China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 10, 2015
Executive Summary: A while back DPP ChairpersonTsai Ing-wen met with Time magazine reporters over dinner for a series of interviews. As Tsai helped a reporter to some food, she inadvertently blurted out: "Remember that Taiwan's next president once waited on you." Clearly she is confident of victory. Now that PFP Chairman James Soong has announced his candidacy, the blue camp vote will be split. Tsai Ing-wen's 2016 presidential election prospects seem even more certain.
Full Text Below:
A while back DPP ChairpersonTsai Ing-wen met with Time magazine reporters over dinner for a series of interviews. As Tsai helped a reporter to some food, she inadvertently blurted out: "Remember that Taiwan's next president once waited on you." Clearly she is confident of victory. Now that PFP Chairman James Soong has announced his candidacy, the blue camp vote will be split. Tsai Ing-wen's 2016 presidential election prospects seem even more certain.
Under the circumstances, Tsai Ing-wen may wish to consider what kind of Taiwan she will have to govern upon her election. On cross-strait relations, Chen Shui-bian suffered many setbacks. Ma Ying-jeou mishandled ruling vs. opposition party clashes and national governance. He failed to prioritize, and lost support from both left and right. Tsai Ing-wen will be no exception. How will she deal with such problems?
Tsai Ing-wen faces problems even worse than those faced by Chen Shui-bian and Ma Ying-jeou. Cross-Strait and international relations are in chaos. Taiwan is wracked by serious internal political divisions. The economy is in dire straits. Since the 1980s, Taiwan has endured political unrest even while it enjoyed economic prosperity. Peoples' lives were generally stable. In recent years however, a worsening economy has led to serious grievances among the young. An even more serious political and economic double whammy awaits. Addressing this plight is not difficult. But it must be done before May of next year.
Taiwan must deal with two kinds of divisions. The Mainland and Taiwan are divided. People on Taiwan are also divided. Both divisions affect each other. The situation is complex and hard to control. Tsai Ing-wen has assured the United States that she will maintain the status quo, ensuring cross-Strait peace. But she has yet to gain the trust of either the Mainland or the blue camp. Even young children know that Old School Taiwan independence zealots have an undisguised agenda. First ensure Tsai Ing-wen's election victory. Leave the details for later. New School Taiwan independence activists make no effort to hide their hatred for "[Mainland] China". In other words, upon election, Tsai Ing-wen must fulfill her campaign promises. She will then meet with powerful resistance. That being the case, she must demonstrate her determination today. She must begin promoting dialogue between Taipei and Beijing, and the blue camp and green camp. Doing so could even lead to a greater triumph for the DPP, and a more stable foundation for future governance.
Social divisions also require attention. If diversification allows mutual respect and dialogue between people holding different views, that is of course good. But recent events have shown that social divisions between opposite ends of the political spectrum make dialogue more difficult and tolerance impossible. As a result, some scholars believe that the ROC is now a nation divided by democratic civil war.
Take the curriculum revision controversy for example. Extremists go online and denounce each other as "Chinese pigs" or "Japanese lackeys". Society is sharply divided. This cannot possibly be good for Taiwan. As the election heats up, the conflict will only become more intense. Social divisions will increase after the election, making reintegration more difficult. So why not call a halt to partisan political battles now?
Economic problems can be classified as internal and external. Internally, industrial competitiveness declined this year. Export momentum weakened. The problem is serious. The real estate market has turned down. The stock market has tumbled. The recent capital gains tax controversy shows that internal boom plus external boom has become internal boom plus external bust. This will deteriorate further, leading to internal bust plus external bust. The public is uneasy about next year. Tsai Ing-wen's chief financial aide Lin Chuan has already announced her intention to repeal the capital gains tax. This of course contradicts Tsai Ing-wen's loudly trumpeted "social justice", and is expected to provoke fierce debate.
Another uncertainty involves energy, primarily electricity power generation. The Number Four Nuclear Power Plant has been mothballed. The decommissioning of old power plants has reduced power reserve margins to 5 to 10%. The slightest mistake could lead to brownouts. The decommissioning of the Number One and Number Two Nuclear Power Plants will reduce the power supply even more. Tsai Ing-wen has stressed the need to increase renewable energy. But this is simply not doable in the short-term. If Tsai Ing-wen is elected, she is certain to encounter power shortages. The subsequent economic decline will discourage manufacturers from investing. This is a major problem that cannot be ignored. Short-term economic decline and medium-term power shortages loom. Tsai Ing-wen should immediately call for dialogue, leading to a consensus across the blue-green divide. She should demonstrate sincerity and ability. She should not imitate James Soong by indulging in empty talk.
