both the ruling and opposition parties should seriously contemplate. Taipei and Beijing should not stand in the way of such private sector discussions. They should encourage them. Beijing in particular should do so, and give itself and the Mainland public a break. The Beijing authorities have chained themselves and the Mainland public to a giant post named "reunification." They have made a difficult to fulfill commitment to the Mainland public. They are effectively sitting on a time bomb that may go off at any moment. Prevailing policy is both impractical and dangerous. That is why Beijing ought to consider "new targets."
The management field speaks of "commitment traps." These involve being trapped by one's own "over-commitments." One can neither fulfill one's commitments, nor clean up after reneging on those commitments. One is trapped. For example, a person vows to eat 500 dumplings in a single sitting. Ony two results are possible. One is to eat oneslef into the hospital. The other is knowing one cannot possible fulfill one's promises, and instead "eating one's words." This is a "commitment trap." Setting "new targets" means resetting the number of dumplings at a more reasonable number. Doing so enables one to escape the "commitment trap," instead of either rolling oneself up in a cocoon, or being forced to face public embarrassment.
A majority on Taiwan is "afraid of reunification." The Beijing authorities on the other hand are "afraid reunification might not happen." It is not hard to understand why a majority on Taiwan is "afraid of reunification." But the main reason the Beijing authorities are "afraid reunification may not happen," is their "commitment trap." Therefore if the two sides want "peaceful development," Taipei must allay public "fears of reunification." Beijing meanwhile, must not mire those in power and the Mainland public deeper in a commitment trap of "reunification at all cost." A feasible compromise would be for Taipei and Beijing to realize that the "roof theory" may be preferable to "reunjfication." Why not consider a "new target?"
Speaking of "new targets," just precisely what targets are realistic cross-Strait targets? The two sides should pursue a number of targets. One. They must not deviate from the "One China principle." Two. The Taiwan Region must not become a foreign country and a proxy for foreign powers. Three. The authorities on the two sides must not view each other with hostility. Four. The public on the two sides should look upon each other with goodwill and friendship. Five. The two sides should establish a mutually beneficial win-win relationship. Can such "targets" promote "reunification?" Or, conversely, will a single-minded commitment to "reunification" become a barrier to the pursuit of "real targets?" Will it mire us in a "commitment trap?" Are the two sides pursuing "reunification" as a "pro forma target?" Or are we pursuing the above mentioned "real target?"
Is "reunification" really the best solution? Is there a better alternative to "reunification?" Might "reconnection" be preferable to "reunification?" Might the "roof theory" be preferable to "reunification?"
2010.09.17 02:35 am