The DPP Cannot Cross the Chasm with Two Small Jumps
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
January 24, 2014
Summary: "Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps." If the DPP refuses to reaffirm the "one China Constitution," it will not matter what rhetoric it spouts. In Beijing's eyes it will remain the same old Taiwan independence path with different street signs. The DPP must take a big step. It must affirm the "one China constitution." It cannot cross the chasm with two small jumps.
Full text below:
"Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps."
Several DPP Taoyuan County elected officials recently held a press conference. They said "Su Tseng-chang is a man with no sense of direction and no point of view." They begged Su Tseng-chang not to run for a second term as party chairman. Their focus was the DPP nomination process. But they directed their attention at Su Tseng-chang's leadership style. Their first observation sums up Su Tseng-chang's cross-strait policy.
"Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps." So said former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, in his now famous quote. Su Tseng-chang's cross-strait policy howeer, is just that. It is a futile effort to cross a chasm in two small jumps. Actually Su has no policy, only ploys. One. He wants to take two small jumps chronologically. He wants to avoid cross-strait issues during the run up to the Seven in One Elections. He wants to wait until 2016 before tackling them. Two. He wants to take two small jumps thematically. He wants to use the "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" to stall for time. He wants to hold the " constitutional consensus," "freezing the Taiwan independence party platform," and the "Resolution on the Republic of China" in reserve.
But Su Tseng-chang's attempts to stall for time will not work. The more he evades, the more he shines a spotlight on the DPP's unresolved cross-strait policy. Take timing. This is what happened with the recent "cross-strait policy debate" proposal. This is what happened with the "three in one debate" proposal floated during the party chairmanship election. Take themes. Beijing openly criticized the "China Policy Review Minutes" as a "one country on each side Taiwan independence stance." It added that "Taiwan independence is a dead end. No matter what street signs one posts along the road, a dead end remains a dead end."
Clearly Su Tseng-chang's "two small jumps strategy" is "no sale," either inside the party, or with Beijing. During an interview with Radio Taiwan International, Su tried to hide his embarrassment by presenting three views. Ironically, they provoked even more controversy. One. He said "The Taiwan independence party platform is history. It is past tense." This implied he was has not "turned back the clock, and is not promoting Taiwan independence." But if so, why was such language not found in the "China Policy Review Minutes?" Two. His "seagulls on a beach" metaphor for cross-strait relations equated humans with seagulls. It implied "one country on each side, you go your way, I go mine" thinking. Seaguls can avoid humans by flying away. Can Taiwan increase the 130 kilometer wide Taiwan Strait by hundreds of kilometers? Three. He said, "China plus one" would be even more potent [than one China]. It implied good will toward Beijing. But "China plus one" left people with the impression that Taiwan would be nothing more than an accessory to Mainland China.
Su Tseng-chang's three views made his "two small jumps strategy" even less convincing. His waffling mollified neither camp within the party. His abortive goodwill gesture is unlikely to ingratiate him with Beijing.
DPP officials have floated several trial balloons. They include "freezing the Taiwan independence party plaform," a "constitution consensus," and a "Resolution on the the Republic of China." They do not appear in the "China Policy Review Minutes." But they have inadvertently revealed the DPP's bottom line. Public pressure inside Taiwan, and moves by Beijing, will force the DPP to put its cards on the table, sooner or later. The only difference is whether it will show its hand voluntarily, or wait until it has been painted into a corner.
The DPP will be forced to play its "freezing Taiwan independence party platform" card. The next step will naturally be "annulling its Taiwan independence party platform." The DPP will be forced to play its "constitutional consensus" card. The next step will naturally be "different constitutional interpretations" and "a constitutional one China." In fact the DPP knows that without the big step of "annulling the Taiwan independence party platform" and "constitutional one China" cards, the chasm of cross-strait policy is unbridgeable.
Nevertheless Su Tseng-chang and DPP conservatives cling to a "two small jumps strategy." They are only willing to take one small jump. They are only willing to engage in "back door listing" via the "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." They refuse to accept the "one China framework." The China Policy Review Minutes excluded terms such as "freezing," "annulling," "constitutional consensus" "constitutional one China," and "Resolution on the Republic of China." But what is the Republic of China, if it is detached from a "constitutional one China?" If the DPP insists on taking this small jump, how can it take a big step across the abyss?
The DPP insists that "one China is the Peoples Republic of China," Therefore it "refuses to be locked into the one China framework." But repudiating the "one China framework" is an admission that one is engaged in "backdoor listing." It is an admission that one is repudiating the Republic of China's "one China Constitution." Of course Beijing is going to denounce that as "one nation on each side." Therefore the DPP may tell itself that "backdoor listing" is a small jump. But in fact it is a small jump straight into the chasm.
The "One China framework" has two aspects. The first is "one China, different interpretations." This means that the ROC and PRC "do not recognize each other's sovereignty." The second aspect is the "big roof concept of China." ROC and PRC sovereignty together equal the "big roof concept of one China."
If the DPP wishes to reaffirm the Republic of China, it cannot repudiate the "one China Constitution." When the DPP genuinely reaffirms the "Republic of China stipulated by the one China Constitution," Taiwan's efforts to promote "one China, different interpretations" will be enhanced. This could be the beginning of a united Taiwan. The next step could be wrangling over the "big roof concept of China."
If the DPP refuses to reaffirm the "one China Constitution," it will not matter what rhetoric it spouts. In Beijing's eyes it will remain the same old Taiwan independence path with different street signs. The DPP must take a big step. It must affirm the "one China constitution." It cannot cross the chasm with two small jumps.
2014.01.24 03:44 am