United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 7, 2015
Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen visited the US in her capacity as DPP presidential candidate, hopeing to win Washington's trust and avoid further obstacles on her road to the presidency. Given how she was treated, Tsai Ing-wen apparently passed muster with the US government. The key was not her deliberately ambiguous lip service to "maintaining the status quo", but her pledge to "reaffirm the constitutional framework of the Republic of China". This was a step in the right direction.
Full Text Below:
Tsai Ing-wen visited the US in her capacity as DPP presidential candidate, hopeing to win Washington's trust and avoid further obstacles on her road to the presidency. Given how she was treated, Tsai Ing-wen apparently passed muster with the US government. The key was not her deliberately ambiguous lip service to "maintaining the status quo", but her pledge to "reaffirm the constitutional framework of the Republic of China". This was a step in the right direction.
Tsai Ing-wen prepared diligently for her trip. First she spoke before overseas Chinese at a banquet in Los Angeles. She promised that the "democratic status quo would not change". She promised to "ensure stability across the Taiwan Strait". Then she wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal, promising to establish a transparent mechanism to increase cross-Strait trust and cooperation. She promised principled exchanges, cooperation, and dialogue. She promised that a spirit of cooperation would continue to guide cross-Strait relations. Most importantly, she spoke before Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, where she vowed that "After I am elected president, I will abide by the current ROC constitutional framework, respect public opinion, and continue to promote the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations."
Before her visit, Tsai Ing-wen ducked the issue of the 1992 consensus. She merely reiterated that she would "maintain the status quo", while refusing to say what the "status quo" was. When questioned, she bobbed and weaved. As President Ma Ying-jeou quipped, if Tsai Ing-wen's definition of the status quo is "no [immediate] reunification, no Taiwan independence, and no use of force," then Tsai Ing-wen is guilty of plagiarism. Tsai Ing-wen has said nothing about the 1992 consensus, but has chosen to reaffirm the "Republic of China Constitution". This was her way of compromising without losing face.
As we have long reiterated, the Republic of China is the common denominator for the blue, green and red camps. The ROC Constitution evolved on the Chinese mainland. It is a legacy of China as a whole. It was amended on Taiwan to meet the practical requirements of democracy. It represents the current position of the Kuomintang. Beijing may not endorse it openly, but privately it accepts it. If Tsai Ing-wen wants to run for President the Republic of China, she must swear allegiance to the Constitution of the Republic of China. She must declare that she accepts the current constitutional framework of the Republic of China. This is both logical and essential. Deep green supporters have no grounds for opposition. She has used this method to offer her "different interpretation". We hope she can strike an agreement with the Mainland.
When governments have differed in the past, they have usually relied on diplomacy. The Shanghai Communique was an example. So was the 1992 consensus. On the one hand, they struck agreements with the other side. On the other hand, they appeased domestic factions. The most recent example of was the four points of consensus reached in November last year between Beijing and Tokyo. The Mainland Chinese version says "The two sides have different ideas on the sovereignty of Diaoyutai". The Japanese version acknowledges that the two sides have "different understandings". The two sides of course understand what the other is saying, but this is a mutually acceptable solution. Beijing and Tokyo have gone from sabre rattling to two summit meetings. Relations have gradually been normalized.
The Mainland is still evaluating Tsai Ing-wen's remarks. So far it has not expressed an opinion. The US government, including congressional representatives and officials such as US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, welcomed Tsai Ing-wen's statement. From the macro level there were three main reasons.
One. The KMT has yet to nominate a candidate for the 2016 presidential election. But polls and the political situation suggest that Tsai Ing-wen is the likely winner. The US knows this. Four years ago, the US preferred to support the re-election of President Ma Ying-jeou. As a result, national security officials criticized Tsai Ing-wen, saying that times have changed. US attitudes have changed.
Two. Tsai Ing-wen has not recognized the 1992 consensus. From Beijing's perspective, this is unsatisfactory. She has been careful recently never to mention the term. When asked about her CSIS speech, she repeatedly says that her position on cross-Strait relations is clearly laid out in her speech. From Beijing's perspective, she is still being evasive. But from Washington's perspective, she is being cautious about the big picture.
