Explain Your Cross-Strait Policy to the Common Man
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 26, 2014
Summary: Relations between the two sides have become increasingly close.
Taiwan politics cannot exclude the "Mainland Factor." The DPP and the
CCP have yet to conduct formal exchanges. But the blue, green, and red
parties already form an equilateral triangle that affects Taiwan's
politics. The 2016 election will have an enormous impact on Taiwan's
future. The three parties have a responsibility to make their
post-election policies and attitudes clear. They must make themselves
understood, so that the people can make an informed decision.
Full Text Below:
Recent developments have undermined Kuomintang rule. The Sunflower Student Movement and the Chang Hsien-yao case have endangered cross-Strait relations. The year end nine in one elections are fast approaching. Public anxiety is palpable. The nine in one elections will impact the 2016 presidential election. Will yet another change in ruling parties harm Taiwan's future and the peoples' well-being? With the general election looming, the cross-Strait outlook remains daunting. The two parties' cross-Strait policies remain vague and chaotic, deepening public concerns.
During past elections, political parties and candidates on Taiwan engaged in "spittle exchanges." Important policy discussions remained fuzzy. Voters discovered that what the candidate said before the election, and what he did after the election were two different things. External factors, including the Mainland and the United States, began to exert an increasing influence on Taiwan elections. The Mainland of course, is always concerned about election results on Taiwan. The public on Taiwan is also concerned about cross-Strait relations in the wake of elections. Therefore it high time the blue, green and red parties all made their positions crystal clear.
The Ma administration won a second term in 2008. It promoted large scale cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges. It enabled Taiwan's economy to maintain a 2 to 3 percent growth rate. It facilitated peaceful development between the two sides. But the KMT's "no reunification, no independence, no use of force" policy failed to offer people a long term vision for their nation. Lack of idealism led to loss of consensus. Some think the KMT's cross-Strait policy is too conservative. They think we must establish military confidence building measures and cross-Strait political negotiations, as soon as possible. Others think the KMT has been too hasty. They think it has made Taiwan too economically dependent upon the Mainland. They think the Mainland will use business as stalking horse for politics, bringing us to the negotiating table.
The "no reunification, no independence, no use of force" policy, is a policy without a principle, one that myopically seeks temporary safety. It has lost its appeal for young people. At best, it is consistent with the status quo and with mainstream public opinion. But the fact remains it lacks direction, it lacks vision, and it lacks idealism. The sands of time march on. The tides of fortune ebb and flow. There is no such thing as an unchanging status quo. The KMT has successfully promoted the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. But it has now come to the hard part. It now faces challenges both from within and without. Within, it must unite in order to win the nine in one elections. Without, it must pass the STA, must negotate the MTA, and advance cross-Strait development, enabling Taiwan to connect with the international economy. The "no reunification, no independence, no use of force" policy is unworkable. The KMT must make clear what its next step will be.
When Chen Shui-bian was in power he made a shamble of cross-Strait relations. Taiwan's economy nearly stalled. Diplomatic relations turned into a war zone. Even the US, which has always been friendly to Taiwan, lost all patience. The DPP, which waves the holy sacred banner of Taiwan independence, may make a comeback in 2016. Taiwan's economic prosperity, cross-Strait relations, and even diplomatic relations may deteriorate. Faced with this situation, Will the DPP cling for dear life to Taiwan independence? The DPP must make its position clear to the Taiwan public.
Party Chairman Tsai Ing-wen has been evasive about her response to the proposed freeze to the Taiwan independence party platform. She submitted the proposal to the Central Executive Committee, hoping to see which way the electoral winds blow before proceeding further. She even said that if the green camp wins the election, the Mainland will modify its policy to accomodate the DPP. The DPP is a past master at campaign strategy. It knows the best way to scare up votes. In 2000 Chen Shui-bian's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" duped swing voters. Following the election it reverted to Taiwan independence ideology and de-Sinicization. Will Tsai Ing-wen do the same thing? What kind of relations will she maintain with the Mainland after the election? Will Mainland China be an enemy, a partner, a neighbor, or a member of our own family? The DPP must explain.
Cross-Strait relations have led to the formation of an equilateral triangle, with the red, blue, and green parties at each corner. Every time an election is held on Taiwan, the Mainland reiterates its cross-Strait policy. This undoubtedly affects voter behavior. In 2000, Mainland Premier Zhu Rongji's anti-independence declaration played an important part in Taiwan's election. The key to the 2012 presidential election was the debate over the 1992 consensus. During the 2016 election, the Mainland's attitude will inevitably play a decisive role.
If the Kuomintang retains power in 2016, cross-Strait relations will enjoy continuity. They will continue along the path of peaceful development. But if the DPP takes over, what attitude will the Mainland adopt? Will cross-Strait relations regress or stagnate? KMT morale is low. Its public approval ratings have hit bottom. The year end nine in one elections have upset the traditional blue north/south green power distribution. Green power is gradually expanding northwards. The DPP has been deliberately fuzzy about its cross-Strait policy. Once it seizes power however, it is likely to adopt the same de-Sinicization and soft Taiwan independence strategies as when Chen Shui-bian was in office. How will the Mainland respond? Will cross-Strait relations be frozen, yet again? Could this detonate another Taiwan Strait military crisis? The Mainland must make its position clear.
Relations between the two sides have become increasingly close. Taiwan politics cannot exclude the "Mainland Factor." The DPP and the CCP have yet to conduct formal exchanges. But the blue, green, and red parties already form an equilateral triangle that affects Taiwan's politics. The 2016 election will have an enormous impact on Taiwan's future. The three parties have a responsibility to make their post-election policies and attitudes clear. They must make themselves understood, so that the people can make an informed decision.