United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 22, 2015
Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen has issued another challenge in her 2016 presidential campaign. She has decided to address economic policy. She has remained silent on the cross-Strait issues that the middle class and young people are concerned about. She appears to be giving internal policy top priority. In fact of course, the two issues are inseparable. Four years ago, during a similar election, Tsai Ing-wen evaded cross-Strait issues. She played the economic stability card and turned public opinion around. This time, she is taking a hands-on approach to economic and public welfare issues, hoping to win voter trust and create an atmosphere of safety.
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Tsai Ing-wen has issued another challenge in her 2016 presidential campaign. She has decided to address economic policy. She has remained silent on the cross-Strait issues that the middle class and young people are concerned about. She appears to be giving internal policy top priority. In fact of course, the two issues are inseparable. Four years ago, during a similar election, Tsai Ing-wen evaded cross-Strait issues. She played the economic stability card and turned public opinion around. This time, she is taking a hands-on approach to economic and public welfare issues, hoping to win voter trust and create an atmosphere of safety.
Why bother to address economic security issues? For one reason alone. Most people think the dividends of cross-Strait policy have been monopolized by Big Government and Big Business. Tsai Ing-wen wants voters to consider a new model of economic development not reliant on Mainland China. She hopes that the coming general election will deconstruct the one China framework.
Tsai Ing-wen first took part in party primaries five years ago. She has never left that battlefield. Her determination is obvious. But her attempts to break out of the one China framework date back many years. During the early days she was general counsel for international trade organization negotiations. She began attacking the one China principle back then. She was responsible for Lee Teng-hui's two-states theory, for cross-Strait policy during the Chen regime. and for the "Taiwan consensus" during her first run at the presidency. Even her advocacy of "maintaiing the status quo" is part of her attempt to maximize Taiwan independence and shatter the one China framework.
The one China principle is the CCP's sole framework for dealing with the Taiwan issue. The two governments clashed in the international arena during the last century. Later the two sides began a dialogue. The one China principle became a precondition for bilateral exchanges. It even plays a part in every presidential election. Every time the public on Taiwan exercises sovereignty, Beijing sees it as a challenge to the status quo. Therefore it feels compelled to reaffirm the framework.
In 1998, the ROC held its first direct presidential election. The Taiwan Strait crisis erupted. Just before the 2000 presidential election, Lee Teng-hui advanced his two states theory. The Mainland realized that Chen Shui-bian might be elected. It subsequently engaged in sabre rattling and verbal attacks. The United States demanded that Chen reaffirm the one China principle. Before the election Chen advanced his "Chen seven points". Later, during his inaugural speech, he advanced the "five noes". The five noes became the joint US-PRC tool to constrain the DPP. Only when Ma Ying-jeou took office was the 1992 consensus rehabilitated and reinstated. In 2008, Hu Jintao and George W. Bush rebooted cross-Strait talks on the hotline. For the first time the United States, the Mainland, and Taiwan reached tripartite agreement on the 1992 consensus. Since then the situation in the Taiwan Strait has changed rapidly. Comprehensive cross-Strait exchanges, economic interdependence, and political dialogue have all progressed by leaps and bound.
During the last election, the United States and the Mainland joined hands to contain Tsai Ing-wen. The main reason was that her "Taiwan consensus" clashed with the 1992 consensus. This time she is taking a roundabout approach. She has adopted no name, generic label, policy rhetoric. She has made no mention of her "Taiwan consensus" or how she plans to circumvent the 1992 consensus. She has banished the one China principle and everything pertaining to reunification vs. independence from her cross-Strait policy rhetoric. She is attempting to maximize voter support by maximizing policy ambiguity. Her goal is to break out of the one China framework. Maintaining the status quo is her no name, generic brand, cross-Strait policy. It prevents opponents from getting a lock on her. It enables voters to agree with its positive implications. As a result, this presidential election has become a referendum on whether cross-Strait relations can break out of the one China framework.
The one China principle has long been the core of the tripartite relationship between the United States, the Mainland, and Taiwan. None of the three sides can pull away from it on their own. Tsai Ing-wen's attempt to break out of the one China framework depends on changing public opinion. It also hangs on an imbalance in US-Mainland China relations. In recent years, Mainland China has gradually neutralized US dominance in Asia. Conflicts between the two sides have increased in the East China Sea and South China Sea. The Taiwan issue has become a bargaining chip in their two way struggle. The balance of power in the Asian region is undergoing comprehensive change. The ROC presidential election offers an opportunity to break out of the one China framework. How will the United States assess the value of this chip? What attitude will it adopt? It could voice no objection. It could aggressively intervene. There is abundant room for maneuvering. Tsai Ing-wen may have decided this is her chance. She may well be making plans.
Tsai Ing-wen must not be naive. She must not imagine that "maintaining the status quo" can replace the one China principle. She has reverted to repudating the 1992 consensus and the five noes. She says she wants to "maintain Taiwan's democratic values and future independence... and maximize the space and options for the next generation." How much do such aspirations overlap with US national interests? That depends on the Mainland's response regarding the big picture.
