United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 10, 2015
Executive Summary: Consider the Ma Xi summit from two perspectives: protocol and rhetoric. In terms of protocol, the Ma Xi summit clearly confirmed the existence of “one China, different interpretations”. In terms of rhetoric, the Ma Xi summit also confirmed that the definition of "one China" remains the cross-strait bone of contention.
Full Text Below:
Consider the Ma Xi summit from two perspectives: protocol and rhetoric. In terms of protocol, the Ma Xi summit clearly confirmed the existence of “one China, different interpretations”. In terms of rhetoric, the Ma Xi summit also confirmed that the definition of "one China" remains the cross-strait bone of contention.
All political rituals are rooted in political substance. They reflect political substance. Therefore we must not underestimate the substantive impact of the Ma Xi summit. According to Zhang Zhijun, the Ma Xi summit was "a pragmatic arrangement rooted in the principle of one China". It was "rooted in the status [of Ma and Xi] as the two sides' leaders. Therefore "they addressed each other as Mister” and "shelved disputes and demonstrated mutual respect", in accordance with Taipei's call for "equality and dignity". The summit set high standards. Therefore its protocol stressed equality. Each side paid its own bills, including the cost of the dinner. Neither side hung flags in the hotel.
The Ma Xi summit was “rooted in the status [of Ma and Xi] as the two sides' leaders”. This was its greatest achievement. The protocol of the summit reflected political realities on both sides of the Strait. Both sides continue to define "one China" differently. Beijing does not accept the premise that "one China equals the Republic of China". Taipei does not accept the premise that "one China equals the People's Republic of China". Therefore Ma cannot attend the summit as "President of the Republic of China", and Xi cannot attend the summit as "Chairman of the People's Republic of China".
When Zhang Zhijun spoke of shelving disputes, he was referring to the dispute over the meaning of "one China”. When he spoke of mutual respect, he was referring to respect for the other side's definition of one China. In other words, the summit protocol acknowledged the ongoing cross-Strait controversy over the definition of one China. One could say it acknowledged the existence of "one China, different interpretations".
Political rituals reflect political substance. The summit also reflected the ongoing dispute over the definition of "one China". In the .past, the two sides talked past each other. The Ma Xi summit was the first time this dispute has been addressed at the highest level. On the surface, it underscore the disagreement. But substantively, it confronted the disagreement and initiated the process of resolution. Leaders from the two sides agreed that the dispute was over the definition of "one China". This was the summit's greatest achievement.
Before the summit, the two sides reached an understanding. During the opening speeches, neither side would make any pointed remarks. They would limit themselves to references to the 1992 consensus. The would save their pointed remarks for closed-door sessions. This may have been the result of a compromise, and leaves much room for discussion.
Beijing's inclusion of "one China, different interpretations" into the summit protocol and rhetoric was gesture of goodwill toward the public on Taiwan. For Taiwan, "one China, different interpretations" is a necessary precondition for the 1992 consensus. The two sides referred to "one China, different interpretations" during closed-door sessions. Had Beijing agreed to Ma Ying-jeou's use of the term in public, the impact would have been very different. Summing up the pros and cons, it is hard not to feel some regret.
For the Ma government, "shelving differences" was as important as "seeking agreement". Therefore he had no need to make pointed remarks during his opening statement. He should however, have at least mentioned his core proposition, "one China, different interpretations". The other side could have responded appropriately, at its own discretion, with consideration for the political consequences. Ma failed to mention "one China, different interpretations" in public. He reserved it for the closed-door sessions. This gave political opponents a pretext to attack him. That is a pity.
To sum up, the Ma Xi summit may be viewed as an overly cautious, insufficiently bold trial balloon for "one China, different interpretations". Nevertheless, both sides accepted the protocol for "leaders from the two sides taking part in the summit". They accepted the rhetoric of the "one China principle" and "one China, different interpretations". The two sides accepted the 1992 consensus as the shared foundation for cross-Strait relations The 1992 consensus was termed a "masterpiece of ambiguity"m precisely because it included "one China, different interpretations".
