Will the DPP Really Continue the Previous Administration's Cross-Strait Policy?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 4, 2010
Tsai Ing-wen has declared that "If the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, it will continue the previous administration's cross-Strait policies."
Her declaration is truly baffling. The DPP says that if it returns to power, it will continue the previous administration's cross-Strait policy. If that is the case, why not declare today that "The DPP may not be the ruling party. Nevertheless it supports the current administration's cross-Strait policy." The reason it refuses to do so is simple. If upon returning to power, the DPP were to continue the current administration's policy, then what reason does it have to oppose those policies now? Conversely, if it opposes those policies now, while it is in the opposition, what reason does it have to continue them if it returns to power?
First, Tsai Ing-wen's declaration shows that the DPP is trapped on the horns of a dilemma, and can neither advance nor retreat. Secondly, the DPP is utterly indifferent to right or wrong and black or white. It is concerned only with political gamesmanship, nothing else. Otherwise, why the vast difference between the ruling and opposition parties?
The DPP has declared that if it returns to power, it will continue the Ma administration's cross-Strait policies. But which policies? Do these policies include direct links, allowing Mainland tourists to visit Taiwan, abiding by ECFA, recognizing Mainland academic credentials, continuing to participate in the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee? The DPP shed blood, on the streets and in the legislature, opposing most of these "previous administration's cross-Strait policies." If the DPP returns to power, does it really intend to "continue all these policies?" When the DPP issues such ringing assurances, does it feel no shame? Can Tsai Ing-wen, all by herself, really make such promises? Can she alone enable the DPP to evade responsibility for its complete about face on cross-Strait policy?
If the DPP were to return to power, it could not possibly continue these cross-Strait policies. The majority of the public supports these policies. They cannot be discontinued. If they were discontinued, the DPP would be unable to return to power. Therefore, when Tsai Ing-wen refers to "the former administration's cross-Strait policy," she is probably referring to direct links, allowing Mainland tourists to visit Taiwan, and lower level policies such as ECFA. But are the "previous administration's cross-Strait policies " limited to direct flights and ECFA? The Ma administration's cross-Strait policy also includes meta level policy positions. These affirm "the framework of the ROC Constitution." They affirm that "The Republic of China is a sovereign and independent nation founded in 1912." They affirm the "1992 Consensus," "One China, Different Expressions," and "No unification, no independence, no use of force." So the question is, if the DPP returns to power, will it really continue these meta level policy positions?
Two other questions arise. First, if the DPP does not continue these meta level policy positions, will Beijing allow the DPP to continue the lower level policies? Secondly, even if the Democratic Progressive Party were to declare that it would continue these meta level policy positions, would the public on Taiwan believe them? Would Beijing play along? Based on the DPP's record of utter untrustworthiness, will a single verbal assurance from Tsai Ing-wen promising to continue the policies do the trick? For example, Beijing understands why the Ma administration says "no reunification." But can it tolerate the DPP returning to power and saying "no reunification?"
The DPP has a shaky record, established by Chen Shui-bian. His "Five Noes" were tantamount to a "continuation of the previous administration's cross-Strait policy." Later on however, the DPP engaged in appallingly irresponsible antics painful to recall. Presumably Tsai Ing-wen represents the DPP. But she was the author of the "two states theory." She has gone on record in repudiating the 1992 Consensus and voicing her opposition to ECFA. How can she proclaim with conviction that "If the DPP returns to power it will continue the previous administration's cross-Strait policy?" Besides, Tsai Ing-wen does not necessarily represent the DPP. Before she can issue such a bold proclamation, she must repeal the Taiwan independence party platform, the Resolution on Taiwan's Future, the Resolution For a Normal State, and receive the blessing of Taiwan independence elements. Only then can she gain the trust of the public on Taiwan and the authorities in Beijing.
Tsai Ing-wen's vow to continue the previous administration's cross-Strait policy after taking office proves that the DPP's overwhelming opposition to the Ma administration's cross-Strait policy is utterly irrational. The DPP insists that Ma Ying-jeou's policies are "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan." How can Tsai Ing-wen possibly declare that if the DPP returns to power, it will continue these policies?
By now we can see a lethal crisis confronting everyone on Taiwan. On the one hand, the DPP characterizes the Ma administration's cross-Strait policy as "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan." It uses it as an excuse to rail against Beijing. On the other hand, It declares that if it returns to power it will continue this very same policy. The question is, can the DPP continue such a policy merely because it says it will? What price will Beijing exact from the DPP before it allows the DPP to continue it? Will it be a price that Taiwan can afford to pay? What is this, if not a lethal crisis?
Tsai Ing-wen says that if the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, it will continue the previous administration's cross-Strait policy. In that case, she ought act responsibly, and declare that "The DPP may be in the opposition, but it supports the current administration's cross-Strait policy." If the DPP continues the previous administration's cross-Strait policy only after it returns to power, it will be sticking its head into Beijing's noose. It will be allowing Beijing to loosen or tighten the noose. It will be allowing Beijing to decide whether it will live or die.
Tsai Ing-wen has revealed the DPP's hand. The DPP wants the current administration to pave the way for the DPP. It wants the current administration to strew the DPP's path with flowers. When the DPP "resumes power" it will be sitting pretty. It will enjoy the privilege of "continuing" the very policy it currently condemns as "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan."
2010.10.04 03:29 am