Giving In Order to Get: Fair and Reasonable Cross-Strait Arrangements
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
October 30, 2013
Summary: Recently Liu Guosheng, President of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, issued some "Suggestions for Peaceful Development and Fair and Reasonable Arrangements." This should be considered a breakthrough on the Mainland side. Liu's suggestions are worth affirming. The two sides need not remain mired in empty rhetoric and vain babblings. Liu's suggestions offer a rough draft. The two sides should see them as food for thought.
Full text below:
The CCP 18th National Congress Political Report spoke of "exploring cross-Strait political relations under special circumstances in which the nation is not yet reunified, and making fair and reasonable arrangements." Recently Liu Guosheng, President of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, issued some "Suggestions for Peaceful Development and Fair and Reasonable Arrangements." This should be considered a breakthrough on the Mainland side. Nevertheless, Liu's suggestions include some serious blind spots.
During the Cross-Strait Peace Forum Liu Guosheng said, "Current cross-Strait political relations are relations within the same nation's sovereign territory. They are relations between two opposing regimes of differing strength." He added, "Do not lightly equate one China with either the People's Republic of China or the Republic of China." These two passages made two breakthroughs.
One. Liu publicly referred to the two sides as "two opposing regimes." Two. Liu added that "One China should not be lightly equated with either the People's Republic of China or the Republic of China." But Liu's suggestions also included a blind spot. Since "one China" should not be equated with either the PRC or the ROC, just what is the "one China" he is referring to? As we can see, Liu Guosheng's suggestions may contain breakthroughs. But they also contain blind spots.
A. Liu offered six suggestions. Liu apparently wanted to make breakthroughs in order to improve the situation. But his six suggestions call for an "end to hostilities and the signing of a peace agreement" as a precondition. They do not see these breakthroughs and improvements as paving the way for the signing of the peace agreement.
For example, Liu suggests that the "Taiwan side first formally approve the two sides, one nation position." He suggested that with the exception of the Olympic Games and other high-visibility international events, the ROC national title, national flag, and national anthem could be displayed at ordinary international events, and that the PRC need not directly intervene whenever the ROC publicly displays its political symbols.
Liu's suggestions recognize that the ROC has a national title, a national flag, and a national anthem. But these breakthroughs and improvements should be viewed as a means of enhancing friendship and mutual trust before the signing of a peace agreement. They should not be used as bargaining chips in exchange for a peace agreement. In recent years, Beijing has changed its stand on the display of ROC flags at international sports events. It no longer advocates public and direct interference. It knows that if it reacts too harshly, the public on Taiwan will be even more opposed to a peace agreement. Liu spoke of "two sides, one country." He spoke of "after the Taiwan side officially recognizes that the two sides are one country." He said "Do not lightly equate one China with either the Peoples Republic of China or the Republic of China." What did Liu mean by "one country" in his suggestions? That has yet to be made clear. His premise has yet to be defined. Therefore it cannot serve as an instrument of theoretical interpretation or political implementation.
B. Liu's suggestions also say that "with the end of hostilities and the signing of a peace agreement, the Mainland may gradually relax restrictions on the Taiwan side's central government, with the exception of agencies involved in national defense and foreign diplomacy. It may gradually relax restrictions on the terminology for Taiwan side agencies. Scare quotes would no longer be used. Officials would be addressed by their official titles. Under these preconditions the two sides could increase mutual trust. Even the Taiwan authorities official titles are negotiable.
Such remarks show that Beijing is aware of what cross-Strait improvements and breakthroughs must be made. But if we already know that cross-Strait relations are "relations between two regimes," why characterize them as "relations between two hostile regimes?" Why not characterize them as "coopetition between two friendly regimes?" If we can do this, then the changes in official titles can lay the groundwork for a peace agreement, instead of presenting an obstacle to a peace agreement.
C. The chief blind spot in Liu's suggestions is the sovereignty issue. Liu supports "mutual non-recognition of sovereignty claims" and opposes "two Chinas with different names but the same substance." This is Beijing's proposal. The Ma government refers to it as "non-recognition of each other's sovereignty." But according to this logic, the two sides "do not recognize each other's sovereignty." According to this logic, the PRC and the ROC are "two opposing regimes" that constitute "two governments." But neither the PRC nor the ROC can be "lightly equated with one China." We must work together to create a "Third Concept of China," or a "Big Roof Concept of China" that transcends both the PRC and the ROC. Otherwise how can we establish what Liu spoke of, "two regimes within one China?"
Liu's suggestions show that Beijing realizes the current arrangement includes many senseless and unreasonable conditions. These senseless and unreasonable conditions should not exist. Therefore a peace agreement is all the more urgent. We must try to improve these conditions. We must create the conditions necessary for a peace agreement. Two conditions are essential. One. Do not equate one China with either the People's Republic of China or the Republic of China. Instead, create a "Third Concept of China" or "Big Roof Concept of China." Two. Before the two sides sign a peace agreement or reach a final solution, they should see each other as "two regimes enagaged in friendly coopetition." They should see each other as "hostile regimes." After all, the two sides are no longer fighting a civil war.
Liu's suggestions are worth affirming. The two sides need not remain mired in empty rhetoric and vain babblings. Liu's suggestions offer a rough draft. The two sides should see them as food for thought.
2013.10.30 02:34 am