Cross-Straits Future Requires Greater Imagination
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
February 13, 2014
Summary: During the recent Wang Zhang meeting the Mainland media removed the
scare quotes when referring to Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council Leader
Wang Yu-chi. If during a Ma Xi meeting they use the expression "Taiwan
authorities leader Ma Ying-jeou," that too will be perfectly natural. As
long as we have the "big roof concept of China," there should be no
obstacles to a Ma Xi meeting. Wang Yu-chi spoke at the Sun Yat-sen
Mausoleum. He essentially declared that "The Republic of China is an
integral part of the one China framework." This may well be interpreted
as tentative acceptance of the " big roof concept of China." How is one
to make sense of all these loose ends? That will require greater
Full text below:
MAC Chairman Wang Yu-chi visited the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. He read aloud the official Republic of China funeral oration. He gave a speech at BoAi Plaza, saying that Sun Yat-sen founded the Republic of China, Asia's first democratic republic 103 years ago.
When Chairman Wang spoke, the accompanying officials from Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office deliberately stood to one side. Mainland Chinese on the plaza gathered around to listen. Wang Yu-chi's actions were part of a tacit understanding with the Beijing authorities. This was a major move that marks a turning point in cross-strait relations. It inspires greater confidence in future cross-strait relations. This scenario, assuming it was the result of an understanding reached between the two sides, was a bold and imaginative move by Xi Jinping and Zhang Zhijun.
The Wang Zhang meeting has now adjourned. Zhang Zhijun made a comment that has attracted considerable attention. He said, "To overcome (cross-strait) barriers, we must use our imagination. Not just this (Wang Zhang) meeting, but future cross-strait relations require greater imagination."
Zhang's comment included the phrase "Not just this (Wang Zhang) meeting." Observers have concluded that what Zhang meant was that "a future Ma Xi meeting" will also require greater imagination. We need not interpret Zhang's comment this way. But Zhang did say that the two sides are currently not exercising enough imagination, and that the future "will require greater imagination."
Take negotiations. The 'Wang Zhang meeting made less progress than other recent bilateral talks. The discussion of most issues began with hollow terms as "concrete implementation," "pragmatic handling," "early solution," or "explore possible avenues." On the other hand, Wang and Zhang agreed to address each other by their official titles. They deliberately characterized the meeting as the very first between "one head of government and another." They began the transition from middle men to direct government to government contacts. That is the most significant political statement to emerge from this meeting.
Wang Yu-chi's speech at the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum used the official language of the Republican era and represented the views of the "Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council." Wang also delivered an official speech at Nanjing University. This shows that the Wang Zhang meeting has already exceeded most peoples' expectations. Someone once said, "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world." Will future historians say that Chairman Wang and Director Zhang changed the cross-strait scenario and the destiny of the two sides?
Consider what the Wang Zhang meeting has already accomplished. Wang and Zhang addressed each other by their official titles. This affirmed the two sides' jurisdiction. Wang Yu-chi visited the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum and made an explicit reference to the Republic of China's 103 year long existence. This affirmed the two sides' sovereignty. This scenario amounts to an implicit understanding between the two sides. It means that cross-strait relations are undergoing transition. They are entering a "non-repudiation of each other's sovereignty" and "acknowledgement of each other's jurisdiction" stage. Zhang said "future cross-strait relations require greater imagination." This, perhaps, is precisely the sort of imagination that is required.
During the recent Wang Zhang meeting, the Beijing authorities approached the matter of Wang Yu-chi's official title with caution. Director Zhang Zhijun verbally addressed Wang as "Chairman Wang" or "Chairman Yu-chi." But the Mainland media referred to Wang as "Wang Yu-chi, the head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council." It accepted the term "Mainland Affairs Council," but held back on using the title "chairman." This arrangement suggests that the Mainland media may accept the ROC government's official titles, and that it will no longer use scare quotes around these titles. Not using official titles, but instead using "Taiwan side leader Chiang Yi-hua" also amounts to a major breakthrough. By contrast, Wang Yu-chi's address at the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum used Republican era official titles and the national title of the Republic of China. The TAO said "Sun's achievements are a matter of historical record." The recent Wang Zhang meeting, which addressed official titles, jurisdiction, and sovereignty, constitutes an imaginative breakthrough. Its significance is extraordinary.
Addressing each other by their official titles is not merely a matter of jurisdiction. Mere "mutual recognition of the other's jurisdiction" does not address the real problem. One must also deal with the matter of sovereignty. Merely addressing each other by their official titles could even be misinterpreted as "one country on each side." Therefore in order to avoid having the use of official titles misinterpreted as "one country on each side," one must first deal with "cross-strait political relations under conditions in which the nation has yet to be reunified." This is the language of the CCP 18th National Congress Political Report.
The solution to the problem is the "big roof concept of China." Under the big roof concept of China, both the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China belong to one China. Their sovereignty both overlaps and coincides.
If the two sides together accept the "big roof concept of China," then the ROC and the PRC are both "part of China." In that case, when officials from the two sides address each other by their official titles, it will not lead to the presumption of "one country on each side." Instead, it will take place under and within the "big roof concept of China."
During the recent Wang Zhang meeting the Mainland media removed the scare quotes when referring to Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council Leader Wang Yu-chi. If during a Ma Xi meeting they use the expression "Taiwan authorities leader Ma Ying-jeou," that too will be perfectly natural. As long as we have the "big roof concept of China," there should be no obstacles to a Ma Xi meeting. Wang Yu-chi spoke at the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. He essentially declared that "The Republic of China is an integral part of the one China framework." This may well be interpreted as tentative acceptance of the " big roof concept of China." How is one to make sense of all these loose ends? That will require greater imagination.
2014.02.13 04:02 am