China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
September 17, 2015
Executive Summary: Following last year's March 18 Sunflower Student Movement, authorities on both sides of the Taiwan Strait have made significant efforts to ensure continued bilateral relations. The results however, have been lackluster. The STA, MTA, cross-Strait representative offices, and Oversight Regulations for Cross-Strait Agreements all remain stillborn. Routine cross-Strait consultations seem ineffective. Taiwan has entered election season. Political campaigns are now in full swing. Few anticipate progress in cross-Strait relations. Everyone is waiting for the political picture to clear next May before commenting.
Full Text Below:
Following last year's March 18 Sunflower Student Movement, authorities on both sides of the Taiwan Strait have made significant efforts to ensure continued bilateral relations. The results however, have been lackluster. The STA, MTA, cross-Strait representative offices, and Oversight Regulations for Cross-Strait Agreements all remain stillborn. Routine cross-Strait consultations seem ineffective. Taiwan has entered election season. Political campaigns are now in full swing. Few anticipate progress in cross-Strait relations. Everyone is waiting for the political picture to clear next May before commenting.
Recent developments may worsen cross-Strait relations. Some cross-Strait issues cannot be postponed until a new government takes over ext May. The Ma government and the DPP must each formulate a response.
One. A local police station in Guangdong Province, on the Mainland, recently sent an official document to a police station in Yancheng, Kaohsiung, on Taiwan. Two. Government agencies on the Mainland recently told travel agencies on Taiwan that they should not play audio and video recordings containing ideological, religious, or anti-communist content on tour buses transporting Mainland tourists. Three. The day before yesterday Beijing announced that it was updating Taiwan Compatriot Permits by issuing them as smart cards. These actions failed to accord with Taiwan requirements. Taiwan authorities were not consulted beforehand. Four. Negotiations on five cross-Strait meetings on gold and silver, and round five negotiations on Mainland tourist transit rights remain deadlocked. Beijing refuses to budge. It is no longer making concessions in order to demonstrate goodwill. These piecemeal developments have deeper political implications.
From a neutral or positive perspective, direct contact between agencies on the two sides bypasses red tape, saves time and energy, and allows more efficient operation. Smart cards are helpful for people from Taiwan who wish to tour, visit relatives and friends, or seek employment on the Mainland. But the political status of the two sides remains a sensitive issue. Both sides have their own political considerations. Therefore they must interact with each other in accordance with existing mechanisms or white gloves. They must communicate beforehand. The CCP has unilaterally sent official documents to local agencies on Taiwan. Does this mean that Beijing has decided it no longer cares about Taiwan's political status, or how it may react? Does this mean Beijing has decided to do things its own way, on its own timetable? Taiwan's ruling and opposition parties need to think hard about this.
Rumors are that the CCP recently held meetings addressing its attitude toward Taiwan. It conducted a comprehensive review of cross-Strait relations and potential changes in direction. It anticipates the possibility of political changes on Taiwan. Beijing probably realizes that the Mainland cannot change the outcome of Taiwan's elections. But it knows it must solemnly declare its position and attitude, both for the international community and for voters on Taiwan.
Last month ARATS Chairman Chen Deming said cross-Strait relations will continue to rely on the two cross-Strait committees. This implies private sector interaction. The daily lives of the general public will not be affected. This also implies that the CCP will selectively target groups, political parties, and individuals who promote separatism and sabotage cross-Strait relations. Beijing will make the impact tangible, hence understandable to the public on Taiwan understand. Next week, Xi and Obama will meet. The Mainland and the US may seek consensus. They may decide to implement joint Beijing-Washington management of Taiwan, to ensure that the DPP and the public on Taiwan understand the political realities.
Beijing understands that after eight years of peaceful development, Taiwan has undergone profound changes in social psychology. Taiwan independence ideology has faded. Even if the DPP wins the election next year, Tsai Ing-wen will not dare pursue de jure independence. But the DPP government will undoubtedly maximize de facto independence, because intensifying "Taiwanese consciousness" will enable the DPP to expand its power base and ensure its long-term rule.
Beijing will of course expect Tsai Ing-wen to uphold the constitutional framework of the Republic of China. It will use it to gauge Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP's stand on international and cross-Strait issues. If they cross the line, Beijing will reaction strongly, and hold the Tsai government responsible. The Democratic Progressive Party will find it difficult to avoid expressing support for certain green camp issues, such as whether to join the United Nations. Given the DPP's habitual behavior, Beijing will have no difficulty finding reasons to object.
Beijing has already concluded that the DPP will probably return to power. It is now making preparations. Concrete moves are likely in the near future. President Ma Ying-jeou, Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen, and even the public on Taiwan, must be prepared. The Ma government must not do nothing and merely wait to step down. That is not the behavior of a responsible government. Ma's term of office may be running out. But President Ma is still the head of state. He must summon up the courage to make further achievements in cross-Strait relations.
