The Easy and the Difficult in Cross-Strait Relations
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
July 26, 2013
Summary: The DPP is attempting to go from "refusing to recognize the 1992 consensus" to "determining how to deal with the 1992 consensus." Beijing meanwhile, has concluded that the 1992 consensus fails to provide a sufficiently secure political link between the two sides. Therefore it has begun promoting the "one China framework."
Full text below:
The DPP is attempting to go from "refusing to recognize the 1992 consensus" to "determining how to deal with the 1992 consensus." Beijing meanwhile, has concluded that the 1992 consensus fails to provide a sufficiently secure political link between the two sides. Therefore it has begun promoting the "one China framework."
During the June Wu Xi meeting, Wu Poh-hsiung reiterated his support for the 1992 consensus. But Xi Jinping has not mentioned the 1992 consensus since. Instead, he has emphasized the "one China framework." What sort of political message is he sending? That has yet to be determined.
Last November the CCP 18th Party Congress incorporated the 1992 consensus into ts Political Report. But this move was followed by a search for one China political links and talk of "exploring cross-Strait political relations under special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified, and making reasonable arrangements." This is part of Beijing's quest for more secure political links. Apparently Beijing feels the political links provided by the 1992 consensus are inadequate. It wants to replace the 1992 consensus with the "one China framework."
In late June, Renmin University Professor Huang Jiashu told Frank Hsieh that "Beijing has never recognized one China, different interpretations." But this is incorrect. On March 26, 2008, George W. Bush and Hu Jintao spoke on the Beijing-Washington hotline. Hu said "The Chinese mainland and Taiwan will resume negotiations on the basis of the 1992 consensus. This means that both parties recognize that there is only one China, but agreed to define it differently, based on their own interpretations." Hu's statement was "one China, different interpretations." It was a key pillar for five straight years of cross-strait peaceful development. Beijing may wish to reconsider the pros and cons of the 1992 consensus and one China, different interpetations. But it cannot take back what it said, or renege on its promises.
Recent cross-strait peaceful development is undoubtedly based on the 1992 consensus and one China, different interpretations. Yet Beijing is now refusing to recognize "one China, different interpretations." It is stressing instead the 1992 consensus and the one-China principle. Beijing feels that "one China, different interpretations" fails to provide sufficiently robust political links between the two sides. Therefore it has floated the "one China framework."
In fact "one China, different interpretations" does provides political links. Since the 2012 Wu Hu meeting, authorities on both sides have agreed to use "each of the two parties' existing laws, regulations, and institutions" as the basis for cross-Strait exchanges. This means they consider the two sides' constitutions to be political links. During the Wu Xi meeting, Wu Poh-hsiung cited this as the basis for the "one China framework," The Constitution of the Republic of China is a "one China Constitution," with "one country, two regions." Therefore if Beijing publicly overthrows "one China, different interpretations," it is actually undermining support for the "one China framework."
The problem is that "One China, different interpretations" still implies "You are you. I am me." The "different interpretations" portion is a reality. But the two sides lack any consensus on "one China." Beijing may wish to use the "one China framework" as a replacement or supplement for the 1992 consensus. But the result would still be a "one China framework, different interpretations." It would not result in a more secure political connection.
Cross-strait relations are currently in shallow waters. Therefore "one China, different interpretations" may be sufficent. But if one wishes to enter deeper waters, an agreement must be reached on the meaning of "one China," above and beyond "one China, different interpretations." Only then can one establish more secure political connections. Deeper waters means we must cope with the following realities. . First, the nation has yet to be reunified. Secondly, its circumstances are special. Thirdly, the two sides of the Strait seek political relations. . Fourthly, the two sides of the Strait seek reasonable arrangements. In short, the Republic of China and the Peoples Republic of China should explore cross-strait political relations under special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified, and make reasonable arrangements.
Beijing is switching from the "one China principle" to the "one China framework." But Beijing has not always been clear about what it means by the "one China principle" or the "one China framework." In fact, what Beijing means is that "One China is the People's Republic of China." Beijing thinks that the "One China framework means abolishing the Republic of China. Everything would then be included within the framework of the People's Republic of China. " But Beijing cannot say this. It dares not say this. Because it cannot achieve it. Even if it could, attempting to do so could lead to catastrophe, both for China and the world.
Therefore if one wishes to enter deeper waters, one must establish a one China framework, for circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified. This does not negate any longing for reunification. But one must establish a political connection that enables the PRC and the ROC to enter deeper waters.
What's the difference between deeper and shallower waters? A old poem says "Deep waters are difficult to cross, shallow waters are easy." Those crossing shallow waters need only roll up their trouser legs. Those crossing deeper waters have no choice but to dive in and get completely wet. Whether the water is deep or shallow, one must be prepared to respond as the situation requires.
Deeper waters involve two contrary factors. First, one can easily drown in deeper waters. Deeper waters are high-risk areas. If both sides drown in deeper waters, the result would be a major disaster for Chinese history and even human civilization. Secondly, deeper waters provide greater buoyancy. As long as one's intentions are true, there is no reason for the Republic of China and People's Republic of China not to make the attempt. The mainland would win. Taiwan would win. China as a whole would win. Global civilization would win.
The 1992 consensus and one China, different interpretations is shallow water. All one has to do is roll up one's pants legs. Today however, if one wishes to enter deeper waters, one should consider this newspaper's "big roof concept of China." One will have to dive in and get wet. One must take advantage of the buoyancy provided by the deeper waters. That way one will not drown.
The big roof concept of China states that under the big roof of China, the Taiwan Region is democratic China while the Mainland Region is socialist China. Both regions are part of China. Both belong under a big roof concept of China. In other words, "The two sides' sovereignty include each other. Together they form one China."
This is the "one China framework." Deeper waters are difficult to cross. Shallow waters are easy. Why not let the two sides give serious consideration to the "big roof concept of China?" Why not enter the deeper waters together?
2013.07.26 03:42 am