Three. As long as Tsai Ing-wen does not provoke a conflict between the two sides and drag the US into a quagmire, current Washington-Beijing relations allows for some tension between the two sides. From the US perspective, that is not necessarily a bad thing. The Asian-Pacific situation and Sino-Japanese tensions have led to new guidelines for security. Tensions are running high between Vietnam, the Philippines and the Chinese mainland. This has brought Vietnam and the Philippines closer to the United States. Recently the US Assistant Secretary of State visited Taiwan, and ROC generals attended US Pacific Fleet swearing in ceremonies. This means Washington has expectations regarding Taipei. The DPP position is actually more consistent with the current US strategy of rebalancing than the KMT's.
In fact, it does not matter how well the United States treated Tsai Ing-wen, or whether Mainland China accepts her. What Tsai Ing-wen really needs to confront and seek, is the trust and affirmation of the Taiwan public. How she talked and walked during a short visit is irrelevant. Tsai Ing-wen has chosen to reaffirm the ROC Constitution. That is a step in the right direction. We hope she is not merely putting on a show
以免總統之路再橫遭險阻。由此行受到的接待規格看， 在美國政府眼中，蔡英文的表現算是過關的；其中關鍵，並非其「 維持現狀」的曖昧論調獲得認可，而是她「回歸中華民國憲政體制」 的表態，跨出正確的一步。
民主現狀不變」和「確保台海局勢穩定」；然後在《華爾街日報》 投書，強調將建立透明機制，強化兩岸互信與合作， 並透過有原則的交流、合作及對話， 確保合作精神繼續指引兩岸關係的改善。最重要的是， 在華盛頓智庫「國際與戰略研究中心」（CSIS）的演講， 她說出了：「當選總統之後，我將在中華民國現行憲政體制下， 依循普遍民意，持續推動兩岸關係的和平發展」。
卻又無法說清「現狀」為何，因此遭外界一再質疑她投機閃躲。 誠如馬英九總統對她的批評，如果說清楚現狀就是「不統、不獨、 不武」，就會涉嫌抄襲馬英九的主張；在這種情況下， 蔡英文避談九二共識，卻選擇回到「中華民國憲法」， 是一個正當而不失顏面的妥協。
中華民國憲法是在大陸制定，有全中國的傳承； 而在台灣的增修條文，則兼顧了民主的實際要求。 這是國民黨目前的立場，也是北京雖不能公開贊同、卻私下認同的。 蔡英文既然要參選中華民國總統，必須對中華民國憲法宣誓效忠， 宣稱接受現行中華民國憲法體制，原是自然及必然之事， 內部深綠支持者亦無法反對。而她藉此發揮「各自表述」的精神， 希望與大陸求取協議。
比比皆是。上海公報如此，九二共識也是如此； 一方面求取對方之協議，另外一方滿足內部之堅持， 最新的例子是去年十一月的中日四點共識。中方版本是「 雙方對釣魚台主權有不同主張」，日方版本則是承認雙方有「 不同認識」，雙方當然都懂彼此的語文， 但這是雙方都接受的解決方案。中日從原本劍拔弩張、互不往來， 到現在兩國最高領導人兩度會面，關係逐漸正常化。
迄今尚未表態。至於美方， 包括與蔡英文會晤的國會議員及副國務卿布林肯等美方官員， 都對蔡英文的說法表示歡迎。從大形勢觀察，這主要有三點原因：
但根據既有民調及政治情勢，蔡英文的當選機率不小；這點， 美國看得很清楚。四年前，美國寧願支持連任的馬英九總統， 因此由國安會官員放話批評蔡英文；四年後時移勢易， 美國態度已有改變。
但她近日小心翼翼不提這四個字，即使在CSIS的演講中， 她再三被問到，始終只說關於兩岸關係她已在演說中清楚表達。 這看在北京眼中，她仍是迴避閃躲，但看在華府眼中， 卻是她謹慎顧全大局。
以目前的美中關係，能讓兩岸之間保持些許緊張，從美國角度來看， 未必是壞事。環顧亞太形勢，日中緊張，導致安保新指針簽署； 越菲與大陸緊張，也讓兩國更向美國靠攏。 日前美國助理國務卿來台， 或是我高階將領參加美軍太平洋司令就職， 都代表美國對台灣有所期待， 而民進黨的立場甚至比國民黨更符合美國目前的再平衡戰略。
蔡英文真正要面對與爭取的，是台灣人民的信任與肯定， 而不只是她在短暫的訪問中展現了什麼詞令和身段。就這點而言， 蔡英文選擇回歸憲法，是跨出正確方向；我們也期待， 這不是即興表演之作。