China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 18, 2015
Executive Summary: The Ma Xi summit ended 10 days ago. The controversy has been given time to settle. We should now be able to re-evaluate how well the various parties performed during the summit, and determine its impact on the East Asian strategic picture. Consider the summit from the perspective of appearance and substance. Ma Ying-jeou lost a little face, but he gained much in substance. Xi Jinping gained much in both face and substance. Tsai Ing-wen, by contrast, gained a little face, but lost big in substance.
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The Ma Xi summit ended 10 days ago. The controversy has been given time to settle. We should now be able to re-evaluate how well the various parties performed during the summit, and determine its impact on the East Asian strategic picture. Consider the summit from the perspective of appearance and substance. Ma Ying-jeou lost a little face, but he gained much in substance. Xi Jinping gained much in both face and substance. Tsai Ing-wen, by contrast, gained a little face, but lost big in substance.
Public criticism of Ma Ying-jeou's performance is not without reason. His tactical skills are poor. He is too considerate towards opponents. As a result, he often gets himself in trouble. Ma Ying-jeou has never adept at communicating his political message. During the Ma Xi summit, three press conferences were held. At each of them, Ma was far too talkative and far too focused on trivia. He unwittingly gave political opponents the opportunity to pick nits. He was too concerned about his opponent's situation. This led to tactical miscalculations. His biggest mistake was not publicly referencing "different interpretations" during the opening ceremony. Although he mentioned it later, during closed-door talks, he had already given political opponents a pretext by which to attack him, and left a negative impression with the general public. Given the current political situation, there is no reason Taiwan cannot refer to "different interpretations" during talks with the Mainland. The Mainland expresses "different interpretations" in its own way. Yielding on this core issue was a tactical miscalculation.
Ma lacks tactical skills. He committed tactical errors. Nevertheless Ma's strategy was correct, and yielded the desired results. Ma Ying-jeou remains a winner in the long run. After all, the two sides have been separated for 66 years. The leaders overcame historical constraints. That in itself has played a huge role in the consolidation of peace. That is why most countries the world over affirmed the Ma Xi summit. The correct strategy and the substantive achievements of the Ma Xi summit are being shared equally. Ma Ying-jeou gained. Xi Jinping gained. This was not merely a personal achievement. It was a shared achievement that promoted cross-Strait peace. Xi Jinping's handling of the summit was simple and concise, accurate and restrained. He did nothing to lose him points. In terms of face, Xi Jinping held his own. He gained both face and substance. He was the biggest winner of all. .
Ma Ying-jeou committed a tactical error, but gained a strategic victory. Tsai Ying-wen on the other hand, gained a tactical victory, but committed a strategic blunder. This may not erode her lead in the general election. But Tsai Ing-wen must not continue slighting this issue and refuse to change her position. Otherwise, in the event the DPP returns to power, her attitude is certain to endanger cross-Strait relations and undermine national governance.
Tsai Ing-wen has characterized the Ma Xi summit as an "electioneering sneak attack" from the very outset. This is a serious mistake that will bring disaster down on any future DPP administration, in at least two ways. One. Such a view treats the election as if it were a ball game. It sees "victory" as the result of balloting on January 16. As everyone knows, the framework established by the Ma Xi summit will help maintain peace. This is far more important than any election. Neither Ma Ying-jeou nor Xi Jinping viewed the Ma Xi summit as an electioneering maneuver. Neither believed it would reverse the blue camp's dismal election prospects. The intent of the summit was the maintenance of long-term cross-Strait relations. The participants' concern was the impact of this historic moment on the future. Despite the chaos and tension of Taiwan's election, they were willing to take this courageous step.
Tsai Ing-wen framed the event incorrectly. This led to an incorrect response which revealed her myopia. Tsai Ing-wen framed the Ma Xi summit in a negative light. She claimed that it "undermined Taiwan's democracy". She claimed that it "boxed in the people of Taiwan and limited their options". Leaders from the two sides shook hands and made history. But she perceived this as an electioneering crisis. She blasted Ma but not Xi in response to external pressures. But every step she has taken has been the wrong response. She is painting herself into a corner, and creating a crisis for herself in the event she assumes power. She is losing sight of the big picture, and reducing her own maneuvering room during future dealings with the Mainland.
Two. Over the past year, Tsai Ing-wen has made a number of adjustments regarding cross-Strait policy and national identity. In particular, she has proposed "maintaining the status quo" to get the green light from the US and to soft soap voters who doubt her ability to maintain cross-Strait peace. The Mainland continues to demand that the DPP recognize the 1992 Consensus. This difference continues to haunt cross-Strait relations. But Tsai Ing-wen proposed "maintaining the status quo". This left room for an implicit understanding with the Mainland in the event the DPP wins the election, and the opportunity to find a mutually acceptable alternative to the 1992 consensus.
