Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New Chu Xi Framework: Legacy of Lien Hu Meeting

New Chu Xi Framework: Legacy of Lien Hu Meeting
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
April 23, 2015

Executive Summary: On May 3, KMT Chairman Eric Chu will head a delegation to the KMT-CCP Forum. This high profile Chu Xi meeting will take place in Beijing on May 4. KMT sources reveal that in addition to reaffirming the 1992 consensus, Chu will propose a new cross-Strait framework that "goes beyond the 1992 consensus".

Full Text Below:

On May 3, KMT Chairman Eric Chu will head a delegation to the KMT-CCP Forum. This high profile Chu Xi meeting will take place in Beijing on May 4. KMT sources reveal that in addition to reaffirming the 1992 consensus, Chu will propose a new cross-Strait framework that "goes beyond the 1992 consensus".

Predictably, the Chu Xi meeting will invite green camp allegations that Chu is a "puppet emperor" who is "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan". Sure enough, a physical altercation erupted in the New Taipei City Council yesterday over the Chu Xi meeting. Eric Chu knows full well he will be the target of defamation. Yet he remains determined to meet with Xi Jinping. Surely he has the confidence required to shrug off accusations that he is selling out Taiwan. Surely he has clear goals and is reasonably confident he can achieve them.

If the Chu Xi meeting is successful, the public on Taiwan will witness an historic breakthrough. At best, it may disperse the fog that has shrouded Taiwan since the 3/18 Sunflower Student Movement. Failing that, it may give the Kuomintang, a patient under intensive care, a shot in the arm. Finally, it may reduce the political fallout from Eric Chu's decision not to run for president, and even reverse the KMT's political fortunes.

The political situation is such that even the tiniest move can affect the entire situation. For the moment, Eric Chu has chosen not to run in 2016. If the politcal picture improves, Eric Chu may have the option of reconsidering. The "three benefits" could fall flat and become "three disappointments", That is something Eric Chu must consider. This is a critical moment. The success of cross-Strait relations and the realization of the China Dream require unprecedented wisdom and courage on the part of the Mainland. In this regard, we offer three reminders.

Reminder One. Eric Chu leading a delegation to participate in KMT-CCP talks and meeting with Xi Jinping on the tenth anniversary of the Lien Hu meeting has enormous significance, both past and future. In 2005, Lien Chan embarked on his Journey of Peace. He met with President Hu Jintao and together they reached a five-point consensus. They agreed to promote cross-Strait exchanges and negotiations on the basis of the 1992 consensus. Lien Chan became the first KMT leader since the Chinese Civil War and the KMT's relocation of the nation's capital to Taiwan in 1949. Lien laid the foundation for healthy development of cross-Strait relations once Ma Ying-jeou took office.

Given the historical background, can Eric Chu write a new chapter of cross-Strait relations, based on but different from the Lien Hu meeting? Given the current cross-Strait atmosphere, that may be difficult. Yet that is the outcome Chu must strive for during his trip. Cross-Strait relations have undeniably entered the deep water zone. One may talk about "going beyond" or "transcending" the 1992 consensus. But one must at least attain the same heights. Many obstacles stand in the way. The Chu Xi meeting must build a bridge for cross-Strait relations, one that enables us to cross the ravine without falling into the water below. It must establish a horizontal link connecting the two sides, enabling them to enjoy a new beginning.

Reminder Two. Pay attention to changes in the way the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen respond. Tsai Ing-wen has long denied that the 1992 consensus even exists. Recently, under pressure from Mainland China and the United States, she has changed her tune. She has begun assuring people that she wishes to "maintain the cross-Strait status quo". On the one hand, that is a deliberately vague statement. The cross-Strait status quo covers a lot of ground. Strictly speaking, the 1992 consensus and one China, different interpretations also maintain the status quo. One could say that Tsai has moved in the direction of KMT cross-Strait policy.

Tsai Ing-wen's "maintenance of the status quo" is still based on the DPP's Resolution on Taiwan's Future, and even its Taiwan Independence Party Platform. This too distinguishes it from KMT cross-Strait policy. The two together, constitute a "Taiwan version of one China, different interpretations". This could lead to a "bat effect" in politics, making birds mistake bats for birds, and making rats mistake bats for rats. In other words, "maintaining the status quo" can reassure those who hope the DPP will undergo transformation, without making Taiwan independence fundamentalists too alarmed.

How will Eric Chu deal with Tsai Ing-wen's deliberate ambiguity? What sort of new framework will Eric Chu propose during the Chu Xi meeting? We think the "cross-Strait version of one China, different interpretations" should become the Kuomintang's version of the 1992 consensus, namely, both sides of the Strait are part of one China.

Reminder Three. This "cross-Strait version of one China, different interpretations" is not Eric Chu's one-man show. It must meet with the approval of the United States and the Chu Xi meeting.

Xi Jinping has reiterated that his most important task is the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. This great rejuvenation means that both sides of the Strait are part of one nation. The link that makes both sides of the Strait part of one China, is the "Republic of China." For Taiwan, the Republic of China constitutes a shared domestic consensus. For the Mainland, the Republic of China is more than just a political symbol. It also means shared history, shared culture, and shared emotions. The Mainland should view these emotions in a positive light. Let the "Republic of China" have a larger say and greater participation in shaping the cross-Strait framework and in contributing to Xi Jinping's Chinese Dream.

If Xi Jinping is willing to accept such sentiments, Eric Chu should highlight the positive role the Republic of China plays in the one China based 1992 consensus, and incorporate it into cross-Strait policy.

Do we really not know how Eric Chu feels about the 1992 Consensus? Allow the "ROC" to become the basis for discussion. Allow Eric Chu to lead the Kuomintang, and even the Republic of China into deep water. He, at least, will not lose his way.

傳承連胡會 朱習會開兩岸新局
20150423 中國時報














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