National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics should be Organized by Academia Sinica
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
April 17, 2014
Summary: A crisis is a turning point. The STA dispute has just given social development a new direction. We urge the ruling and opposition parties to set aside their differences, capitalize on the trend, work together to make this National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics a success. Give young people opportunity and hope. This is the way to benefit the nation.
Full text below:
After the student movement ended, the Executive Yuan began planning a National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics. But difficulties arose with the Advisory Group list. It was also necessary to increase community involvement. Therefore the June meeting was postponed until July. The affairs of the nation are overwhelming. A conference to establish a national consensus is essential. But the social divisions uncovered by the Sunflower Student Movement are serious. They include divisions over cross-Strait relations, reunification vs. independence, left vs. right economic policy, and generational justice. The Executive Yuan attempted to single-handedly hold a National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics confined to economic and trade issues. In the end it died a natural death and nothing was achieved.
When students occupied the Legislative Yuan and demanded a "Peoples Constitutional Conference," the government responded. Together with business groups it proposed the convening of national conference. Premier Chiang approved a National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics in June. During Taiwan's democratization, it has convened a National Conference, a National Development Conference, a Sustainable Development Conference, and an Economic Development Advisory Conference. It has abundant experience and has established many precedents. These have provided the government with suggestions from different sectors, enabled ruling and opposition party dialogue, resolved differences, created a consensus, and blazed a trail for the future.
But society is divided over a National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics. The private sector "Citizens Constitutional Conference" argues that the key is Taiwan's many unresolved constitutional problems, and that the government should not use the STA to avoid the problem. It even thinks that the National Conference is merely a children's tea party. But as China Times editorials have proposed before, the Citizens Constitutional Conference, once convened, could open a Pandora's box of controversial reunification vs. independence issues. When discussing the issue of reunification vs. independence, it is easy to issue a manifesto and dig in one's heels. This leads to out of control cross-Strait relations, political chaos and unrest, The costs outweigh the benefits.
Therefore we affirm Premier Chiang's National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics. It was the right decision. The STA is a trade issue. The conference uses this as its theme. It explores ways to link Taiwan with the international community and Taiwan with the Mainland. It explores ways to enable Taiwan's participation in regional economic integration, and addresses STA-related national security issues and economic interests, These can all be given comprehensive consideration during the conference. We believe this is a good way to discuss Taiwan's future. Discussing cross-Strait relations under the STA umbrella ensures focus, and avoids becoming sidetracked by reunification vs independence controversies. The government announced early this year that it would attempt to revive the economy. It must get through this as quickly as possible.
The Executive Yuan has handed the difficult task of convening the National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics to the newly established National Development Council. But the government has low poll ratings. Attempting to convene a consensus building conference satisfactory to both the Blue Camp and the Green camp is impossible. The National Development Conference is responsible for Executive Yuan policy development. The Free Trade Zone Pilot Program is its top priority. The Free Trade Zone land deregulation provisions have provoked social movement opposition. To avoid the Free Trade Zone from going the way of the STA, the NDC must adopt comprehensive preventive measures. We are concerned that the NDC lacks the energy to convene a National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics.
We urge the ROC government to recruit people from politically neutral agencies acceptable to the public, and allow them to organize the conference. The government should shuttle between impartial agencies, and facilitate dialogue and consultation between dedicated members of the ruling and opposition parties.
With this in mind, the Academia Sinica is the most appropriate organizer. The Academia Sinica is the ancient Imperial Academy. Academia personnel are leaders in various fields of knowledge. The 258 academicians are held in high esteem. They are national treasures. The Academia Sinica is the nation's highest academic research organization. It is already shouldering the expectations of society and putting forward policy recommendations. Having the Academia Sinica plan, co-ordinate, hold, and convene the meeting, and afterwards issue national policy recommendations, will transcend Blue vs. Green politics and establish a precedent for the government's future reference.
Is important to convene a successful National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics, establish a consensus, ensure that everyone is on the same page, establish a routine, set an agenda, prepare a meeting, select a chairman, and afterwards, issue supplementary information. Initial planning meetings are being held by various ministries based on their areas of responsibility. The meetings are being conducted by groups. Eventually the General Assembly will draw conclusions. But the government also wants to increase public participation, and listen to the views of the younger generation. Therefore its use of the Internet and live media are especially meaningful. During the student movement, the new technology defeated the traditional media. The iPad defeated SNG vehicles. Only those adept at using the latest high-technology were able to attract young people. The technology allows young people to prepare topics, provide advice, participate in online activities, and reach a final conclusion. Only this constitutes a successful, modern National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics.
A crisis is a turning point. The STA dispute has just given social development a new direction. We urge the ruling and opposition parties to set aside their differences, capitalize on the trend, work together to make this National Affairs Conference on Trade and Economics a success. Give young people opportunity and hope. This is the way to benefit the nation.
2014年04月17日 04:10 中國時報 編輯部