DPP Cross-Strait Policy Must Overcome Two Hurdles
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 4, 2012
Summary: Su Tseng-chang said "People may differ about the national flag at home, but in the international arena, the flag represents Taiwan. We must defend the ROC national flag." This was a surprising and risible comment. What it really meant was that even though the DPP advocates Taiwan independence and refuses to fly the ROC national flag at home, the Ma administration is nevertheless obligated to wave the ROC national flag in Beijing's face.
Full Text below:
The DPP's attempt to transform its cross-Strait policy has clearly run aground.
First of all, it has named its restored cross-Strait institution the "China Affairs Department" instead of the "Cross-Strait Affairs Department." A "Cross-Strait Affairs Department" implies "one China, different interpretations." A "China Affairs Department" implies "one country on each side." The hand of Taiwan independence is clearly visible. Furthermore, it is redundant. It overlaps the "China Affairs Committee" custom tailored for Chairman Frank Hsieh. Dissent within the party has forced Frank Hsieh to adopt a "neither opposing nor demanding" stance on the new "China Affairs Department."
Su Tseng-chang's strategic understanding and tactical skills were apparently unable to ensure transformation. Take Su Tseng-chang's response to the removal of the ROC national flag on Regent Street, London. He was transparently insincere. Su Tseng-chang has clearly returned to the 1999 "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." He is clearly saying that according to the current constitution, Taiwan is referred to as the Republic of China, and uses the ROC national flag. This is "amputated history." Su Tseng-chang utterly fails to address the DPP's "Taiwan Independence Party Platform," the DPP's calls for the "Rectification of Names," and the DPP's still alive and kicking "one country on each side" rhetoric. If Su Tseng-chang was really that broken up about the ROC national flag being taken down on Regent Street, why did he not vow that he would obtain this flag and make it the centerpiece of DPP political rallies? If this is what Su Tseng-chang's cross-Strait rhetoric boils down to, isn't it just a wee bit superficial? Isn't it just a wee bit deceitful?
The KMT is in trouble. The DPP may be able to win back the presidency in 2016. It may be able to return to power. But first DPP cross-Strait policy must be successfully transformed. In 2016, the DPP will encounter two hurdles. Hurdle One would be that voters on Taiwan will refuse to vote for the DPP because they don't think the DPP can win. If the DPP does win, it will encounter Hurdle Two. The ruling DPP will be held hostage by Beijing. For Taiwan, this would be a catastrophe. Judging by Su Tseng-chang's cross-Strait transformation so far, even if he helps the DPP over the Hurdle One, the DPP will not be able to negotiate Hurdle Two.
The DPP can no longer play "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" type "backdoor listing" word games. It can no longer pass off "Taiwan" as the Republic of China. It can no longer pass off the Constitution of the Republic of China as "Taiwan's Constitution," It can no longer pass off the Republic of China national flag as "Taiwan's flag." Cross-Strait coopetition is now deep rooted. Does the DPP actually imagine it can continue to skate by on such glib sophistries?
One can be certain that Beijing's bottom line in 2016 will remain "opposition to Taiwan independence" and "adherence to the 1992 consensus." This is not something the "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" can resist. The DPP must offer a response before the election. In the event it wins, it must offer a response after the election. If it responds before the election, the DPP will at least have exercised some initiative. In the event it wins but responds only after the election, the result will be political and economic catastrophe.
Blue vs. Green politics on Taiwan has led to political instability. As a result, Beijing is taking a harder line. To "opposing Taiwan independence and upholding the 1992 consensus," it has added "consolidating the one China framework." It has begun criticizing the Ma administration's "no reunification, no independence, no use of force" policy. This reflects Beijing's concern about political instability on Taiwan. It also reflects Beijing's reservations about attacking the Ma administration. Its words are heavy with subtext. It is giving the DPP advance warning. It is saying that if the DPP returns to power, the political and economic pressure Beijing applies to the DPP administration will far exceed the pressure applied to the Ma administration. When the time comes, the DPP will be able to adopt Chen Shui-bian's suicidal Taiwan independence policy. Just the opposite,it will be hostage to Beijing. It will be compelled to knuckle under. Therefore the DPP must seize the initiative and transform itself before the election. This is a far wiser strategy than waiting passively and knuckling under to pressure after the election. This is Su Tseng-chang's responsibility as party chairman. Does Su Tseng-chang understand the strategic picture well enough to pull it off?
The DPP's transformation has run aground. It has struck a reef, the struggle between Su and Tsai for the presidency in 2016. This has dealt Taiwan independence elements a stronger hand. Any transformation will be hobbled by these Taiwan independence elements. Under the circumstances, Frank Hsieh's sudden prominence could take a surprising turn. Frank Hsieh is the only DPP leader still promoting the transformation of DPP cross-Strait policy. Su and Tsai may reach a tacit understanding. They may exploit Frank Hsieh's self-sacrifice to facilitate the party's transformation. Su and Tsai may not be able to reach an understanding. They may not wish to offend Taiwan independence elements as they jockey for position. Frank Hsieh may be rendered impotent. The DPP may revert to the backdoor listing of its "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." It may continue to engage in self-deception.
Su Tseng-chang said "People may differ about the national flag at home, but in the international arena, the flag represents Taiwan. We must defend the ROC national flag." This was a surprising and risible comment. What it really meant was that even though the DPP advocates Taiwan independence and refuses to fly the ROC national flag at home, the Ma administration is nevertheless obligated to wave the ROC national flag in Beijing's face.
What it really means is that the DPP must be allowed to promote Taiwan independence. But defending the Republic of China is Ma Ying-jeou's responsibility. As chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, isn't Su Tseng-chang ashamed about indulging in such superficial and deceitful sophistry?