During his term in office, President Ma was responsible for many cross-Strait and international achievements. These were enthusiastically affirmed by the public. He must not backpedal during the final months of his administration. If he does, he will undermine his achievements, tarnish his halo, and leave behind him a legacy of failure.
For DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen, victory appears imminent. She must not be so arrogant as to imagine that the Mainland will simply accomodate Taiwan following the election. She must not assume that as long as the DPP refrains from pursuing de jure independence and upholds the "Republic of China", that stability in the Strait will be assured, and that the Mainland will be able to do nothing. That would be egocentric wishful thinking. Tsai must make changes as soon as possible on cross-Strait relations, in anticipation of all possibilities. The general public must see the truth. It must not be deceived by appearances. After all, the ballots are in their hands. If they make the wrong choice, they are the ones who will suffer the consequences.
希望維持雙邊關係持續發展的動能和熱度， 但在具體事務上卻顯得乏善可陳。《服貿》、《貨貿》、 兩岸互設辦事機構、《兩岸協議監督條例》沒有一項得到落實， 兩岸各項定期協商機制顯得有氣無力。在台灣已經進入政治旺季， 選戰打得如火如荼的當下，各界更不再對兩岸關係的進展抱持期望， 似乎一切靜待明年5月政情明朗後再說。
兩岸關係的發展隱然之間似有惡化的可能，兩岸一些重大問題， 可能拖不到明年5月新政府成立後再議， 馬政府與民進黨恐須有因應腹案。
竟然直接發文高雄市鹽埕警察分局；其次， 大陸相關單位直接通知我方旅行社， 略謂不宜在大陸旅台遊客的遊覽車上播放、談論某些涉及意識形態、 宗教活動及反共宣傳的影片；另外， 北京前天公告全面換發卡式台胞證，並未按照台灣的要求， 事前與我方照會協商；第四，近期有關兩岸金銀5會和陸客中轉第5 延遠權的談判，北京全然堅守底線，不再刻意讓步示好。 這些點點滴滴事件背後應有深層政治含意。
可以避免繁文縟節，節省時間與精力，辦事更有效率， 卡式台胞證對台灣民眾前往大陸觀光旅遊、探親訪友、 定居工作都有幫助，但兩岸間彼此的定位問題相當敏感， 雙方必須有若干政治考量， 因此多半按照既有的機制或兩會白手套進行互動，事前也會通氣。 中共如今直接和我方相關單位進行交涉、發出公文， 這是否意味著北京已經決定，不管或不在乎台灣的立場與可能反應， 決定按照自己的規畫和時程辦事。台灣朝野需慎思明辨。
全面檢討未來兩岸關係的發展方向及應興應革事項， 預為因應台灣可能出現的政治變局。北京或許已經了解， 雖然大陸無法改變台灣選舉的結果，但是立場和態度必須嚴正表達， 既讓國際社會知道，也讓台灣選民理解。
這就意味著兩岸民間互動，一般普羅大眾的生活不會受到影響， 但言外之意是，中共將選擇性， 針對性地對於某些破壞兩岸關係發展，主張分離主義的特定團體、 政黨和個人做出一些事情，讓其有感，讓台灣民眾有所理解。 下周習歐會，大陸可能設法尋求中美共識，建立中美共管台灣， 讓民進黨及台灣民眾理解政治現實的共識。
已深刻改變台灣社會的心理結構，台獨思想已逐漸淡化， 即使民進黨明年勝選，蔡英文不會、不敢、也不能追求法理台獨。 但也預見，民進黨政府將會把事實台獨極大化，因為這既對深化、 強化台灣主體意識有利，也可讓民進黨繼續擴大其群眾基礎， 有利其長期執政。
作為檢驗民進黨政府的行事標準，在國際、 兩岸問題上衡量蔡英文的所作所為，若有違逆，就會做出強烈反應， 並要求蔡英文政府自行負責。一些涉及綠營價值理念層次的問題， 譬如是否加入聯合國等，民進黨執政後將難以迴避， 以民進黨的行事風格來看， 即使說北京未來蓄意要找藉口恐怕不是難事。
很可能近期內就會有具體行動。馬英九總統、蔡英文主席， 甚至台灣民眾都應該有個態度和立場。馬政府不能啥事不做不管， 只等安全下莊，這不是一個負責任的政府應為、當為， 即使任期所剩不多，但馬總統還是應該拿出國家元首的魄力、 氣度和高度，在兩岸關係上做出具體成績。
切勿在最後幾個月發生兩岸關係急速倒退， 所有成就毀於一旦的悲劇，失去最後的政績光環， 馬總統只能留下失敗的歷史標記。
認為選後大陸對台思維就會跟著調整，只要不追求法理台獨，「 中華民國」庇佑下就可以維持台海安定，就讓大陸莫可奈何， 這可能是太過自我中心的一廂情願。 蔡英文可能需要盡速針對兩岸關係各種可能的變化，預擬各項備案。 至於一般民眾，千萬要看清事務的本質，不要被其表象所迷惑， 畢竟選票在自己的手上，做錯了選擇，將來後悔莫及。