KMT-CCP Peace Agreement Presents Limitless Possibilities
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
August 14, 2013
Summary: On the 8th of this month, Want Want China Times Media Group Chairman and founder Tsai Eng-meng made a proposal during the "Cross-Strait Peace Wealth Creation Forum." Tsai proposed that the KMT and CCP sign a peace agreement. His proposal is consistent with scholarly research. Peace is a process that proceeds from small to large, from easy to difficult, from near to far. Everyone ought to give this fact serious consideration.
Full text below:
On the 8th of this month, Want Want China Times Media Group Chairman and founder Tsai Eng-meng made a proposal during the "Cross-Strait Peace Wealth Creation Forum." He urged Taipei and Beijing to sign a peace agreement. But realizing differences of opinion persisted on Taiwan, he urged the Kuomintang and the Communist Party to take the initiative of signing a peace agreement first. Only peace can build trust and create wealth. Opposition parties on Taiwan can catch up later. If such constructive and creative ideas can be implemented, the possibilities for cross-Strait relations are limitless.
Tsai made his proposal because he believes peace is an overarching value. A peace agreement would mean that the Chinese Civil War has officially ended. ARATS Vice Chairman Zheng Lizhong, who was present, considered it an excellent suggestion. MAC Vice Chairman Chang Hsien-yao also agreed with Tsai's proposal. The KMT said it would be happy to see the parties discuss cross-strait peace. Great achievements must begin with humility. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Achieving anything requires a process. As long as the parties are willing to listen, nothing ought to be ruled out.
As early as April 2005, during the first Lian Hu meeting, the KMT and CCP expressed the desire to sign a peace agreement. The KMT returned to power in 2008. Mainland President Hu Jintao seized the opportunity to improve bilateral relations. On December 31, he announced his six point policy for Taiwan. Once again, Beijing raised the issue of a cross-strait peace agreement. The Mainland demonstrated considerable goodwill and a willingness to cooperate.
In May 2008, President Ma Ying-jeou took office. Based on the 1992 consensus, he proposed a cross-strait provisional framework. He called for no [immediate] reunification, no independence, and no use of force. He unilaterally adopted a series of measures to improve relations with the Mainland. In January 2012, the Taiwan Region of the Republic of China held a presidential election. President Ma Ying-jeou was re-elected. During the election campaign, President Ma reiterated his vision for a "golden decade." In it he proposed the conditional deliberation and negoatiation of a cross-strait peace agreement. His proposal attracted considerable attention.
Consider a peace agreement between the two sides, such as Tsai's proposed agreement between the the KMT and CCP. Skeptics may say that the KMT and CCP can laugh away their past difference like brothers. Relations between the two may be harmonious. Cross-strait relations may not be what they once were. But the KMT and the CCP do not have the final say. One ought not create a tangled web and make things more complicated than they need to be. Consider the matter in a more positive light. This could be a gradual solution to the problem, a way to realize peace. How can anyone object?
Scholars researching the matter say a peace agreement requires complex advance negotiations. It requires preliminary and interim agreements. It requires broad agreement over the framework. It requires attention to implementation. The peace agreement would be subdivided into structure and content. The protocol would be subdivided into procedure, substance, and structure. A peace agreement should also address past grieveances, provide security guarantees, promote reconciliation, establish trust, and normalize relations. Each process is complex. Obviously the peace agreement must include different phases and different content. It is an ongoing process. Put simply, peace cannot be achieved overnight.
The results of research show the following. One. There can be no peace without compromise. Two. Peace must be a consensus reached by a majority. They must see it as just. Three. Peace must bring benefits. Four. The benefits of peace must be socially acceptable. Five. A society must be determined to achieve peace. Six. Peace today is no guarantee of peace tomorrow. But benign interaction can help protect a fragile peace. Seven. Peace often requires third party support. This support is often merely a formality. Eight. The longer the ceasefire, the more difficult it is to persuade the disputants to enter the peace process. The temporary state has become a fact of life. Nine. The more people involved in the peace process, the more robust the peace. Ten. The more communication and cooperation between different social strata, the more enduring the peace.
This does not mean that meeting all the conditions will guarantee peace. Nor does it mean that one or two missing conditions make peace impossible. Both sides may seek peace. They may not rule out a peace agreement. But they may lack mutual trust. They may be too self-centered. They may assume they are on the right side of history. They may consider only their own case. Self-restraint may be perceived as weakness. Self-protection may be perceived as provocation. The other side's words and deeds may make a just peace impossible. One side may refuse to make concesssions to deny the other side the satisfaction of winning. One sie may demand concessions but refuse to reciprocate. Any hope for peace may be lost in the process.
Tsai has proposed that the KMT and CCP sign a peace agreement. His proposal is consistent with scholarly research. Peace is a process that proceeds from small to large, from easy to difficult, from near to far. Everyone ought to give this fact serious consideration.