How will Beijing respond to such an attempt to breakout of the one China framework? That is difficult to predict. For Xi Jinping, all this is Great Power Politics. He has his calculations. He has his cards to play. As voters, we must see great power politics and partisan rivalry for what they are. We must see who is attempting to break out of the one China framework, and whose opportunism is creating risks. More importantly, we must see who are the pawns on this chessboard.
The phrase "maintaining the status quo" is as old as the hills. But it cannot be taken seriously. The public must cast a jaudiced eye on those who peddle it in ever more ambiguous language. Politicians in power never have any trouble saying what they mean. Some merely have inner calculations. Everyone is advised to ponder the question. Less than a year remains. How will you respond to this attempt to break out of the one China framework? How will you respond to the ensuing change in the status quo?
主訴中產階級及年輕人，眾所關注的兩岸問題被冷處理， 看似內政優先，實則互為犄角。和四年前大選時類似， 蔡英文為避免兩岸問題最後轉化為經濟安定牌造成民意反轉， 她這次起手式便直指經濟民生，先鞏固選民的信任與安全感。
當多數民意質疑兩岸紅利被政商集團壟斷，從而反思交流利弊時， 她似乎企圖說服選民相信，透過經濟發展新模式， 不必依賴中國也有成長空間，希望這次大選有可能突破「一個中國」 的框架。
她的意志堅決從表面難窺一二，但值得關注的是，她的「破框行動」 非自近年始。從早年擔任台灣加入國際經貿組織的談判總顧問起， 她和「一個中國原則」的纏鬥便已展開，李登輝的兩國論、 扁時期的兩岸政策、她自己首次參選總統提出的「台灣共識」， 乃至今次宣示的「維持現狀」，一以貫之， 就是主張台灣的獨立自主空間要擴張到最大， 盡可能突破一中框架限制。
原本用於兩岸政府上世紀在國際社會交鋒，直到雙方開始對話， 一中原則成為雙方交往前提，甚至每次總統大選都要起些作用。 因為台灣人民每行使一次主權，對北京來說就是對現狀的挑戰， 便慣性地重提框框。
李登輝提出兩國論，大陸得知陳水扁當選可能性升高，文攻武嚇外， 另透過美方要求扁提出關於一中原則的承諾。扁選前提出「陳七點」 ，即後來就職演說中「四不一沒有」的原型。「四不一沒有」 後來成為美中聯手約束民進黨政府的工具，直到馬英九執政，便以「 九二共識」轉型再續。二○○八年大陸透過布胡熱線啟動兩岸復談， 由於美中台三方首次對九二共識有交集，自此台海情勢驟變， 兩岸全面交流，經濟互相依賴，政治對話催促不輟。
台灣共識」與九二共識正面對抗。這次她迂迴前進，採取「 無標籤論述」，不提「台灣共識」，也不設想如何繞過九二共識， 而是將「一個中國原則」及統獨相關文字從兩岸政策論述中抹掉； 企圖用最大的模糊維持最大的可能，達到破框目的。「維持現狀」 就像一個沒有標籤的兩岸論述，無以名之，便不致被對手鎖定攻擊， 同時可訴求認同其言外之意的選民支持。於是， 這場總統大選儼然成為兩岸關係能否破框前行的抉擇。
而蔡英文的破框行動，除了依恃台灣民意的求變， 也正等待另一個時勢條件，即美中關係的失衡。 近年中國大陸在亞洲主導地位漸次抗衡美國，雙方在東、 南海矛盾不時升高，台灣問題隱然成為雙方博弈的籌碼選項。 亞洲的區域平衡正全面變動，台灣大選出現突破一中框架的力量， 美國如何評估這支籌碼的價值，又將採取什麼態度， 便顯得相當重要。從消極不反對到積極干預之間， 有很大的運作空間，蔡英文可能認為她的機會在此，也已著手布局。
一個中國原則」，但她致力回到沒有九二共識、 四不一沒有這些緊箍咒的階段，宣稱「 保有台灣的民主價值和未來自主性，…… 為下一代留住最多的空間和選擇。」 這點訴求和美方國家利益究竟有多大交集， 關鍵在大陸衡量全局後掀示的底線。
這是大國政治的一角，掛角追落自有其運籌。作為選民， 必須從大國政治及政黨對抗的棋局裡看清， 這項破框行動是利用誰的風險營造誰的機遇，更重要的是， 看清自己在這盤枰上究竟是誰的棋子。
反而針對那些歷經多年卻愈發說不清楚的事，人民愈該認真看待。 權勢在握的政治人物從來就沒有難言之隱，有的只是謀算心機； 只剩不到一年的時日裡，大家不妨盤算一下，如何面對這個「 破框行動」，以及隨之而來的「現狀改變」。