United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 27, 2015
Executive Summary: The SEF and ARATS have just concluded talks in Fuzhou. The two sides signed agreements that will facilitate cross-Strait taxation and airline safety. This will be the last high-level cross-Strait talk held during the Ma administration. The atmosphere during the general election is treacherous. The talks have not garnered much attention. But those in the know cannot help wondering. If the general election next year results in a ruling party change, will high-level cross-Strait talks still be possible?
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The SEF and ARATS have just concluded talks in Fuzhou. The two sides signed agreements that will facilitate cross-Strait taxation and airline safety. This will be the last high-level cross-Strait talk held during the Ma administration. The atmosphere during the general election is treacherous. The talks have not garnered much attention. But those in the know cannot help wondering. If the general election next year results in a ruling party change, will high-level cross-Strait talks still be possible?
Some say the Fuzhou talks may be the last high-level talks the two sides hold for many years. That may sound alarmist, but it is true. Yet the public on Taiwan has yet to treat the problem with the seriousness it deserves. Zhang Zhijun spoke in Fuzhou, saying that, "Without the 1992 consensus, the framework for cross-Strait trust and negotiation could collapse". His words attracted more attention than the bilateral agreement. Tsai Ing-wen may be wondering. Suppose she takes power next year. Will she wind up negotiating with the Mainland, or clashing with it head on?
Tsai Ing-wen's response has been to squeak through by chanting the mantra, "maintaining the status quo". Many on Taiwan are deluded. They assume Tsai Ing-wen has a trick up her sleeve that will have Beijing eating out of her hand. In fact, Tsai Ing-wen and Beijing remain miles apart. The closest she and Beijing have ever gotten, can be summed up in "the existing constitutional framework of the Republic of China", the phrase she blurted out during her visit to the US. This phrase appears to honor public opinion and promote peaceful and stable cross-Strait relations. But her "existing constitutional framework" has a catch. The constitution is clearly a "one China" constitution. So why are Taiwan independence elements silent about Tsai Ing-wen's stance on cross-Strait relations?
Their acquiescence can be explained in two ways. One. Tsai Ing-wen is preparing to turn her back on Taiwan independence, but has yet to inform Taiwan independence elements. She is allowing Taiwan independence elements to think she is merely resorting to campaign tricks. Once she is safetly ensonced in office, she will kick Taiwan independence elements aside. But the likelihood of this is scant. Taiwan independence is the DPP's prime mover, its vote-getting machine. Why would Tsai Ing-wen forsake this endless gusher? That leaves Two. On the matter of "the existing constitutional framework", Tsai Ing-wen has a tacit understanding with Taiwan independence elements. Deceive Washington, Beijing, centrist, and pale blue voters, such that they mistakenly allow an apparently moderate Tsai Ing-wen to ascend to power. She will then be able complete the final mile and fulfill her grand ambition without resistance.
Tsai's apparent about face has momentarily left Beijing disoriented. But dialectical materialist thought is Beijing's forte. A few days later, the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office came right out and demanded of Tsai Ing-wen, "What is the relationship between the two sides? What is the basis for cross-Strait relations? How do you intend to maintain peaceful and stable cross-Strait relations? "
Tsai Ing-wen has yet to show her hand. Beijing is also patiently waiting to see. The 11 talks alrready scheduled will still be held. The second Hsia-Zhang meeting will probably still be held in mid-September. But the price for the transfer of Mainland tourists is has been increased. We are now required to use Taiwan Strait routes. For the moment the two sides appear relaxed. But will cross-Strait relations undergo drastic change in the event Tsai Ing-wen is elected? That remains to be seen.
Beijing's plans are not difficult to discern. The Zhurihe military maneuvers in Inner Mongolia included replicas of the presidential palace in Taipei. That is one hint. The 9/3 anti-fascist victory parade amounts is a high-profile warning to the United States and Japan, aimed deliberately at the Taiwan Strait. Xi Jinping intends to raise the Taiwan issue during his September visit to the US. He intends to pull the rug out from under Tsai Ing-wen. He is attempting to reach an understanding with the United States on how to bring Tsai Ing-wen to heel.
Xi Jinping's strategy will ward off invaders, establish a perimeter around Taiwan, limit Tsai Ing-wen's maneuvering room, thereby keeping her on a short leash. This perimeter is threefold. The first is the interests of the major powers. The second is cross-Strait economic benefits. The third is psychological deterrence. Among these, Taiwan's economic benefits constitute the soft underbelly.
