Cross-Strait Peace is the Long-Held Consensus
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 24, 2011
Summary: With the presidential election only 80 days away, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou announced his "golden decade" campaign platform. The cross-strait peace agreement he set forth provoked widespread debate. It has many supporters, but also many critics. From an election strategy perspective, President Ma should not have raised this issue. But cross-Strait relations is an issue that Taipei cannot avoid. President Ma has shifted the focus of the election back to the issues. That is a positive development.
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With the presidential election only 80 days away, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou announced his "golden decade" campaign platform. The cross-strait peace agreement he set forth provoked widespread debate. It has many supporters, but also many critics. From an election strategy perspective, President Ma should not have raised this issue. But cross-Strait relations is an issue that Taipei cannot avoid. President Ma has shifted the focus of the election back to the issues. That is a positive development.
As early as 2003, President Chen Shui-bian suggested that the two sides establish a "peace and stability interaction framework agreement," predicated upon peace, the establishment of consultative mechanisms, reciprocity, constructive political relations, and the avoidance of military conflict. The Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council at the time was current Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen.
In 2004, the People First Party proposed a "Cross-Strait Peace Promotion Law," and submitted a draft to the legislature for approval. Predicated upon the "five noes" and the 1992 consensus, the draft proposed that "If Taipei does not declare independence, Beijing will not use force." The two sides would sign a peace agreement maintaining the cross-Strait status quo for 50 years.
In 2005, KMT party chairman Lien Chan led a delegation on a "journey of peace" to the Chinese mainland. He and CCP leader Hu Jintao reached a "five visions" agreement, based on the 1992 consensus. They proposed cross-Strait talks, and hoped the two sides could reach a peace agreement.
The premise of the Lien/Hu summit became the basis of Ma Ying-jeou's 2008 presidential campaign platform. President Ma has provided fairly clear insights into his thinking. When inspecting the nation's defenses or meeting with foreign guests, he has invariably "put Taiwan and the public welfare first." He has insisted that a high degree of mutual trust between the two sides is a prerequisite for cross-Strait negotiations. He has demanded equality. dignity, and a win/win scenario. He has demanded that cross-Strait negotiations meet the expectations of other nations in the region, as well as the international community. His preconditions were even stricter than Chen Shui-bian's.
In other words, the content of the three presidential candidates' campaign platforms may be different. But none of the three presidential candidates have any reason to characterize a peace agreement as a scourge against humanity. Why have different groups within society arrived at such different conclusions about Ma's peace agreement? It is undoubtedly because Ma Ying-jeou chose this moment to raise the issue. Ma stepped into a political minefield. Ma Ying-jeou campaign committee chief King Pu-tsung made similar comments while visiting the United States. But the Office of the President issued a solemn statement repudiating King's statement. President Ma reemerged to clarify the matter, only to become the target of criticism.
President Ma's proposed peace agreement has three prerequisites: a national need, public support, and legislative oversight. Tsai Ing-wen blasted Ma's peace agreement. She said it posed four dangers. She said it sacrificed sovereignty, changed the status quo, endangered democracy, and undermined strategic depth.
Tsai Ing-wen underscored the fact that the DPP's peace agreement was not predicated on the 1992 consensus. The DPP refuses to acknowledge the 1992 consensus, Tsai allowed herself to be painted into the DPP's rhetorical corner. Lest we forget, the cross-Strait agreements signed by the Ma administration over the past three years are all based on the 1992 consensus. The DPP has avoided one of the most important aspects of the 1992 consensus, namely "shelving disputes" and "one China, different interpretations." Since the premise is different interpretations, sacrificing sovereignty or changing the status quo is not really a concern. Tsai Ing-wen is free to interpret one China with the Republic of China, and the Republic of China with Taiwan.
Tsai Ing-wen has not precluded the possibility of cross-Strait political negotiations. But she has set three preconditions: sovereignty, democracy, and peace. But how are her preconditions any different from President Ma's? President Ma even conceded that a public referendum is one way of expressing the public will. The DPP was in power for eight years. It proposed one referendum after another. It equated referenda with the Will of the People. It treated public referenda as instruments by which to assert sovereignty, President Ma has adopted some of the DPP's thinking. Shouldn't the DPP welcome his move?
Let's take an even more realistic look at the issue. If the two sides wish to reach a peace agreement, they must reach a consensus on complex and sensitive issues such as the two sides' political status, military confidence-building mechanisms, and international participation. Prolonged study will be needed before conditions on Taiwan are ripe, before a consensus can be reached, and a referendum can be held. Besides, President Ma stipulated that no peace treaty would be signed without a public referendum. As one can imagine, the referendum law has a high threshold. The distance between Ma Ying-jeou's "vision for the decade" and a peace agreement is vast.
But on Taiwan, big things start small. The ruling administration had enough initiative and goodwill to propose a peace agreement. It hopes a new decade can replace the last, This is an important matter, conducive to stable, peaceful, long term cross-Strait development.
