China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
September 25, 2015
Executive Summary: Most people on Taiwan hope to maintain the status quo. Recent media surveys show that the number of those who hope Taiwan can "maintain the status quo indefinitely" has substantially increased. The DPP has attempted to spin this in Tsai Ing-wen's favour. It asserts that "Tsai Ing-wen's cross-Strait arguments are precise and rigorous. She has gradually won the public trust." People on Taiwan really do long for stability and peace. Tsai Ing-wen however, thinks that merely maintaining the status quo will neutralize the Mainland and persuade the United States to ensure smooth cross-Strait relations. Her thinking involves three naive assumptions.
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Most people on Taiwan hope to maintain the status quo. Recent media surveys show that the number of those who hope Taiwan can "maintain the status quo indefinitely" has substantially increased. The DPP has attempted to spin this in Tsai Ing-wen's favour. It asserts that "Tsai Ing-wen's cross-Strait arguments are precise and rigorous. She has gradually won the public trust." People on Taiwan really do long for stability and peace. Tsai Ing-wen however, thinks that merely maintaining the status quo will neutralize the Mainland and persuade the United States to ensure smooth cross-Strait relations. Her thinking involves three naive assumptions.
Naive Assumption One. Strategically speaking, Tsai Ing-wen has never offered a clear explanation of what she means by "maintaining the status quo". Ma Ying-jeou was clear when he advocated "no reunification, no independence, no use of force". He won the approval of the United States and the Mainland. Only then could cross-Strait relations remain stable over the following years. Tsai Ing-wen betrays the same "Don't rock the boat" mentality and tendency to procrastinate as the Ma government. Tsai denounced Ma Ying-jeou's policy path. She too has been responding to the people's desire to avoid war. Alas, she has failed to offer any macro level, long-term cross-Strait policy. Without any long term ideals, how can we revive the spirit of adventure that once inspired people on Taiwan to travel far and wide exploring the world? Allowing oneself to settle into an endless loop, living life day at a time, without any grander goal, will merely leave one lost and directionless.
Naive Assumption Two. "Don't rock the boat" style "maintaining the status quo" thinking. So-called "anti-China" (Anti-Mainland) sentiment is on the rise on Taiwan. Can the status quo really be maintained? That is doubtful. Poll data shows support for maintaining the status quo at new highs. But the public hatred of both the Mainland government and Mainland people is on the rise. This is the predictable result of the DPP's relentless incitement of anti-Mainland hatred over the pat decade. Hatred breeds hatred. If the Chang family is unrelenting in its hatred toward the Li family next door, can one really expect the Li family to become increasingly friendly toward the Chang family? The Mainland has a "Fifty Cent Party" whose populist rhetoric is every bit as extreme as those on Taiwan PTTs. Demands for reunification via military force have become louder. They will not dictate Mainland policy toward Taiwan. But democratic governments and authoritarian governments alike bend before the winds of public opinion. The only difference is that authoritarian governments bend a little less than democratic governments.
For Tsai Ing-wen's "maintaining the status quo" to succeed, she must radically reform the anti-Mainland Democratic Progressive Party. She must reverse the vicious cycle of escalating cross-Strait hatred.
Naive Assumption Three. Maintaining the status quo requires a key. The likelihood of cross-Strait war may be unlikely. But the deterioration of cross-Strait relations will devastate Taiwan. The key to maintaining the status quo is defending the Republic of China and adhering to the 1992 Consensus. Tsai Ing-wen's definition of the status quo must be rooted in the Republic of China and the 1992 Consensus. If it is, the negative impact on Taiwan can be minimized, and the possibility of maintaining the status quo will be maximized. The farther one departs from the Republic of China and the 1992 Consensus, the more cross-Strait relations will deteriorate and the greater the negative impact on Taiwan will be. The possibility of maintaining the status quo will correspondingly be diminished.
The peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, as the Mainland has reiterated, "did not fall from heaven". It is rooted in the shared recognition that both sides would adhere to the 1992 Consensus and oppose Taiwan independence. Tsai Ing-wen has refused to accept the 1992 Consensus. She has refused to repudiate the Taiwan independence party platform. Without the support of the 1992 consensus, how can the rewards of cross-Strait exchanges not evaporate? The destination is remote, and the road is long. Mere lip service to "maintaining the status quo" will not enable Tsai Ing-wen to sprout wings and fly there.
This newspaper has vowed to act as a channel for cross-Strait communication. It would like to remind those on the Mainland and Taiwan who support the status quo, that the number of those advocating both immediate independence and gradual independence has fallen. This should be cautiously viewed as good news. At least the number of those who advocate rational cross-Strait relations has not fallen. The public on Taiwan is increasingly receptive to political reality regarding Taiwan independence. Unfortunately hatred toward the Mainland has also increased. This anti-Mainland sentiment is a toxin, highly destructive of long term cross-Strait relations.