During the Ma Xi summit, Xi Jinping made a generous concession regarding the 1992 Consensus. He left room for the DPP to offer a new interpretation of the 1992 consensus. Unfortunately Tsai Ing-wen threw a fit and excoriated the Ma Xi summit, nullifying any chance of a new interpretation and reinforcing the Mainland's view of Tsai Ing-wen as a die hard hawk. This will make it more difficult for the DPP to communicate with the Mainland following the election. This has shortened the "cross-strait honeymoon period" in the event Tsai Ing-wen assumes power, and increased the difficulties she will encounter at home. Tsai Ing-wen's narrow-minded impatience may have reduced her moderate-sounding rhetoric about "maintaining the status quo" to a dead letter.
The Ma Xi summit was not an electioneering gimmick intended to reverse the blue camp's political fortunes. It transcended the election. It transcended partisan and personal advantage. The ball was passed to Tsai Ing-wen. Tsai Ying-wen was given the chance to show what she had, to reveal her attitude toward cross-Strait peace. But Tsai Ing-wen dropped the ball. Either that, or she refused to catch it. That may not lose her the election, but it may lead to the systemic failure of her administration, and the sacrifice of Taiwan's future. Tsai Ing-wen must correct this mistake immediately. If she does not, the people of Taiwan should "Be afraid, be very afraid".
應該可以重新探討馬習會中各方的表現， 及對兩岸與東亞大局帶來的影響。如果用「表」與「裡」 二個層次來看馬習會，馬英九可謂「輸了面子，贏了裡子」； 習近平是「面子裡子，雙雙入袋」；蔡英文則是「面子雖贏， 裡子大輸」。
不佳、又太替對手著想，反陷自己於險境。就「戰技」而言， 馬英九從來不是一個擅於傳達精確政治訊息的政治家，馬習會3次記 者會叨叨絮絮又太過執著細節， 增添了政治對手雞蛋裡挑骨頭的機會。他也過度為對手的立場著想， 造成「戰術」失準。最大敗筆是在開場時未公開說出「各自表述」， 即便隨後在閉門會談中提及，卻已無法挽回政敵及輿論的攻擊。 就政治現況論，好好和大陸溝通，未必不能取得台灣表述「 各自表述」，大陸不表述「各自表述」的另類「各自表述」空間。 在核心立場與核心利益上退讓，這是「戰術」上的失誤。
馬英九仍是長線的贏家。畢竟兩岸分隔66年， 領導人這超越歷史的一會，本身就有著巨大的和平鞏固作用， 這也是為什麼世界各國大多正向看待馬習會的緣故。而且馬習會的「 戰略正確」與「裡子成就」是分享式的，不只馬英九得到、 習近平得到，這也不只是個人的成就， 更是兩岸深化和平的共同成就。至於習近平的表現， 大致上簡潔精練、克制精確，至少沒有失分，面子這一層， 習近平也守住，是「裡外皆獲」的最大贏家。
這一點雖然不會影響她居於領先的選舉大局， 但如果蔡英文持續輕忽，不做因應調整， 勢將危及民進黨執政後的兩岸關係與國家治理。
這是錯誤的定性，將對民進黨未來執政帶來二大危險。第一， 太把選舉當「球賽」打，以為所謂的「勝負」就是在1月16日那一 天結算。殊不知，馬習會帶來的大框架及延展出來的和平大局， 是遠超過選舉的，不管習近平或馬英九，都不認為、 也無意把馬習會操作成藍營選舉的絕地大反攻。 他們著眼的是兩岸長遠關係的建構， 在意的是這個歷史時刻的延展性影響， 因此願意在台灣選舉情勢渾沌緊張此刻，勇敢邁出此步。
暴露了她和團隊短視的弱點。當蔡英文以「傷害台灣民主」、「 框住台灣人民選擇權」等負面詞框定馬習會，以「選舉危機」 方式面對兩岸領導人歷史性握手，以「批馬不批習」 策略應對後馬習會的外部壓力，步步皆錯的應對， 不僅製造自己未來的「執政危機」，更失去拉高格局， 在執政後與大陸交往對話的彈性空間。
蔡英文做了許多在兩岸政策與國家認同立場上的調整，尤其是提出「 維持現狀」的主張，獲得了美國的綠燈， 也讓柔化了台灣許多選民原來對蔡英文能否維持兩岸和平的疑慮。 雖然大陸方面持續堅持民進黨必須接受九二共識， 這一個歧見使得兩岸未來仍懸於不定，但至少蔡英文「維持現狀」 的主張，終究留下了勝選後與大陸尋得新默契，另闢蹊徑找到「 九二共識替代品」的想像空間。
也留下了未來與民進黨共創「一中新表述」的空間，很可惜的， 這個想像空間在蔡英文氣急敗壞強力批判馬習會時，已被一併蒸發， 反而強化陸方對蔡英文鷹派立場的認知。 這將增加蔡英文當選後民進黨與大陸溝通的困難， 縮短蔡英文未來執政的「兩岸蜜月期」，更會增加內部治理的難度。 蔡英文器狹躁進，維持現狀溫和論述可能提前破功。
政黨與個人得失的一次傳球，球傳到蔡英文手中， 要考驗蔡英對兩岸和平的歷史態度，但蔡英文卻漏接或根本拒接。 失落的一球不會讓蔡英文這場選舉失分， 卻可能讓她未來執政發生系統性崩潰，進而衝擊台灣的發展， 蔡英文若不能及時改正，將是台灣人民得共同擔憂的事。