The Key to 2016 Remains the 1992 Consensus
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 11, 2012
Summary: The two sides of the Strait have suddenly decided to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1992 consensus. If today one asks "Is there a 1992 consensus?" The answer is "Yes there is. And this is its 20th anniversary." The year 2016 will be the 24th anniversary of the 1992 consensus. We now know what the theme of the 14th Republic of China presidential election will be. It will be "Is there a 1992 consensus?" and "Do you recognize the 1992 consensus?"
Full Text below:
The two sides of the Strait have suddenly decided to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1992 consensus. If today one asks "Is there a 1992 consensus?" The answer is "Yes there is. And this is its 20th anniversary."
We say "suddenly" because this is the first time we have actually commemorated the 1992 consensus. Ten years ago, in 2002, we did not commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 1992 consensus. Back then, the Chen Shui-bian regime denied the existence of any 1992 consensus. Even Beijing did not recognize it.
The 1992 consensus was affirmed as policy in 2005, during the Lien-Hu Summit. Ma Ying-jeou was elected president in 2008. The 1992 consensus went from being KMT party policy to being Republic of China national policy. On March 26, 2008, Mainland President Hu Jintao spoke on the hotline with US President George W. Bush. He too proclaimed that the 1992 consensus was People's Republic of China "national policy." President Hu Jintao said "The Chinese mainland and Taiwan should resume consultations on the basis of the 1992 consensus. Both sides recognize only one China, but agree to define that one China differently."
Tsai Ing-wen and Frank Hsieh argue that the term "1992 consensus" was never actually used in 1992. That is true. But its intent, "one China, different interpretations," was abundantly clear. Later Lee Teng-hui proclaimed his "two states theory." The nation underwent a change in ruling parties, and the Chen administration came to power. Back then Beijing did not recognize the 1992 consensus either, and resisted it. But the Lien-Hu Summit was convened in 2005. Ma Ying-jeou won the presidential election in 2008. Bush and Hu spoke on the hotline and endorsed the 1992 consensus. Flowers bloomed on a once dead branch. Today the 1992 consensus is a verdant tree that has been around for a two full decades.
To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 consensus, is to affirm its status. The KMT and CCP must be concerned about the future of the 1992 consensus. The DPP must realize that the 1992 consensus is irreplaceable.
First consider development. We previously cited the hotline conversation between Bush and Hu. Basically Beijing acknowledged the 1992 consensus, i.e., "one China, different interpretations," and committed itself to it. Over the years, the Ma administration has repeatedly stressed "one China, different interpretations." Beijing has not repudiated "one China, different interpretations." But its actions have contradicted "one China, different interpretations." It has accomplished its goals within the "one China framework." It has drawn distinctions between its position and "one China, different interpretations." The latter, "one China, different interpretations," does not make as strong a case for reunification. Therefore if one wishes to reaffirm the "one China framework," one should move toward a "big roof concept of one China, different interpretations." Such a "one China, different interpretations" concept would make a stronger case for reunification. We suggest that the two sides seek a peace agreement and long term peaceful development on the basis of the "big roof theory of one China, different interpretations."
The 1992 consensus is irreplaceable. The DPP knows perfectly well that the 1992 consensus is a pillar of cross-Strait peaceful development. But from day one, it has repudiated the 1992 consensus. Therefore it cannot recant. Chen Shui-bian, Tsai Ing-wen, and Frank Hsieh have all insisted something along the lines of "There was no such thing as the term 1992 consensus." Their implication is that as long as the DPP is not forced to admit that anyone used the term "1992 consensus," then the DPP can advance a different argument. It can for example accept the "spirit of the 1992 talks." Frank Hsieh's recent visit to the Mainland tested the waters. He wanted to see whether his "constitutional consensus" could replace the "1992 consensus." He wanted to see if his "different constitutions, different interpretations" could replace "one China, different interpretations." His sole motive was to avoid the term "1992 consensus." It was an attempt to save face. But Wang Yi, Director of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office responded to Frank Hsieh on the spot. He insisted on using the term "1992 consensus." Now the two sides are commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1992 consensus.
This is the DPP's dilemma. Beijing does not think Frank Hsieh's "constitutional consensus" can replace the "1992 consensus." Also, DPP party leaders say the "constitutional consensus" is in violation of the Taiwan independence party platform and the rectification of names. They even denounce it as "tribute," "surrender," and "subservience." The situation has changed. The DPP might be willing to adopt Frank Hsieh's terminology. But Beijing might not. If on the other hand, the DPP repudiates Frank Hsieh's "constitutional consensus," then it would essentially repudiating the Republic of China Constitution. It would be essentially be returning to the advocacy of Taiwan independence. Even its "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" would no longer be viable. The DPP's cross-Strait policy is essentially sailing against the wind. It is not advancing. Instead, it is lagging behind. This is the DPP's dilemma.
