China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 2, 2015
Executive Summary: The 2016 presidential election is not just about choosing a particular candidate or a particular party. It is about choosing a perspective, choosing a path, and choosing a policy. These choices are critical. They will determined whether Taiwan lives or dies. Political leaders must be honest about the major issues confronting Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen purports to uphold democracy and peace. She has said so, clearly and loudly. But she has said nothing about how to achieve them. She has said nothing about which policy programs people must choose. She has limited herself to empty slogans and pretty words, none of which will help the people make a rational choice.
Full Text Below:
Tsai Ing-wen's first speech during her visit to the US stressed two important points, "democracy" and "peace". She vowed that if she comes to power, she will defend Taiwan's democracy, and do her best to communicate and remain at peace with neighboring countries, including China [sic]. Tsai Ing-wen is apparently aware of Washington's two primary concerns. How to defend democracy and maintain peace are the questions voters most need to consider before making their choice.
Since 1996, the ROC has held five presidential elections. In 2016 it will hold its sixth. During previous elections, the people focused on Taiwan's democratization. Democracy is important to Taiwan. It must be strengthened. Taiwan faces a problem different from what it faced during the past five elections. Taiwan's current problems must be viewed from a larger perspective, namely, how they pertain to Taiwan's status within the international community. Tsai Ing-wen grasps this fact. That is why she emphasized both "democracy" and "peace".
Since the 2012 election, the international political and economic situation has undergone major change. The entire world is seriously impacted. The results will have a profound effect on Taiwan. But neither the government nor ruling and opposition party leaders are willing to be honest with the people. Even worse, they refuse to unite the people in order to resolve the problems together.
First consider the Chinese mainland's "strategic rise". Over the past seven or eight years, the rise of Mainland China has remained a hot topic. People sometimes view the rise of Mainland China in terms of political and military influence. But mainly people view the rise of Mainland China from an economic perspective. This situation is gradually changing. In September 2013, Mainland China set forth its One Belt, One Road and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) initiatives. These failed to attract much attention at the time. But as the situation changed, more and more people realized that the Mainland's strategic decisions were the most important geo-economic, geo-political and geo-strategies of the century. They then began to attract worldwide attention.
Strategically, Mainland China hopes to establish a strong community of shared interests and shared destinies within the Asian-Pacific region. Scholars have noted that the One Belt, One Road strategy will consume excess capacity within Mainland China. It will also create new demand overseas, enabling the Mainland to escape deflation and stagnation, and create new and stable economic growth in the medium to long term. The AIIB will enable the Mainland to lead investment banks and other international multilateral financial organizations, which will provide regional construction financing. It will also promote the internationalization of the renminbi. The strategic rise of the Mainland, the shift of power on the two sides of the Strait, are not something Taiwan can sum up with outdated "China threat theories" or "China opportunity theories".
Secondly, Sino-US rivalry has entered a new phase. The advent of the AIIB, in particular the massive participation of European nations, shows that Sino-US rivalry has entered a new phase. The initiative has changed hands. Mainland China is no longer a passive adherent to US rules of the game for the region. It is beginning to challenge the rules of the game. United States dominance has already been shaken. Mainland China is no longer merely a regional power. It is a rising world power. The rivalry between the two will become increasingly fierce. In fact, the Mainland's One Belt, One Road, the AIIB, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea, are all regarded as potential threats to the US. Hence its "Pivot to Asia". How will the chess game between Mainland China and the US impact the region and the world, especially Taiwan? That is a question that cannot be avoided.
Thirdly, how will the world's major economies adopt and survive? Last year, Xi Jinping used the term "new normal" to describe the Mainland economy. Past emphasis on economic growth will be changed to moderately high-speed growth. The economic structure will be optimized and upgraded . Growth momentum will no longer be driven by resources and investments, but rather innovation. Neighboring South Korea and Japan under Abe are committed to reform. They hope to create new growth engines. Taiwan's economic growth rate has been declining for years. From 2008 to 2013 it fell an average of 3.0 percent per annum. The crux of the problem is a development model that has not undergone change for some time, and an over-reliance on exports and manufacturing. The vacuum created by Inadequate investments and industrial relocation have not been filled by emerging industries able to provide new economic growth. The red supply chain is rapidly maturing. Taiwan faces ever greater economic challenges.
Its economy was once Taiwan's advantage. The United States was once a force for stability in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan's economic advantage has disappeared. Changes in the international situation have impacted the Sino-US balance of power. Taiwan has been increasingly relegated to the role of passive observer. The blue camp advocates "peace with the Mainland, closeness to the US, and friendship with Japan". The green camp advocates "adhereing to the US definition of the cross-Strait status quo". Both approaches are increasingly passive. In particular, Tsai Ing-wen's "maintaining the status quo" is a deluded policy that will eventually land Taiwan in a trap of its own making. The transformation of Taiwan's economic structure remains obscured by blue vs. green opposition. The problem has been neglected. The ruling and opposition parties and the public have never given it the attention it deserves.
