Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Big Roof Concept of China: DPP Should Leapfrog KMT

Big Roof Concept of China: DPP Should Leapfrog KMT
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
July 3, 2013

Summary: Frank Hsieh is akin to a dentist pulling a tooth. Taiwan independence is a decayed tooth that he has loosened with pliers. The decayed tooth no longer functions. But it continues to take up space on the gums. Sooner or later however, it is bound to loosen and fall away.

Full Text below:

Frank Hsieh is akin to a dentist pulling a tooth. Taiwan independence is a decayed tooth that he has loosened with pliers. The decayed tooth no longer functions. But it continues to take up space on the gums. Sooner or later however, it is bound to loosen and fall away.

Last October Frank Hsieh completed his "Journey of Exploration." He met with then State Council Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi. He also met with current director Zhang Zhijun, who was in Shenzhen to attend talks in Hong Kong. DPP insiders have been highly critical of Hsieh. But party disciplinary measures can clearly no longer prevent him from making ever bolder moves. Years ago Hsu Hsing-liang was expelled from the DPP for suggesting that the party "boldy go west." Frank Hsieh is unlikely to emulate Hsu. But he apparently hopes to be the DPP counterpart to Lien Chan.

On international, cross-Strait, and internal Taiwan matters, the trend within the DPP is to echo Su Tseng-chang. Su declared that the DPP "must not turn back the clock (in order to promote Taiwan independence)." Debate over Taiwan independence is increasingly a part of internecine struggles within the DPP. It has already become a phony issue.

The real tooth extraction is being performed by the Beijing authorities. Frank Hsieh is merely a pair of pliers in Beijing's hands. As long as Frank Hsieh can continue to cast Mainland policy as party reform, the DPP cannot expel him. The decayed tooth that is Taiwan independence will inevitably loosen and fall away. The decayed tooth of Taiwan independence must fall away. Only then can the DPP replace it with a new implant. If the decayed tooth that is Taiwan independence remains in place, and does not vacate its position, the opportunity to install new implants will be lost. The result will be the DPP's worst nightmare.

Taiwan independence has become a bone of contention within the DPP, in two ways. One. It is a bone of contention between reformers and Taiwan independence fundamentalists. Two. It is a bone of contention between Su and Tsai in the upcoming 2016 presidential election. Fundamentalists such as Yao Wen-chia argue that the issue of Taiwan independence has no bearing on the big picture, internally or externally. They argue that the rivalry between presidential candidates Tsai and Su is what is hindering DPP cross-Strait policy reform. They argue that the result is sure to be a lose-lose scenario, both for Su and for Tsai. If policy reform fails, the DPP cannot win in 2016. Even if it is fortunate enough to win, it will not be able to govern the nation based on current policy. This is a consensus shared by all factions within the DPP. This is why Frank Hsieh's rhetoric has become increasingly heated. So far no one has been able to shut him up or expel him from the party.

Frank Hsieh has defended the Republic of China Constitution in public. He has also reiterated his advocacy of a "constitutional one China" in closed-door talks with Zhang Zhijun. This must be considered a major milestone in DPP cross-Strait policy reform. So far Frank Hsieh's "constitutional one China" has no firm definition. Frank Hsieh has repeatedly amended it on a piecemeal basis. His current interpretation appears to be "overlapping sovereignty" and "both sides have a right to govern that is not subordinated to the other." This probably amounts to a return to the "one China constitution." It is no different that the Ma administration's "one China, different interpretations" position.

Frank Hsieh has a dilemma. Whether he admits it or not, his "constitutional one China" inevitably leads to "one China, different interpretations." This being the case, he is sure to encounter opposition from Taiwan independence advocates. Accusations that he is "plagiarizing the KMT" will make it difficult for him to win over swing voters. Given his predicament, Frank Hsieh should take full advantage of his freedom of action. He should use the "constitutional one China" argument to raise cross-Strait relations to the next level, to the "big roof concept of China" advocated by this newspaper. Such a rationale would transcend the "one China, different interpretations" rationale. It would amount to an upgraded version of "one China, different interpretations." It would leapfrog the KMT. It would elevate understanding of the cross-Strait relationship to a newer and higher level.

In fact, "constitutional one China" and the "big roof concept of China" are the same proposition on different levels. Frank Hsieh's plight will be the same whether he champions a "constitutional one China" or a "big roof concept of China." He will be attacked by his comrades just as vehemently. But if he elevates the cross-Strait framework to the level of a "big roof concept of China," he will not be "plagiarizing the KMT." He will leapfrog the KMT. He could redraw the map for Blue vs. Green political struggle.

The "big roof concept of China" is something the Ma administration does not dare touch. It is also something Beijing is reluctant to raise. Frank Hsieh enjoys greater freedom of action. But is is something that Hsieh, as an incoming leader, can make his platform. As long as Frank Hsieh does not depart from the "one China framework" or "constitutional one China," his argument will be considered "sensible and logical." In fact, he can dismiss Taiwan independence advocates within the party as diehards. As long as people in positions of influence on both sides consider Hsieh's argument "sensible and logical," he may be able to set the agenda for cross-strait relations.

The "constitutional one China" argument and the "one China framework" require linkage points. The "big roof concept of China" is precisely what Frank Hsieh should use to upgrade the existing framework; This being the case, DPP cross-strait policy reform may be able to leapfrog the KMT. It may be able to transcend the Blue camp. It may be able to persuade "non-Taiwan independence" forces on both sides of the Strait to think anew.

Frank Hsieh should use the "big roof concept of China" to replace the decayed tooth that is Taiwan independence, accelerating its loosening and falling away.

2013.07.03 02:04 am












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