Past Accomplishments and Future Developments:
Can Lien-Xi Summit Transcend Lien-Hu Summit?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
February 22, 2013
Summary: The 2005 Lien-Hu Summit made a significant historical contribution. Let
us hope that the 2013 Lien-Xi and Lien-Hu Summits do more than
commemorate past accomplishments. Let us hope they faciliate future
developments, and lead the two sides toward a new realm. The 2005
Lien-Hu Summit changed the world. The 2013 Lien-Xi Summit should move
heaven and earth. The Lien-Xi Summit could even surpass the Lien-Hu
Summit. At the very least it must not retreat or turn back the clock. We
hope both sides do their utmost to create a new future for cross-Strait
Full Text below:
Honorary KMT Chairman Lien Chan has accepted an invitation to visit the Chinese mainland this Sunday.
This will be the first time that CCP Secretary-General Xi Jinping has met Lien Chan. It will be the last time PRC President Hu Jintao meets Lien Chan in his official capacity. According to reports, it is the first time the CCP General Secretary and the PRC President have ever separately hosted the same visiting VIP. In the past, one person always assumed two roles. The CCP General Secretary would also serve as PRC President.
As we all know, today's cross-Strait relations are built on a foundation established during the 2005 Lien-Hu Summit. Beijing is about to undergo a handover of power. They have invited Lien Chan to raise the curtain on cross-Strait interaction. Incoming and outgoing party and national leaders Xi Jinping and Hu Jintao will meet with Lien separately. This means that in Beijing's eyes, the 2013 Lian-Xi Summit recalls the 2005 Lien-Hu Summit, and heralds future developments. We hope the summit commemorates past accomplishments, but even more, we hope it facilitates future developments.
First consider past accomplishments. On the Beijing side, the cross-Strait policy promoted by the Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping teams' is reflected in the CCP's 18th Party Congress Political Report. Generally speaking, Hu laid down the rules and Xi followed them. But the 18th Party Congress Cross-Strait Political Report includes a great deal of unfinished business. Therefore it lies somewhere between "past accomplishments" and "future developments." On the Taipei side, Lien Chan in 2005 was Chairman of the Kuomintang. Today in 2013, Lien Chan is merely an Honorary Chairman. Lien Chan is one step removed from both the KMT as a political party, and the KMT as the ruling government. Lien Chan is conveying the Ma Ying-jeou team's policy stance to Beijing. But he also hopes to express his own ideas about cross-Strait relations. Lien will inevitably find himself on the horns of a dilemma, caught between commemorating his past accomplishments and conveying a message affecting future developments.
The upcoming Lien-Xi and Lien-Hu summits commemorate past accomplishments. But more importantly, we hope they will facilitate future developments. During the upcoming summit Xi Jinping will discuss cross-Strait policy, for the very first time. This will set the tone. Lien Chan, as one of the two pioneers of the 2005 Lien-Hu Summit, will share his hopes for future cross-Strait relations. This will both commemorate past accomplishments and facilitate future developments. Take past accomplishments. This summit commemorates the past accomplishments of the 2005 "Five Hopes for Peaceful Development." Take future developments. On the one hand, we see unfinished business from 2005. On the other hand, we anticipate a breakthrough, to future developments that transcend the accomplishments of 2005.
If what we seek is future developments that transcend past limitations, then the agenda of the summit is clear. It must focus on the CCP 18th Party Congress Political Report. It must focus on "Exploring the special case of cross-Strait political relations under conditions in which the two sides have yet to be reunified." We must combine this reasoning with Beijing's "taking the two sides' existing provisions (i.e., constitutions) as our point of departure." We must "seek a link that joins the two sides into one China." Under this framework, the two sides can shift the focus from "reunification" to "yet to be reunified" cross-Strait relations. We can "make reasonable arrangements." We can use "a reasonable process to guide cross-Strait interaction, in a better direction."
This framework constitutes the "special circumstances under which the two sides have yet to be reunified." This is the issue we ought to address. We have amended the past "reunification or bust theory" to "making reasonable arrangements." This has corrected past unilateralism. The "special circumstances under which the two sides have yet to be reunified" refers of course to the "special circumstances under which the ROC and the PRC have yet to be reunified." If we can create a "yet to be reunified but reasonable" framework, this will relieve Beijing of the burden to "reunify." It will also relieve Taipei of the need for handwringing over "Taiwan independence."
Reunification vs. independence struggles force Beijing to cope with reunification, and Taipei to cope with Taiwan independence. We must change our thinking, and focus on the "yet to be reunified relationship," The two sides will then be able to move towards a more stable and positive future. We must make the transition to the next significant stage of cross-Strait relations. We must ensure "peaceful development" under "yet to be reunified special circumstances." Only then will the Lian-Xi Summit and Lien-Hu Summit commemorate past accomplishments, and faciliate future developments.
International attention is focused on the cross-Strait summit. The person with the most freedom of action and ability to transcend limitations is Lien Chan. Xi Jinping, Hu Jintao, and "remote participant" Ma Ying-jeou are bound by their job positions. Even if they want to achieve a breakthrough, they may be afraid to or unable to speak. Lien Chan alone is free and without constraints. Only he has credibility with the public on both sides. Therefore, we hope Lien Chan will take advantage of his freedom and lack of constraints, to transcend the framework of the government and political parties. We hope he will convey the aspirations of the people on both sides, and help leaders on both sides blaze a new trail for cross-Strait relations.
The 2005 Lien-Hu Summit made a significant historical contribution. Let us hope that the 2013 Lien-Xi and Lien-Hu Summits do more than commemorate past accomplishments. Let us hope they faciliate future developments, and lead the two sides toward a new realm. The 2005 Lien-Hu Summit changed the world. The 2013 Lien-Xi Summit should move heaven and earth. The Lien-Xi Summit could even surpass the Lien-Hu Summit. At the very least it must not retreat or turn back the clock. We hope both sides do their utmost to create a new future for cross-Strait relations.
2013.02.22 04:24 am