Taiwan and Mainland must Merge, KMT and CCP must Reconcile
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 8, 2014
Summary: In 2005 the Lien-Hu summit broke the ice in cross-Strait relations. The
opportunities for development it opened up for cross-Strait peace have
endured until today. But we have now come to a turning point. We must
now reflect, adjust, and regroup. The Want Want China Times Group "Want
News" founder Tsai Yen-ming delivered a speech yesterday. He proposed a
new way to reflect, adjust, and regroup vis a vis cross-Strait
Full Text Below:
In 2005 the Lien-Hu summit broke the ice in cross-Strait relations. The opportunities for development it opened up for cross-Strait peace have endured until today. But we have now come to a turning point. We must now reflect, adjust, and regroup. The Want Want China Times Group "Want News" founder Tsai Yen-ming delivered a speech yesterday. He proposed a new way to reflect, adjust, and regroup vis a vis cross-Strait relations.
In recent years, cross-Strait relations have not always been smooth sailing. But we have continued to build consensus, seek breakthroughs, and forge ahead. We held the Lien-Hu summit. We reaffirmed the 1992 consensus. We implemented cross-Strait three links. We enabled a growing number of Mainland tourists to visit Taiwan. We signed cross-Strait agreements, including ECFA. We enabled representatives from both cross-Strait associations to visit each other. We declared a cross-Strait diplomatic truce. We enabled Taiwan to return to a number of international organizations. We even enabled the highest officials from Taiwan and the Mainland charged with cross-Strait affairs to meet. Each of these events was an historic breakthrough. Each of them consolidated cross-Strait peaceful development. Each of them benefitted people on both sides. Unfortunately an undercurrent of opposition to improved cross-Strait relations has long haunted us. Cross-Strait relations includes a number of complex Gordian knots. These have yet to be cut, often because of changes in Taiwan's internal politics. Blue vs. green confrontation has steadily escalated, multiplying our problems.
Since late last year, cross-Strait relations have stagnated. They have remained in limbo. One example is the STA, which remained stalled in the Legislative Yuan until March of this year. Sporadic political turbulence led to massive student protests. The student movement was driven by anxiety concerning the future among youths on Taiwan. It revealed hidden whirlpools and reefs that could hinder the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.
STA review remains stalled. The Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Bill remains in dispute. The MTA will not be approved in the foreseeable future. The Wang Zhang meeting ignited political turmoil. Cross-Strait relations have reached a stage where the three parties on the two sides, as well as the people in general must face the problems head on. The time to deal with deep-seated contradictions in cross-Strait relations is upon us.
Several deep-seated contradictions bedevil cross-strait relations. One. Cross-Strait relations have been developing peacefully. This has unquestionably enabled the public on Taiwan to benefit. But deep in their hearts, many on Taiwan still distrust and fear the Mainland. A five year long "Annual Survey of Cross-Strait Relations" conducted by the Wang News has released its latest findings. Full liberalization of cross-Strait tourism exchanges has been in effect for some time. Nevertheless a significant percentage of people on Taiwan have yet to meet a single Mainlander. Some people do not even want to interact with people from the other side. Under such circumstances, the two sides must address the historical grievances that remain in the hearts of some on Taiwan.
During the Japanese occupation of Taiwan independent thought was impossible. But beginning in 1949, Taiwan implemented nearly 40 years of anti-Communist, hate Communism public education. This led to a one-sided understanding of modern Chinese history, and ignorance and misconceptions regarding contemporary Chinese development. When Cold War confrontation ended, the Mainland moved toward reform and openess. When the KMT changed its anti-Communist policy, some people remained unaware that times had changed. They interpreted cross-Strait reconciliation as "the KMT and CCP colluding to sell out Taiwan." Such historical problems require more aggressive efforts before they can be overcome.
Many issues are involved. They include the two sides' development since the mid-19th century, the historical significance and merits of the 20th century Chinese revolution, the history and nature of the civil war, and the global significance of Mainland reform and opening. All of these require cross-Strait exchange, dialogue, and consensus. They require extensive discussions and consensus among those in the know on both sides of the Strait. They require public discussion to overcome the historical grievances buried deep inside some people on Taiwan. At the appropriate time, efforts by the major political parties on the two sides may lead to a political declaration, one that removes obstacles to future cross-Strait relations, and that "resolves long-standing cross-Strait confrontation." Only then can the two sides "break through the bottleneck, and establish a deeper level of mutual trust." Only then can Taiwan independence thinking be eliminated. This is the historical and social significance of Mr. Tsai Yen-ming's "KMT-CCP Declaration of Reconciliation" initiative.
Over the years, "Love for Taiwan" has become a PC slogan. It has become a slogan beloved of government and party officials alike. Populist demagogues determined to incite social tensions dress up their rhetoric with "Love for Taiwan." During blue vs. green political battles, "Love for Taiwan" is used to attack the other party. But what kind of political philosophy or policy advocacy truly expresses "Love for Taiwan?" That is almost never discussed.
The Sunflower Student Movement erupted. The STA was delayed. This underscores the seriousness of this political impasse. To reverse the situation, Mr. Tsai Yen-ming has solemnly appealed to the KMT, the DPP, and the CCP, the three major parties on both sides of the Strait. For the future of Taiwan, "They must speak clearly. They must speak plainly. They must provide the people of Taiwan with the knowledge and experience that will enable them to make the right decisions."
Three. The third deep-seated contradiction in cross-Strait relations concerns confusion over "Taiwan's future and the future of the two sides of the Strait. " Over the years, internal political dialogue and speculation on Taiwan has invariably invoked rigid "reunification" or "Taiwan independence" labels, making progress impossible, and social consensus difficult. To overcome this contradiction, we must abandon this dualistic "either reunification or Taiwan independence" mindset. We must seek out cross-Strait commonalities. We must envision a path of coexistence and shared prosperity. Based on this kind of thinking, Mr. Tsai Yen-ming has proposed that the "two sides each contribute what they do best, and merge into one." This is a flexibile and forward-looking perspective. In this context, it means close economic cooperation between the two sides to achieve specific programs.
The "deep-seated contradictions" in cross-Strait relations cannot be ignored. We must be more pragmatic and courageous. Only then can we face them and resolve them. This is the shared responsibility of everyone on Taiwan and everyone on the Mainland. We must work together for a greater purpose. Mr. Tsai Yen-ming has advanced this novel perspective in the hope of bettering cross-Strait relations.