The Mainland is right to insist that Taiwan abide by the 1992 Consensus. This is something we have repeatedly called for. Acknowledging the existence of the Republic of China is the only thing that will enable genuine reconciliation with the Taiwan public, and the dissolution of anti-Mainland sentiment. Tsai Ing-wen no longer speaks of a "government in exile". She has pledged to uphold the Republic of China's constitutional framework, in form if not in spirit. Chiang Ching-kuo's final years witnessed the rise of Taiwan independence. Three decades of political agitation ensued. Yet today, the green camp is paying lip service to the Republic of China, right along with the blue. This is unprecedented on Taiwan. Naturally it must be viewed as significant.
Beijing realizes that the KMT has lost control over politics and policy on Taiwan. It has concluded that Tsai Ing-wen's election victory next year is a foregone conclusion. Therefore it is changing its policy toward Taiwan. It is adopting a unilateral decision-making model. It is seizing the initiative. It is making decisions according to its own time table. It is no longer negotiating with Taiwan. It is no longer seeking Taiwan's consent. The M503 flight path, the amending of national security laws, and the implementation of MTP smart cards, all reflect Beijing's new attitude. We would remind Beijing however that peaceful development and the reduction of public hatred will require "strategic firmness and tactical flexibility".
永遠維持現狀」者大幅增加。民進黨的解讀是，「 蔡英文主張的兩岸論述非常精確且嚴謹，已慢慢獲得人民的信任。」 人民確實嚮往安定和平的生活， 但蔡英文若認為只是提出維持現狀論，就能馴服大陸、說服美國， 確保兩岸關係的平順，這樣的想法存在著三個天真。
的內涵做出清楚的說明，馬英九尚且提出「不統、不獨、不武」 的清晰論述，才獲得美中的共同認可， 兩岸關係才維繫了多年的穩定。蔡英文的消極性， 透露的是與馬政府相同的偏安與拖延的無奈， 雖否定了馬英九路線的正當性，也在一定程度迎合了人民的「避戰」 期望，但不可能提出宏觀而長遠的兩岸政策。目標上失卻了積極性， 就難以引導台灣人找回過去那種面向世界、走南闖北的「闖勁」， 只能沉陷在拖一天算一天的停滯迴圈。沒有大目標就會失去方向感。
以台灣目前持續升高的反中情緒氛圍下，能否「維持」 也充滿不確定性。民調數據都顯示，維持現狀支持度攀向新高， 但台灣人民無論對大陸政府或民眾，其惡感均上升， 這也是民進黨過去十多年來持續燃燒反中氛圍的結果。 惡感將激化惡感，就如兩家鄰居， 很難期待在張家不斷升高其對李家厭惡的同時， 李家能對張家愈來愈友善。 大陸網路上所謂五毛黨所代表的民粹力量， 言論偏激程度不輸給台灣的PTT，武統的聲音愈來愈強， 雖然不致於成為大陸對台軍事政策，但不管民主政府或威權政府， 都是隨民意之風擺動的草， 所差別的只是威權政府的擺幅可能較民主政府為小罷了。
蔡英文的維持現狀仍必須有操作面的支撐， 否則即便兩岸進入戰爭的機會不大， 但兩岸關係惡化對台灣的衝擊會造成重創。 而操作面的中心座標就是「中華民國」與「九二共識」。 如果蔡英文執政， 對維持現狀的定義與操作離中華民國與九二共識愈近， 兩岸惡化的幅度及對台灣的負面衝擊就愈小， 維持現狀的可能性就愈大，反之離中華民國與九二共識愈遠， 兩岸惡化與對台灣的負面衝擊就愈大， 維持現狀的可能性也就相對減少。
不是從天上掉下來的」，必須建立在兩岸雙方認同堅持九二共識、 反對台獨這一共同政治基礎上。蔡英文迄今不接受九二共識， 台獨黨綱也不放棄。拆掉九二共識地基後， 如何維護兩岸交流成果的高樓於不塌？關山迢遞， 恐怕不是蔡英文說一句「維持現狀」，就能飛天越過。
台灣支持維持現狀者創新高，急獨與緩獨主張均下降， 應可視為對台工作「審慎的喜訊」。 至少代表兩岸關係在理性面並未惡化， 台灣人民更能接受宜遠離台獨的政治現實。但在情緒面上， 台灣人民對大陸的惡感卻相對升高， 反中情緒是一種感性的負性毒素，對兩岸關係的長期走向不利。
只有面對中華民國的存在，才有可能與台灣人民真正和解， 進一步消解反中力量。特別是蔡英文不再提「流亡政府論」 宣示遵守中華民國憲政體制後，至少在形式上， 中華民國算是藍綠公約數，這是自蔣經國晚年台獨勢力崛起後， 政治變遷激盪30年來所首見，當然有其值得重視的意義。
又評估明年大選蔡英文勝選趨勢似成定局，在對台政策作為上改採「 以我為主」的單向決策模式，依自己的時程與需要做決策， 不再與台灣協商、取得台灣的同意，M503航道事件、 片面修訂國安法到實施卡式台胞證等事件，都反映了北京的心態。 我們提醒北京，走和平發展路線要先消除民間惡感，對台工作「 戰略堅定、戰術柔軟」是必要的。