Such is our dilemma. The 2016 presidential election is not just about choosing a particular candidate or a particular party. It is about choosing a perspective, choosing a path, and choosing a policy. These choices are critical. They will determined whether Taiwan lives or dies. Political leaders must be honest about the major issues confronting Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen purports to uphold democracy and peace. She has said so, clearly and loudly. But she has said nothing about how to achieve them. She has said nothing about which policy programs people must choose. She has limited herself to empty slogans and pretty words, none of which will help the people make a rational choice.
她宣示未來執政將堅持台灣民主，並盡力與周邊國家，包括中國， 保持溝通以維護和平。 蔡英文確實掌握了對美國溝通的兩個最重要元素，如何維繫「民主」 與「和平」，也是這次選舉選民做出選擇前最需要考慮的問題。
行第6次，先前幾次大選人們多聚焦在台灣民主化的意義上， 民主的確是台灣重要的價值，需要不斷深化。 但台灣當前所面對的國家問題可能已經與過去5次選舉不同， 眼前的台灣， 恐怕更要從台灣在國際格局中的位置及其變化這個宏觀的大角度、 大視野來掌握。蔡英文其實已經掌握了這個大趨勢，她既強調「 民主」，也注意到「和平」。
全球都面臨了幾個方面嚴重衝擊，也將深刻影響台灣發展。 但政府及朝野政黨領袖卻從來不曾跟民眾講清楚、說明白， 更談不上凝聚民心共識，共同面對解決。
中國崛起」一直是人們關注的焦點話題， 雖然人們會附帶提及中國崛起在政治上、軍事上的影響， 但人們主要還是從「經濟崛起」的角度來認識大陸發展動態。然而， 局勢悄悄地發生變化。2013年9月大陸提出「一帶一路」與「 亞投行」等構想，但並未引起太多的關注。可是隨著形勢的發展， 這個大陸的「戰略性決策」越來越被人們認識到是大陸地緣經濟、 地緣政治和地緣安全的世紀大戰略，才開始引起舉世關注。
甚至更廣泛的範圍內構築強固的「利益共同體」和「命運共同體」。 學者已經指出，一路一帶戰略不但能消化中國國內的過剩產能， 而且通過在海外創造的新需求，能使大陸跳脫通縮停滯的困局， 在中長期內創造新而穩定的經濟增長點， 而通過亞投行等大陸主導的國際多邊金融組織提供區域建設的融資， 還能大幅促進人民幣的國際化。大陸的戰略性崛起， 兩岸力量的此消彼長，已經不是台灣用「中國威脅論」、「 中國機會論」等傳統視野所能認識掌握的了。
尤其是歐洲國家的大舉參加，象徵著中美的博弈進入了新階段， 出現了某種程度的「攻守易位」， 大陸不再是美國主導的區域經濟遊戲規則被動的順應者， 開始成為遊戲規則的挑戰者、制定者，美國在話語權上的「獨霸」 已經出現鬆動。未來大陸之於美國，將越來越擺脫「局部力量」 角色，而為「崛起中的世界大國」，兩者間博弈會日益激烈， 事實上，在美國「重返亞洲」戰略框架下，從一帶一路、 亞投行到東海、南海， 大陸種種舉動都會被視為對美國戰略的潛在威脅。 中美之間的棋局如何影響區域與世界，尤其台灣， 這是不容迴避的課題。
新常態」描述大陸經濟，強調經濟增長將轉為中高速， 經濟結構要不斷優化升級，成長動力要從要素、投資邁向創新驅動。 鄰近的韓國、日本安倍政權都致力改革，希望打造成長新引擎。 台灣的經濟成長率已經持續下降多年，2008年到2013年以平 均降至3.0%，其主要問題關鍵就在於發展模式的長久不變， 過度依賴出口與製造業，另一方面則是投資不足、 產業外移後缺乏新興主力產業填補真空，帶動經濟新成長。 紅色供應鏈正在快速成熟，台灣經濟未來的挑戰更艱鉅。
現在台灣經濟優勢已經消失， 在中美力量對比起伏所牽動的國際格局變化中， 台灣也愈來愈陷入被動地位。不管是藍營的「和中親美友日」， 還是綠營的「追隨美國定義的兩岸現狀維持」，都越來越顯消極， 尤其是蔡英文的「維持現狀論」 終將成為自陷台灣於被動窘境中的錯誤政策。 至於台灣經濟的結構改造，更在藍綠對立的硝煙中被模糊、被忽視， 始終無法成為朝野兩黨以至於全民共同思考面對的課題。
不僅僅是選人選黨選顏色的選舉，而是選視野、選路線、選政策的、 攸關台灣生死存亡的關鍵時刻。政治領袖們有責任也有義務， 向民眾誠實說明台灣所面臨的重大課題。蔡英文要堅持民主與和平， 她說得很清楚，也很大聲，但她對如何達成「民主」與「和平」 目標，卻沒有說出來，更沒有提出任何政策綱領供人民選擇， 只停留於空洞的口號、美麗的詞藻，這無助人民的理性選擇。