Tsai Ing-wen's plan cavalierly thumbs its nose at these factors. Her defiant attitude reveals a populist impulse to butt heads with the major powers. When addressing a think tank in the US, she touted the democratic values of the Sunflower Student Movement. She described it as a "new political and social force". She promised "to allow this powerful force to influence her decision-making process". But as everyone knows only too well, the Sunflower Student Movement is an artificial, stage-managed, anti-Mainland China exercise. Tsai Ing-wen assumes that her populist rhetoric will compel the United States to back whatever she does. But can the US really be so easily taken for a ride?
While Tsai has been pandering to the United States, her political mentor Lee Teng-hui has been whipping up Japanophile imperial subject sentiments. He has been urging people on Taiwan to repudiate their own ethnic heritage. Tsai Ing-wen has refused to utter a word of criticism. Instead, she has demanded that people show Lee respect. Her behavior reflects the smug superciliousness of her Sinophobic mindset.
Chen Shui-bian ruled for eight years without a legislative majority. The Kuomintang legislative majority acted as a safety valve. Chen dared to demanded the "rectification of names and the authoring of a new constitution". He made international waves and pushed the two sides to the brink of war. If Tsai Ing-wen becomes president and enjoys a legislative majority, how will she moderate demands for Taiwan independence?
Tsai Ing-wen sits, waiting for the presidency to fall into her lap. The scenario offers little promise of cross-Strait peace. On the contrary, the two sides are now more likely than ever to clash head on. When, if ever, will high-level cross-strait talks be held again? How, if possible, can the status quo be maintained?
雙方簽下了有助兩岸交流的租稅及飛安兩項協議。 這是馬政府任內兩岸最後一次高層會談。在大選詭譎的氣氛中， 這次會談成果似未受到太多重視； 但有識者不能不想到一個更深刻的問題：明年大選如果變天， 還可不可能有兩岸高層協商？
聽似危言聳聽，卻也相當真實， 但台灣社會尚未認真思考過這個問題。張志軍在福州會談中說： 如果沒有「九二共識」，兩岸互信及商談機制可能「坍塌」；此話， 其實比兩岸簽下的協議更受矚目。而在蔡英文心裡，她可曾自忖： 明年若上台，是要走協商路線，還是要衝突？
維持現狀」，輕鬆帶過。不少民眾也存有幻想， 以為蔡英文會有某些奇招，將北京制得服服貼貼。事實上， 蔡英文與北京的差距，至今仍非常遙遠。她與北京最近的距離， 是訪美時冒出的一句：「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穩定發展。但這個「 現行憲政體制」卻頗有玄機，分明是一個「一中架構」的憲法， 蔡英文若要依此推動兩岸關係，獨派何以靜默如斯？
讓獨派以為這只是她的選舉騙術，等到大權在握， 再把獨派一腳踢開。但這個走法可能性微乎其微， 台獨是民進黨的政治發動機，藉此票源滾滾， 蔡英文豈可能自絕於這口噴票油井？那麼，只剩第二個解法，「 現行憲政體制」是蔡英文與獨派之間心照不宣的共謀，讓華盛頓、 北京以及國內的中間與淺藍選民， 誤以為一個溫和中庸的蔡英文將要上台，如此， 問鼎大位的最後一哩路上即沒有閃失。
該上場的十一次會談仍然上場， 第二次夏張會也可望在九月中旬登場，但陸客中轉則堆高了代價， 必須以海峽航路換取。此刻的兩岸，呈現了外弛內張的狀態， 但蔡英文如當選兩岸會不會變生肘腋，則仍是懸念。
內蒙古的朱日和軍演乍現仿總統府的建築，是一次暗示； 而九三的反法西斯勝利閱兵，則是高調威懾，既對著美日、 也著意於台海。而習近平九月訪美，確定列入台灣議題， 則是繞到蔡英文的後方拔樁， 試圖與美方達成共同管束蔡英文的默契。
限縮蔡英文的空間，讓她只能在預設的範疇內活動。這幾根樁子， 一是大國利益、二是兩岸經濟、三是心理懾迫。其中， 經濟更是台灣的軟肋。
隱含著要以民粹去衝撞大國秩序的暗喻。她訪美時在智庫的演講， 即吹捧太陽花運動的民主價值，將它描述成「新興的政治社會力」， 還要「讓這些強大的動能進入決策程序」。但眾所皆知， 太陽花是一次人為操弄的反中動員，如此高調地將民粹唱入雲霄， 就是自恃可以挾美自重，但美國又豈是如此容易被挾持的？
還有多數的國民黨作為安全瓣，他都敢逕以制憲、 正名掀起國際狂濤，使兩岸陷入準戰爭邊緣；蔡英文若以總統、 國會皆過半取得完全執政，那麼，她要如何澆熄台獨的熾焰？
更可能掀起兩岸衝突的驚天惡浪；那麼， 下一次兩岸高層會談將在何年何月？而所謂「現狀」， 又將如何維持？