Xi Jinping made no mention of "one country, two systems" or "peaceful reunification" during the summit. Beijing wanted to of course. But it exercised restraint during the summit. Both sides know that without military or political coercion, "one China" as either the People's Republic of China or the Republic of China is impossible. The two sides must clarify the meaning of "one China". Otherwise political integration at the national level will be difficult. The Ma Xi summit's protocol was equal, even as its rhetoric was divergent. The Ma Xi summit did not resolve these differences. But it underscored the divergence in "one China, different interpretations". That in itself is a significant cross-Strait achievement.
The summit will consolidate the 1992 consensus as the vessel for peaceful development. It simultaneously highlights the sharp differences over "one China, different interpretations". The DPP must affirm the 1992 consensus, and fight on behalf of "one China, different interpretations". If Tsai Ing-wen repudiates the 1992 consensus, then even "one China, different interpretations" will be off the table. If that happens, the consequences will be grave indeed.
不能輕估馬習會的儀式。這次馬習會，據張志軍稱，「 是根據一個中國原則做出務實安排」，「 互以兩岸領導人的身分與名義舉行，見面互稱先生」，並指這是「 擱置爭議，相互尊重」；台北方面則稱「對等／尊嚴」 為此會最高準據。因而，此會的儀式，處處強調「對等」， 包括晚餐各自付帳，酒店不懸國旗等。
互以兩岸領導人的身分及名義舉行」。這雖是儀式的準則， 卻也反映了兩岸的政治現狀。由於兩岸對「一個中國的定義」 仍呈分歧，你不承認「一個中國是中華民國」，我也不承認「 一個中國是中華人民共和國」；所以，我不能以「中華民國總統」 與會，你也不能以「中華人民共和國主席」與會。
的爭議；所謂「相互尊重」，則是對「一中定義」之各持己見的「 尊重」。也就是說，此會的儀式安排，即是相互承認了「 一中定義在兩岸間仍處爭議狀態」，因此可以說，此會確立了「 一中各表」的存在。
一個中國的定義」在兩岸之間是一個「爭議問題」。過去， 爭議皆在各說各話的狀態， 本會則使此一爭議首次在馬習峰會的最高規格下提出， 並嘗試尋求解決。表面上看，這是呈現分歧；從實質上看， 則是面對分歧及解決分歧的開端。所以，我們認為， 在兩岸領導人面前呈現「一個中國定義的分歧問題」， 毋寧是此會最大的論述成就。
相互不提尖銳的政治主張，僅互以「九二共識」四字點到為止， 而將鮮明尖銳的政治主張留在閉門會談中各自論述。我們認為， 這可能是雙方妥協的結果，此中不無討論空間。
是北京對台灣人民能展現的最大善意。畢竟，在台灣，無「 一中各表」，即無「九二共識」。因而，既在閉門會談中談到「 一中各表」，若北京亦樂見馬英九在公開致詞中提出， 兩種語境的意義及分量畢竟不同。得失相較，不無遺憾。
因此，在開場公開致詞時固不必言語尖銳， 但至少應說出己方的核心主張，那就是「一中各表」。 至於對方如何斟酌其發言， 可由對方自己斟酌其言語效應及政治後果。爾今， 未在公開致詞時說「一中各表」，而留在閉門會議中發表， 以致竟成反對人士攻擊話柄。太可惜了。
的儀式及論述上的初階試探。小心有餘，大膽不足。但無論如何， 雙方接受了「互以兩岸領導人的身分及名義進行」（儀式）； 並各陳「一中原則」及「一中各表」（論述）；此皆由於雙方均以「 模糊的傑作──九二共識」為「兩岸共同政治基礎」。 九二共識為何被稱為「模糊的傑作」？正是緣於存有「一中各表」 的空間。
絕非北京已無此想，卻是在此會中有意識的保留。兩岸均知， 除非經由軍事或政經的暴力，「一個中國是中華人民共和國」（或「 中華民國」）應無可能實現。兩岸如果不釐清「一個中國」的定義， 即難有在國家層次的政治整合；這從此次馬習會的「儀節對等」及「 論述分歧」中皆可概見。馬習會並未解決這些分歧， 但既能呈現此種「一中各表」的分歧，已屬極重大的兩岸成就。
但也鮮明呈現了一中各表的分歧。為民進黨計， 此後亦應回到九二共識，並力爭一中各表。倘若蔡英文丟掉了「 九二共識」，將連「一中各表」的陣地也一併棄守， 那就真是不知將伊於胡底了。