United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 2, 2015
Executive Summary: Let us sum up Wen-Je Ko's remarks. His "New Perspective for 2015" affirms the substance of the 1992 consensus without using the term "1992 consensus". Does this conclusion take Ko's remarks "out of context"? Perhaps. But Wen-Je Ko should have expected this. He should be pleased with this. Even if he did not expect this, or is displeased with this, he now has no choice but to choke down this "out of context" conclusion, and try to restate it more clearly. Give Beijing an inch, and it will take a mile. Wen-Je Ko must now uphold his "1992 consensus under another name". Otherwise having given an inch, he will wind up losing a mile.
Full Text Below:
Wen-Je Ko recently explained his "New Perspectives for 2015" to the Mainland media. Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office expressed "appreciation". The Shanghai Taiwan Affairs Office immediately announced that it would contact the Taipei City Government and organize a joint forum. A Chinese expression says, "When one has reached the end of one's rope, do not give up hope. Better days will come." Professor Ko apparently ran a red light, but Beijing gave him the green light.
Beijing dispatched two of its official media organizations, the Xinhua News Agency and CCTV, as well as Hong Kong's China Review News Agency (CRNA) in response to this news. The interview however, was not really an interview. The interviewer referred to a list of prepared questions. The interviewee referred to a list of prepared answers. The entire event was clearly scripted in advance. Its purpose was purely political. Its purpose was to leave behind a record for future reference.
This scenario was revealing. One. While the political theater played out onstage, all manner of transactions were taking place behind the scenes. Two. Wen-Je Ko demonstrated flexibility and ingenuity. His move could be regarded as a sign of weakness. It could be regarded as an admission of error. Or it could be regarded as unprincipled caprice. Three. Political confrontation is often mere show. It is often nothing more than sophistry. It can shift from "issuing warnings" to "expressing appreciation" in the blink of an eye. Four. Will such political games bring hope, or breed even greater distrust?
Consider Wen-Je Ko's statement. He acknowledged and accepted a number of Beijing's policies and proposals. But he did not explicitly recognize or accept of the 1992 consensus or the one China framework. One. He said no one in the world believes there are two Chinas. Therefore "one China" is not an issue. This of course has long been Beijing's view. Taiwan independence theory advocates "one nation on each side" and "one China, one Taiwan". Therefore "one China" represents Beijing's own position. It was never in question to begin with. Wen-Je Ko failed to distinguish between the two. Two. Ko said he would "honor previously signed cross-Strait agreements, past interactions, and the existing political foundation". The "previously signed agreements" and "past interactions" are presumed to be the 1992 consensus, aka the "existing political foundation". Ko responded to Beijing's declaration, saying that "The 1992 consensus is the political foundation for cross-Strait relations". Yet Ko never explicitly used the term "1992 consensus". Three. Ko said that "one China" is not a problem. But what does that mean? How do Wen-Je Ko's views differ from the 1992 consensus and one China, different interpretations? Four. Ko agreed with Xi that the two sides are both members of one family. But when responding to a reporter's question, Wen-Je Ko was evasive. When the Taiwan Affairs Office expressed its "appreciation", Wen-Je Ko accused the media of taking his remarks "out of context".
Beijing listened to Ko's comments eagerly. Ko said everything Beijing wanted to hear. But Wen-Je Ko was playing games. He was speaking in the coded language of internal Taiwan politics. He was deliberately saying things that Beijing could take out of context. That said, the interview offered the two sides new hope. Therefore it should be affirmed as it is sure to have broad repercussions:
One. Wen-Je Ko now has a pass to the cross-Strait debate. He is no longer just a local Taipei City politician who trips over his own tongue. Will he be the one responsible for the next cross-Strait breakthrough? We may find out in June, when Professor Ko visits the Mainland. Two. The DPP made Wen-Je Ko what he is today. Yet Professor Ko mocks the DPP. He says "The DPP of is bound by ideology. It is suspicious or even hostile towards [Mainland] China. This has led to stagnation in cross-Strait relations." How should Ko's remarks about the DPP be read? As repudiation? As transcendence? or as betrayal? Three. Will Beijing allow Wen-Je Ko to substitute his "New Perspectives for 2015" for the 1992 consensus? Wen-Je Ko said, "I am not the DPP. I lack its baggage". The DPP is not Wen-Je Ko. It is burdened with the Taiwan independence party platform and political commitments to the Sunflower Student Movement. Four. Wen-Je Ko is deep green. Yet he has memorized his lines so well others have take his remarks "out of context". The KMT has defended the 1992 consensus to the death. But the green camp is destined to break ranks on the 1992 consensus, sooner or later. What will the KMT do then?
Is Wen-Je Ko a "pig attempting to eat a tiger"? Or is he a mouse caught in Beijing's mousetrap? It is still too early to tell. The lessons of history are right under our noses. Lee Teng-hui began with the "National Unification Guidelines" and ended up as TSU spiritual leader, Chen Shui-bian began with his "five nos" and ended up wtih "one nation on each side". Each time something which began as drama degenerated into farce. Does Wen-Je Ko imagine that a single "It was taken out of context" disclaimer will allow him to pass muster with Beijing and the Taiwan public? He is already in Beijing's pocket. We must be prepared to "listen to what he says and watch what he does". Can he avoid suffocation while in Beijing's pocket? He can no longer turn back and use the 1992 consensus as an oxygen mask. The 1992 consensus and one China, different interpretations remains his best means of life support.
