If the DPP Opposes ECFA, Why Not Invoke Article XVI?
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 14, 2014
Executive Summary: "Do not betray Taiwan!" Now that is a phrase we have long
listened to with a jaundiced ear. The DPP and Tsai Ing-wen however, must
now take this admonition seriously. The DPP is holding in reserve Article XVI, the ECFA termination
clause. It can proclaim its cross-Strait policy before the people. It
can then give "serious consideration to supporting" the ECFA follow-up
bill. It can give Taiwan a way out. It can spare Taiwan. Please!
Full Text Below:
"Do not betray Taiwan!" Now that is a phrase we have long listened to with a jaundiced ear. The DPP and Tsai Ing-wen however, must now take this admonition seriously.
The PRC-ROK FTA has been finalized. Our media describes it as "a nightmare come true." But listen to what some DPP spokespersons are saying. Some are saying that, "Certain industries on Taiwan will of course be adversely affected. But the degree of the impact, will to a considerable extent, depend on changes in objective conditions and the government's response." Some say, "The DPP is determined to sign all manner of FTAs. It is not putting all its eggs in one basket."
This rhetoric initially comes off as pretentious. But upon closer examination, it comes across as utterly incomprehensible. The DPP says the Ma administration is exaggerating the damage. It says Ma administration officials are competing with each other, seeing who can exaggerate the most in order to frighten the people. But one estimate issued by the Ma administration has remained consistent. If Taiwan fails to approve the STA and MTA, over the next three to five years it will suffer trade and economic losses ranging from 250 billion to 650 billion NTD. Once the damage has been done, Taiwan will find it difficult to recover. The DPP has conceded that "certain industries will be adversely affected." Yet it insists that "the extent of damage will be difficult to estimate." The DPP insists that "It is difficult to say whether there will be any real impact." Is the DPP saying that Perng Huai-nan and others in industry, government, and academia are deceiving the public and making much ado about nothing? If so, would the DPP please provide us with its own loss estimates? Would it please let us know what the impact will be to Taiwan's bottom line? Will it state plainly whether it thinks Taiwan ought to suffer such losses?
The DPP insists that “The (extent of the losses) will depend on changes in our objective circumstances and the government's response." Would the DPP be so kind as to share precisely what sort of "changes in our objective circumstances" will ameliorate such losses? The DPP refers to "the government's response." Does it mean that the government's response should be to abandon its advocacy of the STA and MTA? The DPP adopted a scorched earth policy when it obstructed passage of ECFA. Yet it yearns to take part in the TPP, RCEP, ant o sign FTAs with other governments. It insists that Taiwan should put its eggs in different baskets. Yet it obdurately refuses to put any of its eggs in the Mainland Chinese basket, which is the world's largest marketplace. Never mind that “distant water cannot fight a nearby fire.” The DPP's "Globalization without [Mainland] China” is unmitigated nonsense.
The DPP is deceiving the people. Politically it cannot bring itself to support the ECFA follow-up agreements. Pragmatically it lacks the courage to repudiate the ECFA follow-up agreements. The DPP opposes the STA and the MTA. It refuses to fight. It refuses to peace. It refuses to surrender. It refuses to walk. The only thing it can bring itself to do is procrastinate. The DPP insists on "strict review." If so, shouldn't the legislative process be open to review? The DPP demands "specifics." If so, would the DPP be so kind as to tell us what it wants, specifically? The reality is that for the DPP, "strict review" means "no review," and "specifics” means "nothing you specify will ever be specific enough." The DPP's bottom line is procrastination.
The PRC-ROK FTA is a fatal blow to Taiwan's economy and trade relations. The public must not allow the DPP to get away with its wishy-washy, tough on the outside, craven on the inside posturing. The DPP can demand "strict review." It can demand "specifics." But in the end it must defer to the democratic principle of majority rule and allow the majority in the Legislative Yuan to fulfill its constitutional duties. After all, this is a major event. Hundreds of billions in economic and trade interests are at stake. It affects Taiwan's economic future. If the DPP fights these measures in the Legislative Yuan and fails, it can openly declare that if it returns to power in 2016, it will abolish ECFA by invoking Article 16, the "Agreement Termination" provision. ECFA will then be abolished. The DPP can then implement its own policy proposals. Article XVI states that "If one party wishes to terminate an agreement it shall notify the other party in writing... If consultations fail to lead to an agreement, the party terminating the agreement shall give notice of termination 180 days before the date of termination."
Such a declaration would respect the Legislature's constitutional and democratic mechanisms. It would allow the DPP to honorably reveal its policy stance. The DPP persists in opposing the 1992 consensus and ECFA. If it returns to power it can nullify the ECFA agreements. So why not invoke Article XVI now? Why not allow the current majority in the Legislative Yuan to fulfill its constitutional duty to ECFA? If and when the DPP returns to power and terminates ECFA, that will be its responsibility. That is the essence of politics.
Actually, this is an escape clause the DPP has reserved for itself. If the DPP returns to power, and can bring itself to affirm the 1992 consensus accept ECFA “unconditionally,” it will honor the terms of the commitment it signed today. The DPP can then sit back and enjoy the show. The DPP can choose to uphold or to abolish ECFA. But it cannot indulge in its irrational “frightened to review, frightened to oppose, frightened to pass” act. If the DPP persists in making ECFA die a slow death, if it watches idly as Taiwan loses its economic lifeblood, the Democratic Progressive Party will become a traitor to Taiwan. Will the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen stop short of the precipice?
The DPP is holding in reserve Article XVI, the ECFA termination clause. It can proclaim its cross-Strait policy before the people. It can then give "serious consideration to supporting" the ECFA follow-up bill. It can give Taiwan a way out. It can spare Taiwan. Please!
2014.11.14 04:29 am