Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Squaring the Circle: Su Tseng-chang Reverts to Taiwan Independence

Squaring the Circle: Su Tseng-chang Reverts to Taiwan Independence
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
A Translation
January 15, 2014

Summary: The DPP cannot overthrow the "one China framework." In particular, it cannot successfully maintain that "one China is the People's Republic of China." This is a suicidal position. It must fight for the dignity and interests of the Republic of China under the "one China constitutional framework."

Full text below:

On May 29 last year, Su Tseng-chang said, "The DPP will not turn the clock back and promote Taiwan independence."

On Thursday however, the DPP issued its "Minutes of the 2014 China Policy Review." Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office read it, and concluded that it "obdurately clings to the one country on each side Taiwan independence stance," and that its "so-called core values are incitement of hostility and confrontation."

Has Su Tseng-chang "reverted to promoting Taiwan independence?" If he has not, and the Taiwan Affairs Office has misunderstood, then Su Tseng-chang ought to come forward and declare "I have not reverted to promoting Taiwan independence." Conversely, if the Taiwan Affairs Office is correct in its reading of the minutes, Su should come forward and explain why he reverted to promoting Taiwan independence .

In response to the Taiwan Affairs Office allegations, a DPP spokesman said, "The DPP's basic values and positions remain unchanged. However its policies must be modified for changing times." The DPP spokesman added, "It is firmer where it must be firm, and more flexible where it must be flexible." The DPP was responding to an earlier Beijing statement that "we will be firmer where we must be firm, and softer where we must be soft." This, however, precisely underscored the fundamental contradictions within the minutes. The minutes basically said "Our Taiwan independence stance must be firmer, our willingness to engage in exchanges must be more flexible." In other words, the DPP would continue its rejection of the one China constitution. it would cling to its hardcore Taiwan independence stance even while advocating broader exchanges with the Mainland.

But this is squaring the circle. It is impossible, logically as well as practically. Just as there can be no such thing as "white colored black" or "living corpses," so there can be no "flexible cross-strait exchanges under hardcore Taiwan independence." This fundamental contradiction is precisely what the minutes illustrates so clearly.

The TAO said the minutes promoted Taiwan independence. The DPP issued no denial. By default, it conceded that the minutes were essentially "Taiwan independence minutes." Ker Chien-ming proposed "freezing the Taiwan independence party platform." But the DPP rejected his proposal. This also proves that the DPP clings to Taiwan independence. Frank Hsieh advocated a "constitutional consensus." The DPP rejected that as well. One aspect was especially absurd. The DPP worked on its "China Policy" for six months. It published it on Thursday. Su Tseng-chang then announced that the DPP might consider holding a "China Policy Debate." If so, what were the five committee meetings and nine Huashan meetings all about? Game playing? Now the question is, until such a "great debate" is held and its conclusions made public, what are we to make of the DPP's "China Policy?" The DPP's "China Policy" asserts that "Our Taiwan independence stance must be firmer, our willingness to engage in exchanges must be more flexible?" Does that still count for anything at all?

The underlying premise of the minutes is that "One China is the People's Republic of China." The rest of the minutes refer to "China vs. Taiwan," to "Chinese vs. Taiwanese," and invoke "one nation on each side" political reasoning. It advocates strengthening national defense, rejecting diplomatic truce, and emphasizing Taiwan's role in the "first island chain." It even refers to cross-strait economic exchange "verbiage," to use Frank Hsieh's term. It argues that cross-strait trade "helps reinstate the KMT's old authoritarian state capitalism." (Do Taiwan companies such as Foxconn and 85 Degrees Celsius doing business on the Mainland really amount to the reinstatement of KMT authoritarian state capitalism?) it argues that cross-strait trade has widened the class gap in society. (Is cross-strait trade really the sole reason or even the main reason for the widening of the class gap?) The minutes also calls for Taiwan to join the TPP and RCEP. It underscores the DPP's irrational opposition to the trade in services agreement. (If Taiwan participates in the TPP or RCEP, how can it possibly avoid the "China factor?" The DPP wants to shut out the "China factor" by obstructing the trade in services agreement issue. But if Taiwan joins the TPP or RCEP, the "China factor" will be overwhelming.)

The "China Policy Review Minutes" brims over with Cultural Revolution era rhetoric. It is tough on the outside, but soft on the inside. It contains faulty reasoning masquerading as fierce determination. The Taiwan Affairs Office characterized it as a declaration of war on Mainland China by "hardcore Taiwan independence" elements. Needless to say, it is also a DPP declaration of war on "China Policy" within Taiwan. In practical terms, the minutes backs down. It states that "Taiwan must aggressively consolidate an internal consensus as the basis for cross-strait dialogue." This inadvertently acknowledges that a "Taiwan consensus" is nowhere to be found, and has yet to be "consolidated." The DPP inadvertently acknowledges that "to date there is no consensus, therefore we must await its consolidation." So just what is the DPP's "China Policy?" Is it self-deception, or self-amusement?

There is no such thing a "circular square." It is impossible to "square the circle." It is impossible to have "flexible cross-strait exchanges under hardcore Taiwan independence." The DPP advocates "flexible exchanges," but its rhetoric rings false. The DPP clings to Taiwan independence, but it is clearly unable to rid itself of this albatross around its neck. The minutes attempt to square the circle. The result is neither circular nor square. The square is Taiwan independence being shot. The circle is DPP exchanges being mocked.

The DPP's cross-strait policy debate has entered the "deep end of the pool." The DPP must return to one China as defined by the Republic of China Constitution. It must cease "backdoor listing" via the "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." Its first step should be to reaffirm the Republic of China by endorsing "different constitutional interpretations" or "one China, different interpretations." This is the first level of the "one China framework." Its second step should be to embrace a "generic concept of China" such as the "big roof concept of China." It should seek to co-exist side by side with the People's Republic of China. This is the second level of the "one China framework."

The DPP cannot overthrow the "one China framework." In particular, it cannot successfully maintain that "one China is the People's Republic of China." This is a suicidal position. It must fight for the dignity and interests of the Republic of China under the "one China constitutional framework."

2014.01.15 04:43 am












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