Externally, the most pressing issue is economic and trade marginalization. There are three ways to avoid this. One. Sign the MTA. Implement the MTA and previously signed STA as soon as possible. Two. Sign FTAs (free trade agreements) with other countries. Three. Join regional economic organizations such as the TPP and RCEP. The RCEP is Mainland dominated. The chance of Taiwan joining is remote. The TPP is US-led. But it may be too late to do much good. Also pork and beef imports issues remain insoluble. This is a major stumbling block for Taipei-Washington economic and trade relations. FTAs with other countries are unlikely given the international reality. Therefore signing the MTA is our best hope for alleviating the crisis of marginalization.
Everyone wants to "maintain the status quo". In fact our main concern should be to ensure our sovereignty and maintain our economic exchanges. Former Chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council Tsai Ing-wen once pledged that upon taking office she would honor economic agreements signed by the previous administration. That being the case, why not seek agreement now? Prevent Taiwan from spinning her wheels. Do that, and Tsai Ing-wen's election election is assured.
在為記者夾菜時曾不經意說：「台灣下一任總統曾經為妳服務」， 清楚展現了她對邁向勝選的信心。隨著親民黨主席宋楚瑜宣布參選， 藍營選票再受瓜分， 蔡英文2016年總統大選勝算似乎更加確定了。
面臨的會是一個怎麼樣的台灣？在兩岸關係上， 陳水扁曾經遭遇過的挫折；在朝野對抗與國家治理方面， 馬英九的左右失據與輕重拿捏錯誤，她都不可能倖免，那麼， 要如何有智慧的應對？
兩岸與國際大局混沌、內部政治嚴重分裂、經濟危機四伏。 80年代以來，台灣大體維持政治不安、經濟繁榮的局面， 民眾大致還能維持安定的生活。近年經濟稍壞， 已造成青年一代嚴重的怨氣，展望未來， 很可能陷入更嚴峻的政治經濟雙重夾擊。不過，解除困境並不難， 只是來不及等明年5月後才開始。
情勢複雜且難以掌控。蔡英文已向美國保證會維持現狀、 確保海峽和平，但顯然並未得到大陸及藍營的信賴。五尺之童皆知， 老派台獨心存陽謀，先讓蔡當選再說，新興台獨則明目張膽反中， 換言之，蔡英文選後履行承諾將阻力重重。既然如此， 蔡英文現在就應該展現決斷力，開始推動兩岸及藍綠間的對話， 或許還能讓民進黨獲得更大的勝利，未來執政的基礎更穩定。
多元化後如果不同立場者間可以互相尊重與對話，當然是好事， 但最近一些社會爭議事件卻顯示：政治光譜兩端間， 不但越來越難以對話，甚至無法彼此包容，影響所及， 有學者認為台灣已經變成現在進行式的民主內戰分裂國家。
倭國奴」互評，嚴重撕裂社會，豈是台灣之福？隨著選情日趨激烈， 社會裂痕持續擴大，與其選後面對難以整合的國家，政黨持續惡鬥， 何不現在就開始避免撕裂？
今年以來出現的產業競爭力下滑、出口動能降低問題已相當嚴重， 房地產同時開始進入反轉下滑階段， 近來券商一再反映的股市重挫與證所稅問題， 顯示景氣不但已由內溫外溫轉為內溫外冷， 更將進一步惡化為內外皆冷，讓人對明年經濟情勢惴惴不安。 蔡英文主要財經幕僚林全已表達要廢除證所稅之意，但如此一來， 有違蔡英文標榜的「社會公平正義」，預料社會將是一番激烈爭論。
老舊電廠陸續退役後，供電備載容量下降， 這幾個月的備載容量多在5到10%左右，稍微不慎就要限電。 核一、核二又將除役，電力供應更吃緊。 蔡英文強調要增加再生能源，但不是短期就能增加， 幾乎可預見蔡英文如果當選，任內必然會碰到供電不足危機， 並導致廠商投資意願衰落問題，這將會是無法迴避的大問題。 面對短期景氣下挫與中期電力供應問題， 蔡英文可以立即邀集各方對話，以形成社會共識， 展現真實跨越藍綠的誠意與能力，而非如宋楚瑜般空談。
一個是完成兩岸貨貿協議， 讓貨貿與先前已簽訂的服貿協議盡快上路； 再來是與其他國家簽訂FTA（自由貿易協定）， 第三是加入區域經貿組織（TPP及RCEP）。通盤來看， RCEP是中國主導，加入的機會很小；TPP由美國主導， 但可能緩不濟急，而且牛、豬進口問題無解， 這是台美經貿關係的大石頭。至於跟其他國家簽FTA， 在國際現實環境下，希望不大。因此，最可能在短期完成、 紓緩邊緣化危機者，就是貨貿了。