How Should the DPP Respond to Earth-Shaking Cross-Strait Changes?
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 12, 2015
Executive Summary: Xi Jinping says that if the 1992 consensus, the political foundation for cross-Strait relations, is destroyed, then cross-Strait trust will cease to exist. Cross-Strait relations will revert to chaos. He said, "Without a solid foundation, the earth will shake." If the DPP rejects the 1992 consensus to the bitter end, it will eventually have to face the consequences. The earth will shake. Therefore it should help the 1992 Consensus to evolve. That is the way to go with the flow and the way to ensure the best outcome.
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Xi Jinping says that if the 1992 consensus, the political foundation for cross-Strait relations, is destroyed, then cross-Strait trust will cease to exist. Cross-Strait relations will revert to chaos. He said, "Without a solid foundation, the earth will shake."
Taiwan may well experience a third change in ruling parties in 2016. Xi Jinping laid his cards on the table for the Democratic Progressive Party, which may well return to power. He did this relatively early. On the one hand, he wanted to preempt the DPP's “wait and see” mentality. On the other hand, he wanted to give the DPP more time and more space to maneuver.
In fact, the DPP's understanding of the 1992 consensus and its response to it, has changed. In 2008, Tsai Ing-wen denounced ECFA as "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan”, and as “undermining sovereignty and humiliating the nation". She opposed the legalization of cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges. On the very eve of the 2012 election, Tsai Ing-wen was still advocating "globalization without China." Back then, she blocked cross-Strait exchanges. She insisted that "There is no 1992 consensus. So how can we accept any alleged 1992 consensus?” But after Xi Jinping said "the earth will shake", Tsai Ing-wen changed her tune. She said cross-Strait relations should not be “labeled” as the 1992 consensus. In other words, she finally acknowledged its existence. Tsai Ing-wen spoke of "three constants". She said "The process of cross-Strait exchanges must ensure equal opportunity and diverse participation. Cross-strait exchanges must ensure public welfare and social benefits." This showed that on cross-Strait policy, her bark was worse than her bite. Seven years of changes have revealed major contradictions in the DPP's cross-Strait policy. Back then, the DPP obstructed exchanges. It insisted that "The 1992 consensus does not exist". Today Tsai Ing-wen talks of “equal opportunity and diverse participation” and “public welfare and social benefits". Can she still maintain that the 1992 consensus does not exist?
Tsai Ing-wen recently proposed "three benefits, three constants". These can be summed up as “peace” and "exchanges". But Xi Jinping said peace and cross-Strait exchanges are based on the 1992 consensus, the two sides' "shared political foundation". If the 1992 consensus is destroyed, then "the earth will shake”. Therefore Tsai Ing-wen's call for cross-Straits peace and exchanges without the 1992 consensus, is nothing more than hollow rhetoric.
Tsai Ing-wen can no longer say "Basically there is no 1992 consensus". Wen-Je Ko can no longer say, "I do not know what the contents of the 1992 consensus are". They can no longer feign deafness. In fact, the 1992 consensus is a cross-Strait policy framework that still has room for improvement. On the one hand, DPP acceptance of the 1992 consensus would stabilize cross-Strait peace. On the other hand, the DPP can demand that the 1992 consensus be improved. As Ma Ying-jeou noted, "If the 1992 consensus refers to one China, different interpretations, then I support it". The DPP can say, "If the 1992 consensus ensures equal opportunity and diverse participation, public welfare and social benefits, then we support it." In short, the DPP cannot refuse to accept the 1992 consensus. Instead, it must make every effort to improve the 1992 consensus.
Why does the Democratic Progressive Party oppose the 1992 consensus? Put bluntly, because it cannot cast off Taiwan independence. It feels compelled to pander to its supporters, many of whom persist in advocating Taiwan independence. Because the DPP cannot cast off Taiwan independence, it cannot recognize a "constitutional one China". Because it cannot recognize a “constitutional one China", it is reluctant to accept any "one China, different interpretations” style argument. That is why it opposes the 1992 consensus. That is why Beijing regards the DPP's assertion that that "There is no 1992 consensus" as synonymous with advocacy of Taiwan independence. But the global situation has changed. Does the DPP still dare to advocate Taiwan independence? Will the DPP persist in its calls for Taiwan independence and the founding of a new nation? If it does, it will continue its opposition to the 1992 consensus. But if cannot and dare not advocate the founding of a Republic of Taiwan, what point is there in rejecting the 1992 consensus and one China, different interpretations?
Rejecting the 1992 consensus amounts to rejecting the "one China Constitution". It amounts to "backdoor listing" Taiwan independence thinking. Rejecting the "one China Constitution" while upholding "one China, different interpretations", "no [immediate] reunification, no Taiwan independence and no use of force” will not fly. The earth will shake. Tsai Ing-wen's “equal opportunity and diverse participation” and “public welfare and social benefits" will remain a pipe dream.
Taiwan independence is no longer possible. If the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, it cannot evade the matter of the 1992 consensus. It can only work within the framework of the ROC Constitution. It can only attempt to improve the 1992 consensus. This involves three main points. First, the Republic of China is not a means of achieving Taiwan independence. The Republic of China "one China framework" must be honored. Second, “one China” is currently in the "different interpretations" stage. But it may be possible for the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China to exist side by side, and define that as "one China". Third, if "one China" can be defined as a "big roof China", then the two warring sides can become two separately administered sides. This would enable the DPP to switch from the defensive to the offensive, and the passive to the active, vis a vis the 1992 consensus quagmire, and enable it to undergo transformation.
If the DPP rejects the 1992 consensus to the bitter end, it will eventually have to face the consequences. The earth will shake. Therefore it should help the 1992 Consensus to evolve. That is the way to go with the flow and the way to ensure the best outcome.
2015-03-12 01:32:39 聯合報 聯合報社論