Unconditional Acceptance: Tsai Ing-wen Has No Alternative
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 4, 2014
Summary: In 2000, Tsai Ing-wen forced Chen Shui-bian to repudiate the 1992
Consensus. Beijing is now waiting for her to declare that she will
adhere to 1992 Consensus and oppose Taiwan independence. In 2013 Tsai
Ing-wen "unconditionally accepted" ECFA. Now, however, she has ruined
her chance to "unconditionally accept" the STA and Free Trade Zones.
Globalization is here to stay. If the DPP hopes to return to power, it
must "unconditionally accept" and "continue the previous
administration's cross-Strait policy." Tsai Ing-wen has no other
Full Text Below:
Tsai Ing-wen was elected party chair by 93% of the vote. This underscores her standing within the DPP. The next day, a poll showed her public approval rating trailing Eric Chu's by a mere 1%. This underscores her political support among the general public.
Following her defeat in 2012, Tsai Ing-wen said that if it hopes to return to power, the DPP must focus on the "final mile." Having been elected party chair however, she has changed her tune. She now says that she wants the DPP to focus on the "first mile." She said "Let us change the DPP, and furthermore change Taiwan." But the media thinks Tsai Ing-wen had better change Tsai Ing-wen first.
Does the DPP hope to return to power? If it does, it makes no difference whether it focuses on the "last mile" or the "first mile." The only change that will make a difference is changing its cross-Strait policy. It must put people at ease. But what did Tsai Ing-wen do? She demanded a constitutional amendment to promote the the "first mile." Clearly her words are at odds with her actions. They may well be a smokescreen to confuse the public.
Tsai Ing-wen argues that a constitutional amendment is required because the "votes are not of equal value." She says this is the main reason the DPP cannot win in Kinmen, Lianjiang, Taitung, Hualien, and sparsely populated aboriginal legislative districts. She says this leads to discrepancies in the votes to seats ratio. But the problem is not with the electoral system. There is no reason Kinmen and Matsu cannot be a single district. The DPP loses because of its image and its policies. Tsai Ing-wen's real motives for demanding a constitutional amendment are threefold. One. She hopes to discredit the constitution. She hopes to falsely characterize it as unfair to the DPP. Two. She hopes to turn the constitutional amendment into a political football. She hopes to drag in all sorts of issues, including national identity and the presidential system vs. the cabinet system. She hopes to confuse the public. The constitutional amendment will not pass. But she will have succeeded in muddying the political waters. Three. She hopes to demagogue constitutional issues to draw attention away from her defective cross-Strait policies. She hopes to confuse the public. She hopes to avoid cross-Strait issues by seeking safety in constitutional issues.
This is known as "setting the agenda." Tsai Ing-wen knows that cross-Strait issues are the key to 2016. She knows she cannot escape this fact. Therefore she hopes to drag in constitutional issues to confuse the public. She hopes to reduce pressure on herself and the DPP on cross-Strait issues. Unfortunately this amounts to "covering one's ears while stealing a bell." This is an "ostrich with its head in the sand" strategy.
Chao Tian-ling was Tsai Ing-wen's Director of Chinese Affairs during her first term as party chair. Chao visited the US in February. According to Chao, U.S. officials said the DPP does not recognize the 1992 Consensus, therefore 2016 will probably be a replay of 2012. In 2012, Tsai Ing-wen failed to complete the "final mile" because she refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus. Tsai Ing-wen now insists on a replay the same script with her "first mile." If Tsai Ing-wen hopes for a different outcome, she must begin by reversing her position on the 1992 Consensus.
Frank Hsieh unsuccessfully attempted to substitute his "Constitutional Consensus" for the 1992 Consensus. As everyone could see, the Beijing authorities reiterated their bottom line. They demanded adherence to the 1992 Consensus and opposition to Taiwan independence. Beijing clearly has no intention of yielding on this point. The 1992 Consensus is a familiar proposition for both sides. Its meaning is clear. It needs no further elaboration. In other words, the agenda for the 2016 presidential election may still be adherence to the 1992 Consensus and opposition to Taiwan independence. In which case, does Tsai Ing-wen intend to respond by saying "What 1992 Consensus?" Tsai Ing-wen may be able to get elected by refusing to respond altogether. But she cannot refuse to respond in the event she is elected.
If Tsai Ing-wen cannot escape even the bonds of the 1992 Consensus, she is likely to trip over the same rope again in 2016. Tsai Ing-wen must hitch a ride on the Ma administration bandwagon. She must help the STA, the Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Bill, and Free Trade Zone Special Regulations pass.Yet she has openly declared her intention to "forcefully" obstruct them, then sit back and watch as these goldern opportunities are lost. If Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP return to power, they may refuse to "unconditionally accept" the Ma administration's policies. If so, how will the nation survive?
Tsai Ing-wen should help the DPP and herself by unconditionally accepting those conditions necessary to maintain cross-Strait relations. Globalization and cross-Strait relations leave her no alternative. Besides ECFA. TPP, and RCEP, Taiwan has nowhere else to go. This is where the Ma administration can immediately make a difference. If the DPP refuses to cooperate, Tsai Ing-wen will be helpless in the event she is elected. Even if she is not helpless, she will have missed a golden opportunity. The DPP may be able to "forcefully" obstruct the Ma administration's cross-Strait policies. But Tsai Ing-wen must promote the early adoption of these bills. Otherwise she will destroy the very policies she will need to "unconditionally accept." That will amount to political suicide.
In 2000, Tsai Ing-wen forced Chen Shui-bian to repudiate the 1992 Consensus. Beijing is now waiting for her to declare that she will adhere to 1992 Consensus and oppose Taiwan independence. In 2013 Tsai Ing-wen "unconditionally accepted" ECFA. Now, however, she has ruined her chance to "unconditionally accept" the STA and Free Trade Zones. Globalization is here to stay. If the DPP hopes to return to power, it must "unconditionally accept" and "continue the previous administration's cross-Strait policy." Tsai Ing-wen has no other alternative.
2014.06.04 04:44 am