China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
July 22, 2015
Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen remembers the lesson of the 2012 presidential election. This year, she is fully prepared on cross-Strait policy. She has adopted "maintaining the status quo" and "affirming the Republic of China constitutional framework" as her campaign planks. Both of these campaign planks run counter to Democratic Progressive Party tradition. She also "unconditionally accepts" the Ma administration's cross-Strait policy. She is playing the safety card. So far cross-Strait policy has not become the focus of debate. Having ducked discussion of her weak points, her poll numbers continue to rise.
Full Text Below:
Tsai Ing-wen remembers the lesson of the 2012 presidential election. This year, she is fully prepared on cross-Strait policy. She has adopted "maintaining the status quo" and "affirming the Republic of China constitutional framework" as her campaign planks. Both of these campaign planks run counter to Democratic Progressive Party tradition. She also "unconditionally accepts" the Ma administration's cross-Strait policy. She is playing the safety card. So far cross-Strait policy has not become the focus of debate. Having ducked discussion of her weak points, her poll numbers continue to rise.
But the DPP has yet to publicly renounce Taiwan independence, and Tsai Ing-wen has yet to recognize the 1992 Consensus. The KMT has been tardy in nominating Hung Hsiu-chu. She and the KMT have yet to fire the opening salvo on cross-Strait issues. That is the only reason Tsai Ing-wen's evasive strategy of not rocking the boat is temporarily working. To her, the presidential election is nothing more than a KMT tempest in a teapot. But this state of affairs cannot be sustained. Those outside Taiwan have long known that the winds of change are coming, and that the America Factor and the China Factor are increasingly important.
On the surface, Tsai Ing-wen received red carpet treatment during her US visit. But as this newspaper noted yesterday in an editorial, the fact that the US rolled out the red carpet does not mean that it bought her cross-Strait rhetoric. In fact, in the month following Tsai's visit, some unusual pronouncements have emerged from inside the Beltway. For example, Joseph R. Donovan Jr., Managing Director of the American Institute in Taiwan, now says cross-Strait policy must be acceptable to people on both sides of the Strait, rather than just the people of Taiwan. This is an obvious change. This change was proposed by recognized experts on cross-Strait issues. They argue that the United States should seek a cross-Strait "preliminary agreement" to ensure cross-Strait peace and stability.
American attitudes are gradually changing. The signs are clear. Xi Jinping is about to pay Washington his first state visit. Officials and aides from the two governments are shuttling back and forth, making arrangements and determining the agenda of the talks. Mainland President Xi Jinping is resolute and determined on cross-Strait issues. The United States realizes that Tsai Ing-wen's equivocal cross-Strait policy path is more perilous than previously imagined. The United States may or may not buy Tsai's rhetoric. But as long as the Mainland does not, cross-Strait tensions are likely to escalate to dangerous levels.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies is a Washington think tank. Senior CSIS researcher Bonnie Glaser and Assistant Researcher Jacqueline Vitello recently published an article in the National Interest. They made several points worthy of attention. One. No matter what Tsai Ing-wen says, Beijing remains suspicious because of her past record. Two. If Tsai Ing-wen pursues de jure independence, Beijing will react violently. It will impose a diplomatic blockade or even resort to military force. Three. The various parties must not underestimate Xi's reaction, especially given internal pressure not to show weakness regarding Taiwan. Four. If Tsai publicly rejects the existing framework, including the 1992 consensus, she will damage cross-Strait relations. Five. The United States must take concrete action, the sooner the better. Glaser and Vitello argue that the United States should seek a cross-Strait "preliminary agreement". Arguments in favor of a Provisional Agreement first appeared in 1999. Stanley Roth, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Susan Shirk, suggested ensuring that Taiwan would not move toward independence and the Mainland would not resort to the use of force. Mainstream public opinion in the US caused it to die a natural death. But this old wine has now appeared in new bottles, revealing US anxiety.
The solution to Mainland Chinese mistrust and United States anxiety is in the 1992 consensus reached by the two cross-Strait associations in 1992. The 1992 consensus is the basis for understanding and trust between the two sides. It has three implications, including two agreements and one disagreement. |A. Both sides adhere to the One China Principle. B. Both sides pursue national unity. C. Taipei advocates One China, Different Interpretations, but but Beijing does not accept One China, Different Interpretations. It considers the 1992 Consensus an administrative matter. Therefore it feels no need to stress "One China". The result was "One China, No Interpretation". After 2008, the Ma government narrowed the meaning of the 1992 Consensus to One China, Different Interpretations. To expedite cross-Strait exchanges, Beijing tolerated the Ma government's interpretation. But according to Beijing's understanding, the 1992 Consensus does not mean "Different Interpretations". It means "opposition to Taiwan independence", or "Both sides are part of one China." Xi Jinping says the core of the 1992 consensus is recognition that the Mainland and Taiwan both are part of one China. As long as they agree on this point, political parties or groups on Taiwan and the Mainland can enage in exchanges without obstacles. Without the 1992 consensus as a solid foundation, the earth beneath our feet will move.
