Wu Rong-I Dialogues with Zhang Nianchi
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
October 15, 2013
Summary: Taiwan is a pluralistic democracy. Different people have different desires and different demands. But the shared goal of the main political parties is to ensure the survival of the Republic of China, defend democracy and freedom, increase participation in international affairs, and enhance our capability for self-defense. The Red, Blue, and Green camps on both sides of the Strait should continue sponsoring the Peace Forum. They should increase consensus, seek common ground, and resolve differences.
Full text below:
The two-day long Cross-Strait Peace Forum has just adjourned in Shanghai. Former Vice Premier Wu Rong-I and East Asian Institute Shanghai Chapter Chief Zhang Nianchi spoke on the "fraternal relationship" between the two sides. This invited considerable speculation.
Wu Rong-I attended the forum as chairman of the "Taiwan Braintrust" think tank. During the forum, he voiced support for the "fraternal relationship concept" long advocated by think tank founder Koo Kuan-min. He argued that the two sides may have their own sovereignty and jurisdiction, but that relations can be fraternal. The "fraternal relationship concept" implies that cross-Strait relations are state to state relations. On Taiwan it has long been viewed as a Deep Green political position. Parties opposed to Taiwan independence have criticized it. Mainland officials have viewed it as a scourge.
But Zhang Nianchi, intellectual heir to ARATS Chairman Wang Daohan, responded positively to Wu Rong-I's statement. He said it was worth consideration by the Mainland side. He also said that current cross-Strait relations are the best they have been in 60 years. He said was afraid of setbacks. He said he hoped the "first economics, then politics phase" could last as long as possible. He said he was afraid that if political issues were not dealt with properly, they would lead to hurt feelings. He said that seeing people with differing political views from both sides attending the conference and discussing cross-Strait peace and some of the most sensitive political issues around, was "a major shock."
Wu Rong-I and Zhang Nianchi's reference to the "fraternal relations concept" was highly instructive, and well consideration by "those in the know." First of all, Zhang Nianchi supported the "fraternal relationship concept." This shows that Mainland think tanks have kept up with the times. It demonstrates openness and inclusiveness. By contrast, on Taiwan, Green Camp members continue to wallow in Cold War consciousness and nativist self-pity. It is hard not to worry about the prospects for cross-Strait relations and the future of Taiwan.
The "fraternal relationship concept" for cross-Strait relations may be unacceptable to the Mainland authorities and the mainstream media. But 20 years ago ARATS President Wang said "One China is not present tense. It is however, in progress." His view was unacceptable to the Beijing authorities. The result was 20 years of troubled cross-Strait relations, often on the brink of open conflict. The cross-Strait "fraternal relationship concept" is currently unacceptable to Mainland authorities. But who knows whether Beijing's thinking will change during the coming years?
Now take Taipei. President Ma Ying-jeou delivered a Double Ten speech. He said "The people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are fellow Chinese. Cross-Strait relations are not international relations." DPP leaders and the Pan Green media blasted him. They said the Ma administration was rushing headlong towards "eventual reunification." They even called his speech a "confession that he was seeking reunification."
Beginning with his first Inaugural Address, President Ma has reiterated countless times over the past five years that "The people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are fellow Chinese," and that "Cross-Strait relations are not state to state relations." President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu both visited the Mainland in search of their roots before being elected. Former Premier Frank Hsieh returned to his ancestral home last year. He too declared that he had returned to his brother's home. All three acknowledged that they were Chinese.
Ma said "Cross-Strait relations are not international relations." This has long been a fact of international politics. During President Lee Teng-hui's term, the ROC passed the "Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area." It established the "Mainland Affairs Council" under the aegis of the Executive Yuan, to promote cross-Strait affairs, and to deal with Mainland policy. The DPP's own Tsai Ing-wen served as Mainland Affairs Council Chairman. During her term, the Three Cross-Strait Mini-links were established. If relations between the two sides were relations between separate nations, i.e., international relations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would have handled cross-Strait affairs and promoted Mainland policy. Why would we have bothered to establish the MAC? The DPP can hardly carry out an action, then declare it illegal.
Taiwan is an increasingly mature democracy. It has undergone two ruling party changes. Nearly 30 years have elapsed between democratic transition and democratic consolidation. Democracy on Taiwan has become a force impossible to reverse. No one can sell out Taiwan. Any change affecting the status quo for Taiwan is subject to the consent of 23 million people. The vast majority of the people on Taiwan advocate maintaining the status quo. This includes the MAC, its representatives, and the way cross-Strait relations are defined. The status quo is changeable too of course. But so far, for most people on Taiwan , the most important consideration is the defense of democracy, freedom, and human rights -- rather than changing the way cross-Strait relations are defined.
DPP leaders and the Pan Green media have blasted President Ma, alleging that he is rushing headlong towards "eventual reunification." They imply that the Ma government can lead people around by the nose. They are truly underestimating the political wisdom of the public on Taiwan. They accuse President Ma of "confessing that he is seeking reunification" in his Double Ten National Day speech. They have obviously misjudged the political situation on Taiwan. Democracy is entrenched on Taiwan. It is a formidable stabilizing force. No political party or politician can unilaterally alter Taiwan's democracy and free way of life.
The "Cross-Strait Peace Forum" has enabled the Red, Blue, and Green camps to tolerate and understand each other. The three camps should put themselves in the others' shoes. The Peace Forum was a private think tank event. But it attracted considerable media attention on Taiwan, and was given wide media coverage Future fora will convene regularly. They will establish panels to discuss a cross-Strait peace agreement and other relevant issues. The Cross-Strait Peace Forum should be viewed as an opportunity for Mainland views to be heard on Taiwan. Cross-Strait peace and development must endure. Therefore we are happy to see it succeed.
Taiwan is a pluralistic democracy. Different people have different desires and different demands. But the shared goal of the main political parties is to ensure the survival of the Republic of China, defend democracy and freedom, increase participation in international affairs, and enhance our capability for self-defense. The Red, Blue, and Green camps on both sides of the Strait should continue sponsoring the Peace Forum. They should increase consensus, seek common ground, and resolve differences. The three sides must follow the example of Zhang Nianchi and Wu Rong-I, and generously express mutual acceptance.
中國時報 本報訊 2013年10月15日 04:10