Seeking a Basis for CCP-DPP Political Relations
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 4th, 2014
Executive Summary: The results of the nine in one elections are now known. Most people consider them an accurate indicator of what partisan politics and partisan turf wars on Taiwan will be like over the next six years. The KMT's future today is as grim as the DPP's future following the debacle of 2006. The KMT probably cannot reverse its fortunes by the 2016 presidential and legislative elections.
Full Text Below:
The results of the nine in one elections are now known. Most people consider them an accurate indicator of what partisan politics and partisan turf wars on Taiwan will be like over the next six years. The KMT's future today is as grim as the DPP's future following the debacle of 2006. The KMT probably cannot reverse its fortunes by the 2016 presidential and legislative elections.
The KMT is about to lose power. The DPP may return to power. Add to this the power of civic groups. These three factors will determine the future of cross-Strait relations. Veteran analysts of cross-Strait relations say that "Cross-Strait relations will inevitably stagnate. They will not be able to move forward. We will be lucky if we can maintain the status quo." They say that "Cross-Strait relations will undergo serious trials. Opportunities will be few and far between. The Mainland must be psychologically prepared." They say that "Those struggling to promote better cross-Strait relations will face numerous obstacles. The Mainland will have to respond with patience.” Stagnation is likely. Patience will be required. But those truly in the know regarding cross-Strait relations, know that stagnation must be overcome, and solutions must be found.
The key factor in the development of cross-strait relations is the DPP. How will the DPP interpret its victory in the nine in one elections? Will it alter its policy path? That will be the most important variable in cross-Strait relations. The Sunflower Student Movement gave the withered old Taiwan independence movement a shot in the arm. Anti-China forces in the pan-green camp have blamed Taiwan's internal social and economic problems on closer cross-Strait relations. They have accused the KMT of "cozying up to China, selling out Taiwan, and favoring the financial conglomerates." They have concealed their anti-China animus and Taiwan independence agenda under a heavy layer of "social justice." Their ploy has worked. It has deceived many young voters. On the other hand, DPP cross-Strait policy reform has long been all thunder and no rain. long on talk but short on action, largely due to anti-China obstructionism.
As a result, DPP cross-Strait policy reform has been subject to civic group constraints. Call these groups a "white force.” Call them "civic groups" if you wish. In recent years, such civic groups have proliferated on Taiwan. These groups concern themselves with everything from local policy to cross-Strait relations. During the recent election, these civic groups argued that "Until the KMT falls, Taiwan cannot rise.” They presented an obstacle to DPP policy reform. They intend to use sovereignty, human rights, democracy, transparency, and oversight as weapons to obstruct progress in cross-Strait relations
The nine in one elections were a rout. Cross-Strait policy reform has become the Democratic Progressive Party’s final mile on its path to power. The DPP leadership must be clear. If it refuses to alter its cross-Strait policy path, it cannot gain the trust of Beijing, Washington, or even Taiwan’s “economic voters.” The DPP has long been reluctant to recognize the "1992 consensus," or alter its cross-Strait policy path. If it does, it will be attacked by Taiwan independence fundamentalists and lose the support of other groups.
The Ma government advocates "no reunification, no Taiwan independence, no use of force." It corrected the Chen Shui-bian government’s mistaken policy path. It won the cooperation of Mainland officials. It improved cross-Strait relations. But when cross-Strait relations entered more treacherous waters, and more sensitive political issues arose. Ma’s "no reunification" clause was no longer acceptable to the Mainland. The Ma government lacked the courage to resist accusations of “cozying up to China and selling out Taiwan." It could no longer unite the people behind it. It could no longer lead Taiwan toward lasting peace and cross-Strait progress. Those in the know called upon the KMT to adopt a more proactive cross-Strait policy. They urged the KMT to actively address the issue of the two sides’ political status. They urged the KMT to offer a long term vision for the Chinese nation. They urged the KMT to actively promote cross-Strait economic integration and a "KMT-CCP peace agreement." But the Ma government hesitated. Now it faces the prospect of losing power. The Kuomintang must reaffirm its roots. It must engage in “creative destruction.” It must have the courage to throw open its doors. It must debate and adjust its cross-Strait policy, and begin anew. Only then does it stand a chance of winning over a new generation of voters.
In any event, KMT power has already declined. The Mainland now faces an unprecedented change in Taiwan's political situation. It must adopt the "two sides, one family” principle. It must be more flexible, patient, and meticulous in handling cross-Strait relations. On the one hand, it must adhere to the 1992 consensus as the basis for interaction with Taiwan's political parties. It must not waver. But neither should it act in haste. It must remain open to change. It must continue in-depth exchanges with different segments of the Taiwan public. Through culture, daily life and psychological cohesion, a "two sides, one family" consensus can be reached. This will create a solid foundation for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. When the time is ripe, the DPP will accept the 1992 Consensus.
Taiwan has "socialism with Chinese characteristics." It is a convergence point in institutional and ideological competition with the Western nations. Taiwan's political path can serve as a reference point for the Mainland. It can be seen as an opposition party under the Mainland’s one-party dictatorship. Cross-Strait relations are something the Mainland must cherish.