Frank Hsieh want to transform the DPP. But he does not want to compel the DPP to recognize the term "1992 consensus." But the term "1992 consensus" is the product of 20 years of blood, sweat, and tears. How can the DPP simply change its name? Besides, the euphemism "constitutional consensus" has also been rejected by Taiwan independence forces. Therefore unless the DPP refuses to undergo transformation, the term "1992 consensus" remains irreplaceable. .
The year 2016 will be the 24th anniversary of the 1992 consensus. We now know what the theme of the 14th Republic of China presidential election will be. It will be "Is there a 1992 consensus?" and "Do you recognize the 1992 consensus?"
「九 二共識」是在二○○五年「連胡會」中，確立了它的政策性地位；而至二○○八年，馬英九當選總統，始由國民黨的政黨政策轉為中華民國政府的「國策」；並至二 ○○八年三月廿六日，大陸胡錦濤主席在與小布希總統熱線電話中宣示了相關的理念，亦成中華人民共和國的「國策」，胡主席說：「中國大陸與台灣應在『九二共 識』的基礎上恢復協商，亦即雙方都承認只有一個中國，但同意彼此定義不同。」
正如蔡英文與謝長廷所說，一九九二當 年，確實沒有「九二共識」這「四個字」；但「一中各表」的論述與精神俱在。後來，李登輝發表「兩國論」，繼而民進黨又政黨輪替，扁政府上台，北京遂不承認 「九二共識」，以相抵制。但自二○○五年連胡會，至二○○八年馬英九勝選，再加上「布胡熱線」的背書，「九二共識」又枯木生花，如今已然是一棵枝繁葉茂的 巨木，堂堂屆滿二十周年。
先 談發展性。前文所引「布胡熱線」的談話，應是北京對「九二共識」的基本認知與承諾，亦即「一中各表」；但多年來，北京雖向未否定馬政府再三強調的「一中各 表」，卻在自己的操作上諱言「一中各表」，而著力於「一中框架」。這是因為「一中各表」仍有切割性，而少整合力；然而，倘若要確定「一中框架」，即應朝向 「在大屋頂中國下的一中各表」去演進，此即「一中各表」的發展性，也將是一種具有整合力的「一中各表」。我們建議：兩岸應在「大屋頂中國的一中各表」之 上，尋求建立《和平協議》之類的機制，並在此一基礎上和平發展，共謀遠大。
再論不可替換性。民進黨明知「九二共識」 是兩岸和平發展的支柱，卻因一路否認「九二共識」，如今弄得不知如何收拾。自陳水扁、蔡英文，到謝長廷，都說過「沒有九二共識這四個字」這類的話；言下之 意是，只要不逼民進黨承認這「四個字」，只要換個說法，就可接受「九二會談的精神」。謝長廷此行即在試探，能否用「憲法共識」取代「九二共識」，用「憲法 各表」取代「一中各表」；不為別的，只在避開「九二共識」這四個字，要一個下台階。但是，國台辦主任王毅當場即回應謝長廷，還是「九二共識」這四個字，而 如今兩岸又在紀念「九二共識二十周年」。
這是民進黨的困境。謝長廷的「憲法共識」，一方面北京認為不能取代「九二共 識」，另一方面又在黨內被指為違反台獨黨綱、正名制憲，甚至被斥為「朝貢」、「投降」、「奴才」；情勢變化至此，民進黨若接受謝長廷的論述，卻未必會被北 京接受；但若否定了謝長廷的「憲法共識」，則不啻宣告根本不承認中華民國憲法，更形同又回到了台獨本位，連《台灣前途決議文》也就撐持不住了。此際，民進 黨在兩岸政策上竟如逆水行舟，不進則退，這是民進黨的困境。
謝長廷的想法是：可以轉型，但能不能不逼民進黨承認「九 二共識」這「四個字」？然而，「九二共識」這四個字，卻是經由二十年日月精華的錘煉，及心血汗淚的薰陶所成就，民進黨能叫它改名換姓嗎？何況，易名「憲法 共識」亦被獨派拒絕。因而，除非民進黨拒絕轉型，「九二共識」這「四個字」仍有其不可替換性。