Ma Ying-jeou's Cross-Strait Policy: Blue, Green, and Red Must Reach an Accord
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 22, 2014
Summary: Ma Ying-jeou 's cross-Strait policy has been in effect for six years. But it is self-limiting. Beijing is concerned that it is bound to the Green Camp, and has little room for development. What we need is a solution that meets the needs of all three camps, blue, green, and red. What we need is a solution that involves the greatest overlap between all three camps, blue, green, and red. The blue, green, and red camps must reach a tripartite accord. The government must apply the finishing touches to Ma's cross-Strait policy. Otherwise it could all come to naught. Disaster hangs in the balance.
Full Text Below:
In 2008 President Ma Ying-jeou began his first term. At the time the hot political and economic topic was cross-Strait relations. Today, only two years remain in President Ma's second and last term. Today the hot political and economic topic is globalization.
Globalization means that Taiwan cannot avoid cross-Strait exchanges. But it also means Taiwan has an opportunity to use globalization to control cross-Strait relations. Over the past six years, the Ma administration's strategy has been to use ECFA to normalize cross-Strait and international relations, then use the TPP and RCEP to help Taiwan globalize. This "cross-Straits first, globalization next" strategy is essentially correct. It has been strongly affirmed by the U.S. and the international community. It is favorable to the balance of power in the world. It will benefit both sides of the Strait, and both the blue and green camps on Taiwan. Ma must firm up his "cross-Straits first, globalization second" framework while he is still in office. If he can do this, even if another change in ruling parties takes place in 2016, the shocks and injuries inflicted upon cross-Strait relations and Taiwan internally will be limited.
But such a strategic plan depends on others. It has major limitations. Beijing still has reservations about "accepting the other side's jurisdiction." In early February Wang Yu-chi and Zhang Zhijun addressed each other by their official titles. But they made clear that this "cannot be applied to other agencies," even as the hoped for a Ma Xi meeting. The above constraints prevent any breakthrough in cross-Strait relations. Meanwhile, over the past two years, the DPP missed the opportunity to undergo reform. It was affected by the student movement, and reverted to advocating Taiwan independence. It is now obstinately standing in the way of the STA and free trade zones. As a result cross-Strait relations have taken a backward step.
Consider the role of the DPP. Hot war has already erupted in the 2016 political struggle. Opposition to Ma is conflated with opposition to Ma's policies. Take the 2013 presidential election. Tsai Ing-wen initially opposed ECFA. She denounced it as "pandering to [Mainland] China" and "selling out Taiwan." But later during the campaign, she opposed Ma but "unconditionally accepted ECFA." Clearly her opposition to Ma's policy was phony. Only her opposition to Ma was genuine. The DPP opposes Ma at every turn. It conflates opposition to Ma with opposition to Ma's policies. Because it opposes Ma, it opposes STA. Because it opposes Ma, it opposes free trade zones. The DPP knows that standing in the way of the "first cross-Straits, then globalization" path will bring Taiwan to ruin. Even if the DPP wins in 2016, it will Inevitably face catastrophe. The student movement could result in a Closed Door Policy, rooted in Taiwan independence and opposed to the STA and free trade zones. If so, Taiwan will run headlong into a brick wall. It will commit economic suicide. The DPP knows all this perfectly well. Will Ma Ying-jeou's "first cross-Straits, second globalization" strategy be given a chance to work? The DPP is unlikely to play a constructive role in this.
Consider Beijing's role. For Beijing, the student movement must have been a bolt out of the blue. Beijing never imagined that its thoughtful concessions would be perceived by people on Taiwan as "economic conspiracy." It assumed Taiwan independence sentiment would diminish as a result of generational factors. It never expected the Taiwan independence movement to pass the baton to a younger generation. As we can see, cross-Strait relations must give the public on Taiwan a sense of political equality, self-esteem, civic pride, and security. Otherwise economic and trade exchanges or concessions will only provoke political anxiety on Taiwan .
Wang and Zhang referring to each other by their official titles this February. As we can see, this reflected belated awareness. The Wang Zhang example remained inapplicable to other agencies. In effect, progress was aborted. Lung Ying-tai cannot visit the Mainland in her capacity as Minister. By extension, the Ma Xi meeting remains stalled by the same concerns. Why can't the two sides facilitate a Ma Xi meeting simply by referring to each other as "leader?" In one fell swoop cross-Strait relations would be elevated to a new level.
The student movement told Beijing something. Under the one China framework, cross-Strait relations must provide the public on Taiwan with a sense of political equality, self-esteem, civic pride, and security. Otherwise persuading a majority of people on Taiwan to identify with Chinese as an ethnicity, China as a nation, and the Chinese as a people, will be impossible. Persuading them to proceed with political integration under the concept of China will be even more difficult. One might say that the greater the pressure to integrate, the greater the resistance. Therefore cross-Strait relations calls for a new framework based on the "big roof concept of China, with the two sides separately ruled." Beijing should take the lead.
Beijing remains mired in "peaceful reunification," and "one country, two systems." The Green Camp remains mired in "one country on each side." The Ma administration remains mired in "one China, different interpretations," and "No reunification, no Taiwan independence, and no use of force." The blue, green, and red camps should jointly create a new framework. In this framework, reunification would include independence, and independence would include reunification. This would amount to a "big roof concept of China with the two sides separately ruled."
Ma Ying-jeou 's cross-Strait policy has been in effect for six years. But it is self-limiting. Beijing is concerned that it is bound to the Green Camp, and has little room for development. What we need is a solution that meets the needs of all three camps, blue, green, and red. What we need is a solution that involves the greatest overlap between all three camps, blue, green, and red. The blue, green, and red camps must reach a tripartite accord. The government must apply the finishing touches to Ma's cross-Strait policy. Otherwise it could all come to naught. Disaster hangs in the balance.
2014.05.22 04:05 am