Cross-Strait Peace Agreement is No [Immediate] Reunification, No Independence, No Use of Force
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 18, 2011
Summary: Yesterday President Ma Ying-jeou boldly set forth a proposal for a cross-Strait peace agreement. This is an explosive issue that could transform the election into a vote of confidence in the president, and whether he should sign a cross-Strait peace agreement. How will the DPP respond to President Ma's peace agreement? It should think before reacting. It should reconsider its blind opposition to ECFA. It should consider how it painted itself into a corner, It should think about sparing itself any further embarrassment.
Full Text Below:
Yesterday President Ma Ying-jeou boldly set forth a proposal for a cross-Strait peace agreement. This is an explosive issue that could transform the election into a vote of confidence in the president, and whether he should sign a cross-Strait peace agreement.
This issue is highly sensitive and potentially explosive. Probably few people ever imagined President Ma would include such a sensitive and explosive plank in his campaign platform, After all, the potential backlash is difficult to gauge. But President Ma had the audacity to include the "golden decade" plank in his campaign platform. This shows his confidence in his campaign platform, It shows his confidence in public opinion. Objectively speaking, the measured promotion of a cross-Strait peace agreement is the very least a future Republic of China presidential candidate should promise the nation, It is the best and most essential policy contribution a future president can make.
The real meaning of the peace agreement is "no [immediate] reunification, no independence, and no use of force." It rejects Taiwan independence. Its theme is peaceful development. In fact the peace agreement is merely "no [immediate] reunification, no independence, and no use of force" written into law. This newspaper has long argued that the two sides should sign a peace agreement, as either an ultimate solution or interim solution.
For Taipei, a peace agreement would diminish the pressure to embark on immediate reunification. For Beijing, a peace agreement would help resolve internal disagreements over how to cope with Taiwan independence. Conversely, for Beijng, a peace agreement would extricate it from the "reunification quagmire." For Taipei, a peace agreement would diminish internal frictions over Taiwan independence. Both sides would benefit from a long term framework for peaceful development. It would be a mutally beneficial, win/win situation.
Over the past three years, authorities on both sides have taken full advantage of the opportunity provided by the outcome of the 2008 presidential election. They have dedicated themselves to cross-strait peaceful development. But the current election is having a negative impact. Tsai Ing-wen says she does not recognize the 1992 consensus and one China, different interpretations. James Soong and Lee Teng-hui are singing a duet, saying "Topple Ma, Protect Taiwan." The fruit of three years of blood, sweat, and tears could be destroyed overnight. The cross-Strait status quo is to vulnerable to unpredictable political developments on Taiwan. This shows how much. The past three years of peaceful development are a pocket filled with gold coins. All it takes is a single hole, and no matter how many more coins one adds to one's pocket, they will all fall through the hole.
If we want to accumulate more gold coins, i.e., promote peace, we must stitch the hole in the pocket. The needle and thread that will stitch the hole is the peace agreement. Only a peace agreement will enable the two sides to accumulate more gold coins. Only "no [immediate] reunification, no independence, no use force" will enable the two sides to promote peace. Only a peace agreement will ensure that the fruits of peaceful development are preserved, and not lost to the vagaries of a presidential election.
From another perspective, a peace agreement is more than "no [immediate] reunification, no independence, no use of force," written into law. It is "one China, different interpretations," written into law. This newspaper has long held that any peace agreement requires the two sides to recognize each other as both combatants and peace signatories. Therefore they should sign the treaty in their capacity as "President of the Republic of China" and "President of the Peoples Republic of China." After the agreement is signed, cabinet-level officials on both sides can establish a permanent "cross-strait peaceful development conference" framework. Such a peace agreement would write "one China, different interpretations" into law.
Such an agreement is in the interest of both parties. There is no better ultimate or interim solution than the aforementioned peace agreement. The public on Taiwan has endured 60 years of cross-Strait turbulence. President Ma is now offering a peace agreement, Most people should favor it, The only possible criticisms are that "Beijing may not agree to it," or "It may not be feasible." Will Beijing agree to it? Actually a peace agreement is is one of the highest priorities in "Hu Jintao's Six Point Proposal." Beijing has no reason to refuse or reject President Ma's proposal. Is it feasible? It will be if people on Taiwan are sufficiently united. We must insist on such terms as "combatants" and "peace signatories." This will ensure that negotiators for our side have sufficient maneuvering room.
In sum, the key to President Ma Ying-jeou's campaign platform is the peace agreement. To make such a daring proposal during a presidential reelection campaign was a risky move. It was a show of political responsibility, political vision, and political courage. President Ma has elevated the importance of this election. It is now a vote of confidence in Ma Ying-jeou's cross-Strait peace agreement. On the one hand, he is appealing to the electorate, On the other hand he is asking Beijing to follow his lead. If he wins the election on this basis, he will be in a position to advance cross-Strait relations, and move it into previously uncharted territory. He will be in a position to turn "no [immediate] reunification, no independence, no use of force," into the law of the land. Conversely, if he is unsuccessful and loses, he will have to answer to history. The outcome will be determined by the electorate.
How will the DPP respond to President Ma's peace agreement? It should think before reacting. It should reconsider its blind opposition to ECFA. It should consider how it painted itself into a corner, It should think about sparing itself any further embarrassment.
2011.10.18 02:29 am