Let us sum up Wen-Je Ko's remarks. His "New Perspective for 2015" affirms the substance of the 1992 consensus without using the term "1992 consensus". Does this conclusion take Ko's remarks "out of context"? Perhaps. But Wen-Je Ko should have expected this. He should be pleased with this. Even if he did not expect this, or is displeased with this, he now has no choice but to choke down this "out of context" conclusion, and try to restate it more clearly. Give Beijing an inch, and it will take a mile. Wen-Je Ko must now uphold his "1992 consensus under another name". Otherwise having given an inch, he will wind up losing a mile.
北京國台辦立馬表示「讚賞」，上海台辦隨即宣稱， 將與台北市就雙城論壇進行溝通。行到水窮處，坐看雲起時。 眼前的景象似乎是：柯Ｐ闖過紅燈，北京開了綠燈。
以及香港中評社；但這卻不是一場「訪談」，問的人對著稿子問， 答的人唸著稿子答，顯示這其實是雙方就事前規劃的問與答， 留下立此存證的政治性紀錄而已。
其實背後藏有相互折衝的黑箱過程。二、柯文哲的表現， 可視為靈活機巧，可視為示弱認錯，也可視為善變無原則。三、 政治的對立其實常是一種假象，只要嘴皮子翻兩翻，就能從「警告」 換來「讚賞」。四、這種政治遊戲，將是帶來希望， 或是更加難以信任？
但未正面承認或接受「九二共識」或「一中框架」。一、他說： 世界上沒有人認為有兩個中國，所以「一個中國」不是問題； 這正是北京的標準觀點。唯台獨理論本即主張「一邊一國」「 一中一台」，所以「一個中國」既是北京自說自話，本來就「 不是問題」；但柯文哲對此未作區隔。二、他說：「 尊重兩岸過去已經簽署的協議和互動的歷史，在既有的政治基礎上… …。」此處所指「已經簽署的協議」及「互動的歷史」， 均被認為是指基於「九二共識」；至於又稱「既有的政治基礎」， 亦在回應北京所稱「九二共識是兩岸共同政治基礎」。但「 九二共識」四字畢竟未從柯文哲的口中說出。三、他說， 一個中國不是問題，但更重要的是所謂一個中國的內容是什麼？ 柯文哲此一見解，與「九二共識／一中各表」的異同何在？四、 他並重申認同習近平的兩岸一家親。對於記者的提問， 柯文哲迎對的少、閃躲的多，因此在國台辦對其大表「讚賞」之際， 柯文哲卻指陸媒「斷章取義」。
聽到的都是北京想聽到的話；但柯文哲卻是以打蛇隨棍上的心態， 用台灣政治上特有的語言技巧應對，說的都是北京可以「斷章取義」 的話。但是，無論如何， 這次訪談已為各方創造了可以期待的兩岸新局，值得肯定， 也勢將發生多面向的影響：
他將不再是在台北一隅螺絲殼作道場的人物。 他能不能就此成為兩岸新局的「突破口」， 下一幕就看在六月可能上演的柯Ｐ登陸大戲。二。 民進黨把柯文哲養大到今天的程度，卻被柯Ｐ指為：「 民進黨受意識形態之束縛，對中國總是不信任甚至帶有敵意， 造成兩岸關係之停滯。」這番話， 民進黨應當解讀為柯文哲對民進黨的否定、超越，或背叛？三、 北京若容許柯文哲以「一五新觀點」取代「九二共識」， 是否亦容讓民進黨以「台灣共識」取代「九二共識」？但柯文哲說， 「我不是民進黨，沒有包袱」；而民進黨也不是柯文哲， 它有台獨黨綱，又有對太陽花勢力的政治承諾。四、「深綠／墨綠」 的柯文哲已把稿子唸到可以讓人「斷章取義」的程度，綠營「 否定九二共識」的防線遲早會失守；則原賴「九二共識」的「天險」 得以固守最後寸土的國民黨，將如何自處？
抑或是他中了北京的捕鼠夾，目前言之尚早。殷鑒不遠，李登輝從「 國統綱領」最後落到台聯精神領袖，陳水扁從「四不一沒有」 最後落到一邊一國，皆是從一場大戲化作一塌糊塗。 柯文哲不必認為只憑一句「斷章取義」，就能打發北京及社會公評； 他既已鑽入北京的口袋，就要有承當「聽其言／觀其行」 的心理準備。至於如何避免在北京的口袋中窒息， 如今他雖無顏再回頭以「九二共識」作氧氣罩，但「九二共識／ 一中各表」應當仍是他最佳的維生機器。
卻具九二共識內容」的「一五新觀點」。此一結論即使是「 斷章取義」，也應是柯文哲預見與樂見之義；即使非其預見或樂見， 在未來的後續發展中，他也必須吞下此一「斷章取義」的結論， 而且必須說得愈來愈清楚。因為，北京正在得寸進尺， 柯文哲若不持守「無九二共識之名的九二共識」，恐將退寸失尺。