Tsai Ing-wen now faces two problems. She may be able to use vague remarks about "maintaining the status quo" or "affirming the ROC constitutional framework" to persuade the public on Taiwan or Washington that she can maintain cross-Strait stability. But the Big Picture in East Asia and relative strength of the Mainland have changed. Cross-Strait relations are not determined by unilateral decree. Can the DPP accept the premise that "both sides are part of one China", along with One China, Different Interpretations? Can it cease its program of indoctrination in separatist history? If not, it will touch the lethal third rail and Beijing will not remain silent.
Voters on Taiwan are not afraid of Mainland threats. Nor are Beijing's core principles sacrosanct and inviolable. But Tsai Ing-wen and Hung Hsiu-chu have an obligation to explain their visions, directions, strategies, and the possible risks of their cross-Strait policy paths. They must enable the voters to make a rational and wise choice. Only then will the outcome of the vote be freely chosen and represent what the voters actually want.
今年在兩岸政策上做了充分準備，以「維持現狀」及「 中華民國憲政體制」為論述主軸。這兩項主張顛覆了民進黨傳統， 也對馬政府兩岸政策「概括承受」。這是一張安全牌，選戰至今， 兩岸政策並未成為熱點議題，避開軟肋，她的當選機率愈來愈高。
九二共識」。可能因為國民黨提名洪秀柱程序才剛剛完成， 洪秀柱本人及國民黨還沒有開始針對兩岸議題「開槍」， 蔡英文的模糊策略才能暫時「持盈保泰」， 總統選情也始終只是國民黨「茶壺裡的風暴」。但這種「水波不興」 狀態不可能長期維持，事實上，台灣外部早已「山雨欲來風滿樓」， 「美國因素」與「中國因素」兩大外部力量逐漸發酵。
但正如本報昨天社論所指出， 高規格接待並不表示對她的兩岸論述全盤接受。事實上， 蔡英文結束訪美一個月來，華府開始有些不尋常的聲音傳出。 譬如美國在台協會執行理事唐若文在綠營主場演說強調， 美國堅持在「兩岸人民都接受」前提下處理兩岸問題，而非一貫的「 台灣人民」，這是很明顯的轉變。 最新發展是知名兩岸議題專家紛紛主張，美國應設法促成兩岸達成「 臨時協議」，以確保兩岸和平穩定。
兩國官員及幕僚正絡繹於途，就會談的議題與細節進行安排。 大陸國家主席習近平在兩岸問題上展現的強硬風格與決心， 已讓美國意識到，蔡模糊的兩岸路線，風險超出美方預期。 不論美國是否接受蔡的說詞，只要中國大陸不接受， 兩岸緊張即可能升高至危險的地步。
資深研究員葛來儀與助理研究員維特羅在美國《國家利益》 發表文章，文中有幾點值得台灣注意。一是不管蔡英文怎麼說， 北京仍然不放心，這是因為她過去的紀錄。 二是如果蔡追求法理台獨，北京會激烈反應，包括外交封殺， 也包括動武。三是各方不可低估習近平的反應， 尤其是在面臨內部壓力時，更不可能在台灣議題上示弱。 四是如果蔡公開拒斥現有架構，包括「九二共識」， 會損害兩岸關係。五是美國應有具體作為，且宜早不宜遲。 葛來儀與維特羅因而主張，美國應設法促成兩岸達成「臨時協議」。 臨時協議說法最早見於1999年， 當時美國國務院東亞助卿陸士達、副助卿謝淑麗等人相繼提出， 主張「訂定過渡期，台灣保證不獨，大陸保證不武」， 成為當時美國的主流意見，但後來無疾而終， 舊菜新炒可見美國的焦慮。
2年兩岸兩會所達成的「九二共識」，是雙方的基本諒解與互信。 其中包括「兩同一異」的三個內涵：（一） 雙方均堅持一個中國原則，（二）雙方均追求國家的統一，（三） 台北方面主張「一中各表」，但是北京並沒有接受「一中各表」， 而認為是處理事務性協商，所以不需要表述「一個中國」的內涵， 即所謂的「一中不表」。2008年後，馬政府將「九二共識」 窄化為「一中各表」，北京以兩岸交流為大目標， 容許了馬政府的詮釋，但是將「九二共識」定義為「反對台獨」。 簡單來說，北京的「九二共識」沒有所謂的「各表」，只有「 反對台獨」，或「兩岸同屬一中」。習近平表示，「九二共識」 的核心是「認同大陸和台灣同屬一個中國」，「只要做到此點， 台灣任何政黨和團體與大陸交往都沒有障礙」。沒有「九二共識」 就是「基礎不牢、地動山搖」。
中華民國憲政體制」的模糊說法， 讓台灣民眾或美國認為她可以維持兩岸穩定，但東亞大局、 兩岸關係與中國的實力均已改變，兩岸關係也不是一方說了算。 民進黨如果無法接受「兩岸同屬一個中國」為前提的「一中各表」， 如果持續在歷史教科書中堅持「分離史觀」， 就等於碰觸到大陸的核心原則，北京不會緘默。
但蔡英文與洪秀柱，有義務就雙方兩岸的願景、 路線與策略及可能的風險展開辯論，讓選民做出理性、智慧的抉擇， 投票結果才能「甘願做、歡喜受」。