Would Tsai Ing-wen Have Cross-Strait Relations Revert to the Macau Model?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 6, 2011
Joseph Wu was Representative from the ROC to Washington, and Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council under the Chen administration. Recently Wu said that if Tsai Ing-wen is elected president, she will not overturn ECFA and other cross-Strait agreements. She will however, refuse to accept such political premises as the 1992 Consensus and the One China Principle. He said that if the DPP returns to power, "The door that has been opened will not be closed." He said however, that the other side might break off talks between the SEF and ARATS.
Joseph Wu's logic is worth noting. He clearly knows that if the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power but refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus, Beijing may break off cross-Strait negotiations. Nevertheless he thinks "President Tsai" will refuse to accept the 1992 Consensus.
Joseph Wu offered a solution. He said that if Tsai Ing-wen wins next year's presidential election, cross-Strait communication channels may not require the 1992 Consensus. They could revert to the "Macau model." When the so-called Macau model was being used during the Chen administration, the two sides were at loggerheads with each other. The SEF and ARATS negotiation mechanism had been disrupted. The two sides resorted to "industry to industry" and "organization to organization" channels to communicate with each other. These industries and organizations acted as surrogates or buffers. This mechanism allowed the two sides to reach consensus over Spring Festival charter flights and other matters. Joseph Wu's rhetoric is revealing. The Democratic Progressive Party knows that if it refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus, the two sides will find it diffult to continue using current cross-strait negotiation mechanisms. It knows that existing consultation mechanisms may well disintegrate, and revert to the Macau model. Neverthelss the DPP intends to stick to its position, regardless of the consequences.
In fact, Joseph Wu's expectations strike one as wishful thinking. If the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power but refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus, no one can forsee how far cross-Strait relations will be set back. On what basis can Joseph Wu say they will merely revert to the Macau model? Why wouldn't they degenerate to a level even lower than the Macau model? Besides, cross-Strait consultations and exchanges have already progressed to where they are today. Reversion to the Macau model is inconceivable.
During the Chen era, the Macau model may not have required the 1992 Consensus. But if Tsai Ing-wen assumes power, the absence of the 1992 Consensus will mean that even the Macau model would be difficult to achieve. Joseph Wu said that if Tsai Ing-wen assumes power, she will not overturn ECFA. He said that "The door that has been opened will not be closed." But the 1992 Consensus is the premise and foundation for current cross-Strait peace and development. Without the 1992 Consensus, Tsai Ing-wen may choose "not to close the door." But can she command Beijing "not to close the door?" This is the blind spot in Joseph Wu's rhetoric.
In 2000, President Chen Shui-bian was all set to recognize One China, Different Interpretations and the 1992 Consensus. But he was stopped dead in his tracks by Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Tsai Ing-wen. After which, Beijing said it would "listen to what he said, and watch what he did." It broke off two negotiations, leaving the Chen administration mired in an eight year long domestic and international dilemma. Today, Tsai has repeatedly touted her commitment to "rationality." But she knows perfectly well that if she repudiates the 1992 Consensus, "the door will close," the two sides will once again find themselves at loggerheads. A diplomatic war will erupt. Society will be ripped in two. Nevertheless she still refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus. What manner of "rationality" is this?
The DPP equates the 1992 Consensus with Beijing's One China Principle ("China = PRC"). But by doing so, it is painting itself into a corner. It is handing Beijing a lever. The ROC's position is that the 1992 Consensus means One China, Different Interpretations ("China = ROC"). We absolutely refuse to go along with Beijing's assertion that the 1992 Consensus equals Beijing's One China Principle. Besides, Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi recently said that "Relations between the two sides are good. The two sides may differ about the meaning of "One China" in the 1992 Consensus. But we can seek common ground. This is the essence of the 1992 Consensus." We should seek common ground on the premise of One China, Different Interpretations. If the DPP insists on repudiating and abandoning even One China, Different Interpretations, Then it may as well take a clear stand. it may as well proclaim its determination to achieve Taiwan independence and found a new nation. Why bother bringing up the Macau model?
Joseph Wu said that "The door which has been opened will not be closed." He said that we can simply revert to the Macau model. As we can see, the DPP knows that the door between the two sides must not be shut. The DPP knows the two sides must not be without a consultation mechanism. Nevertheless if Tsai Ing-wen assumes power, she will repudiate the 1992 Consensus. She will walk into a trap. Beijing will say, "You are the one who was faithless. Don't blame me for what I do next." Once Beijing closes the door, will Tsai Ing-wen really be able to knock on the door by citing the Macau model?
Is this what Tsai Ing-wen considers "rational?"