DPP: Beware Disintegration of Cross-Strait Peace Framework
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
January 19, 2015
Executive Summary: If the DPP returns to power, but refuses to change its cross-Strait policy, the cross-Strait peace framework will disintegrate. That in turn will cause the ruling Democratic Progressive Party regime to disintegrate. The DPP must prevent this prospect from materializing. That is the final mile the DPP must negotiate on the road to the ROC Presidency.
Full Text Below:
Tung Chen-yuan, MAC Vice Chairman during the Chen Shui-bian era, has warned the DPP that in the event it returns to power, it must change its cross-Strait policy. If it refuses to do so, the framework for cross-Strait peace established by General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Hu Jintao a decade ago may well disintegrate.
Over the past year, Tung Chen-yuan has repeatedly called on the DPP to tackle cross-Strait policy reform. He has urged the DPP to author a "Resolution on the Republic of China”. He has called for a petition to "freeze the Taiwan independence party platform". In the past, he was tactful. His language was reserved. But this time his language was blunt. He said that the DPP must confront the issue, head on. He warned that “the cross-Strait peace framework is in danger of disintegration".
When Tung Chen-yuan advocates freezing the Taiwan independence party platform, he is being constructive. He is urging the DPP to do the right thing. Even Ker Chien-ming has advocated freezing the Taiwan independence party platform. Tung's recommendation has been ignored. This time however, he warned that if the DPP refuses to change its cross-Strait policy, the repercussions will be catastrophic. He said the DPP must face the possibility of cross-Strait peace framework disintegration head on.
Tsai Ing-wen, Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council during the Chen Shui-bian era, insists that if the DPP does well during the election, "Even [Mainland] China will accommodate the Democratic Progressive Party". What she meant was that the DPP need not change, because Beijing will change to accommodate the DPP. Tung Chen-yuan however says the DPP must change. Otherwise Beijing will also change. But it will not change to accommodate the Democratic Progressive Party. Rather it will change in a manner that results in the disintegration of the cross-Strait peace framework.
Tsai Ing-wen and Tung Chen-yuan offer very different scenarios for cross-Strait relations in the event DPP returns to power. Tsai assumes that Beijing will swallow its pride and accommodate the DPP. Tung believes that DPP failure to change its cross-Strait policy will lead to the disintegration of the cross-Strait peace framework. In our view, Tsai Ing-wen should heed Tung Chen-yuan's warnings. She must not bury her head in the sand. That will only bring incalculable disaster upon Taiwan.
Tsai Ing-wen must offer reasons why she thinks “[Mainland] China will accommodate the Democratic Progressive Party." If the DPP repudiates the 1992 consensus and affirms the Taiwan independence party platform, will Beijing in fact accommodate the DPP? What if Beijing refuses to do as Tsai predicts, “accommodate the DPP”? Won't this lead to the disintegration of the cross-Strait peace framework that Tung Chen-yuan has warned about?
There are too many signs that Beijing will not accommodate the Democratic Progressive Party in the event it returns to power but refuses to change. Consider one example. Observers on both sides of the Strait have been closely following the first annual ministerial level "China - Latin America and Caribbean Community” or CARICOM, which recently convened in Beijing. Twelve ROC diplomatic allies in the region sent ministers to the summit. Panama proposed that the summit be upgraded to a heads of state level event. Mainland scholars have warned the DPP that if it returns to power but refuses to change its cross-Strait policy, the cross-Strait diplomatic truce will disintegrate. If so, the cross-Strait diplomatic war in Central and South America may well resume. If that happens, the dominoes will fall in swift succession. The psychological and practical impact on Taiwan society would be massive, and could cause the collapse of the new DPP regime. If ECFA is impacted, if cross-Strait flights are reduced in numbers, if Taiwan pineapple cakes become unmarketable, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party government will not be able to withstand the impact.
Even if the DPP wins in 2016 and returns to power, Beijing will never do as Tsai Ing-wen suggests, and "accommodate the DPP". Most likely it will do what Tung Chen-yuan warned against. If the DPP does not change, the cross-Strait peace framework will disintegrate. The result will be the disintegration of the ruling DPP regime. As such, the DPP should probably adopt a pragmatic cross-Strait policy before it returns to power. It should seize the initiative. It should not give anyone leverage over it. It should not give Beijing any excuse to nullify the cross-Strait peace framework.
The nine in one elections showed that Taiwan has political alternatives besides blue and green. The DPP should turn the 2016 general election into an event that transcends blue or green. It should turn party reform into a cross-Strait policy platform. More importantly, once it has returned to power, it must not precipitate the disintegration of the cross-Strait peace framework. Current indications are that the Chen Shui-bian faction's “one nation on on each side” ideology will prevail. The Sunflower Student Movement threat will rear its ugly head. Wen-Je Ko will continue to repudiate the 1992 consensus. Yao Hsi and other Taiwan independence elements will demand a bigger piece of the political pie. These constraints are all factors standing in the way of Democratic Progressive Party reform. That said, the DPP still has Ker Chien-ming, who advocates freezing the Taiwan independence party platform. It still has Frank Hsieh, who advocates a constitutional consensus. It still has Julian Kuo, who frets about the big picture and party reform. The community still has Tung Chen-yuan and his generation of reform advocates. The DPP can use them as leverage to prevent Taiwan independence fringe elements within the Democratic Progressive Party from wagging the dog. It must take advantage of public expectations to prevent Taiwan independence elements within the DPP from obstructing party reform.
If the DPP returns to power, but refuses to change its cross-Strait policy, the cross-Strait peace framework will disintegrate. That in turn will cause the ruling Democratic Progressive Party regime to disintegrate. The DPP must prevent this prospect from materializing. That is the final mile the DPP must negotiate on the road to the ROC Presidency.