Ever since the lifting of martial law, the biggest political difference on Taiwan has been reunification vs. independence. Practically speaking, given the current situation, neither peaceful reunification nor peaceful independence is possible. Forceful reunification or forceful independence would start another war. This is not something either side looks forward to. Maintaining the status quo, establishing a long-term framework for peaceful development and prosperity, is the best option for cross-Strait relations. Most importantly, a peace agreement is not the ultimate goal of cross-Strait relations. The ruling and opposition parties should arrive at a consensus through debate. Changes in ruling party must not lead to sudden changes in cross-Strait policy. The ruling and opposition parties must conduct themselves responsibly.
總統大選倒數八十天，國民黨參選人馬英九總統在「黃金 十年」系列政見發表會中，拋出推動兩岸和平協議的想法 ，引起廣泛討論，支持者有之，批評者也不少，從選舉策 略分析，馬總統有沒有必要提出此議題是一個觀點，但兩 岸關係與政策確是台灣不能迴避的重要課題，把選戰拉回 關鍵議題的戰場，未始不是好事。
事實上，早在二○○三年前總統陳水扁就提出兩岸之間有 建立「和平穩定互動架構協議」的必要性，其前提是：和 平原則、建立協商機制、對等互惠交往、建構政治關係、 防止軍事衝突。當時的陸委會主委正是此刻民進黨的總統 參選人蔡英文。
此外，親民黨在二○○四年也曾提出《海峽兩岸和平促進 法》草案送交立法院審議，草案主張在「四不一沒有」與 九二共識的前提下，以「台灣不獨，中共不武，雙方保證 維持兩岸現狀五十年」的條件，簽署兩岸和平協議。
國民黨則在二○○五年由當時的黨主席連戰率團赴大陸進 行和平之旅時，與大陸領導人胡錦濤達成「五大願景」， 以九二共識為基礎，推動兩岸復談，希望能達成兩岸和平 協議。
連胡會的基礎，甚至在二○○八總統大選時，成為馬英九 的政見。馬總統在任期之內，不論是視察軍事防務、或者 接見外賓都曾經提及，馬總統相當完整地詮釋過他的想法 ：一定要「以台灣為主，對人民有利」，兩岸之間要有高 度互信，符合兩岸協商各項協議的要求，絕對要對等、尊 嚴與互惠，同時也得符合區域或者國際社會的期待。其前 提甚至比陳水扁有過之而無不及。
換言之，即使內容有異，但總統大選可能的三組候選人都 沒有道理對和平協議視若洪水猛獸，何以會引爆各界如此 歧異的解讀？無庸置疑，因為馬英九此刻拋出此一議題， 已經落入選舉操作的陷阱，馬英九競選辦公室執行長金溥 聰訪美時即曾有過類似說法，卻遭總統府嚴正澄清，此刻 馬總統再出面自陳其見，徒然惹人非議。
但就實質內涵而言，馬總統所提和平協議有三個前提：國 家需要、民意支持、國會監督，就不至於落入蔡英文嚴詞 批評的會讓台灣人民面臨四個危險：犧牲主權、改變現狀 、危及民主、以及破壞戰略縱深。
蔡英文認為民進黨的和平協議沒有九二共識的一中結構， 又讓自己陷入民進黨堅拒九二共識的泥淖，不要忘了：馬 政府三年多來簽署各項兩岸協議都是以九二共識為基礎； 此外，民進黨始終迴避九二共識最重要的內涵是「擱置爭 議，一中各表」，既已各表，就不必擔心犧牲主權改變現 狀，因為我們的「一中」正是蔡英文口中的「中華民國是 台灣」。
蔡英文並不否定兩岸政治協商的可能性，但以「三個堅持 」為前提：堅持主權、堅持民主、堅持和平，這和馬總統 的堅持何異？遑論馬總統還強調公投也是表現民意的一種 方法。民進黨執政八年，動輒公投，不但把公投視為民意 ，更把公投做為彰顯主權的工具，馬總統向民進黨靠攏， 應該表示歡迎才對。
更貼近現實來看，兩岸要達成和平協議，至少要在彼此定 位、軍事互信機制、國際參與空間等複雜敏感的問題取得 共識，在台灣內部從從條件成熟、凝聚共識、到交付公投 ，更需要極長的時間研商，再加上馬總統說公投不過就不 會簽署，以公投法的高門檻，可想而知，和平協議距離馬 英九的「十年願景」還遠得很。
但是，做為以小事大的台灣，由主政者主動提出和平協議 的想法和善意，以一個十年換取下一個十年，卻是非常重 要的事，而且有利於兩岸長久、穩定的和平發展。
統獨是台灣解嚴廿多年來，政治上最大的歧見，務實地看 ，當前兩岸既無和平統一的可能，也無和平獨立的希望， 至於武力統一或獨立，都將再掀戰禍，絕非兩岸所樂見， 維持現狀，建立長期和平發展繁榮的架構，是兩岸關係的 最佳模式。最重要的，和平協議既非兩岸關係的終極結局 ，朝野從辯論中逐步建立共識，甚至避免政黨輪替對兩岸 關係動盪的影響，才是朝野政黨負責任的作為。