China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 31, 2015
Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen may be able to hijack the public on Taiwan. She may be able to craft a shrewd election strategy. She may be able to survive the election debate. She may even be able to win the ultimate prize. But if she is elected, she must deal with the 1992 Consensus. She must be pragmatic in her diplomacy and her cross-Strait policy. She must win the Mainland's trust and stabilize cross-Strait and Taipei-Washington relations. Anything less is self-deception.
Full Text Below:
Did the presidential debate clarify the 1992 consensus or not? Will the Mainland buy Tsai Ing-wen's rhetoric or not?
Mainland China is too big. Taiwan is too small. The 1992 Consensus may be nothing more than a word. Nevertheless it has served as the political foundation for cross-Strait relations for the past eight years. These two questions are too important. The election must not present any surprises. The voters' choices must be made clear. Only then will they be able to make the right choice. Only then will Taiwan enjoy a stable external environment, and address its multitude of intractable political, economic and social problems.
During the recent TV debate, Eric Chu cross-examined Tsai Ing-wen face to face. He demanded to know "Do you recognize the 1992 Consensus or not?" He hoped to pin Tsai Ing-wen down. But Tsai Ing-wen adroitly replied, "Isn't my attitude clear enough?" She implied that she her position was already abundantly clear. She implied that her opponent's endless questioning was unreasonable. She did not forget to take a jab at Eric Chu, who at one time endorsed the two-states theory.
Tsai Ing-wen is skilled at debating. But has she in fact made her position on the 1992 Consensus clear? Let us summarize her past speeches, policy statements, and answers during live question and answer sessions. One. She concedes the fact that talks were held in 1992, but refuses to accept the term “1992 Consensus”. She argues that "It's a question of how the term is used and interpreted". Essentially she has reverted to the Chen Shui-bian era "1992 Spirit". Two. She argues that the KMT decision to adhere to the 1992 Consensus is an option, but not the only option. She argues that the DPP seeks to "maintain the status quo" to ensure that the public on Taiwan retains its options. Three. She pledges to conduct cross-Strait relations within the "framework of the ROC”. She intends to use past relations as a foundation, and conduct cross-Strait relations in accordance with public opinion and the democratic process.
Chen Shui-bian used the term "1992 Spirit". He stressed "mutual understanding, seeking common ground and shelving differences". This is exactly what Tsai Ing-wen is saying today. As former Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council during the Chen Shui-bian era, Tsai Ing-wen knows full well that the 1992 Consensus is not a word game. Besides “mutual understanding, seeking common ground and shelving differences", far more important matters loom, specifically the matter of “China”.
According to Mainland understanding, the 1992 Consensus means that “Both sides of the Taiwan Strait are part of one China. Cross-Strait relations are not international relations”. During an address at the Ma Xi summit, Ma Ying-jeou proclaimed to the entire world that “The consensus reached on the One China Principle by the two sides of the Strait in November 1992, is what we refer to, in shortened form, as the 1992 Consensus". In other words, Tsai Ing-wen refuses to accept the KMT's definition of the 1992 Consensus. But the real question is “Does she accept one China?" Has Tsai Ing-wen made that clear or not?
When questioned by Eric Chu and reporters, Tsai Ing-wen said “The 1992 Consensus is an option, but not the only option". She persisted in claiming that there were other options.
But for the Mainland, Taiwan has only one future -- reunification. Flip open the DPP's Taiwan Independence Party Platform, its Resolution on Taiwan's Future, and its Resolution for a Normal Nation. First the DPP sought an independent state. Later it argued that Taiwan is already independent, but “according to its current constitution it is known as the Republic of China”. Eventually however, its bottom line became clear. The DPP publicly proclaimed that the two sides of the Strait are separate nations, neither belongs to the other, and neither governs the other. So, the question arises: Is the status quo in cross-Strait relations "one country on each side"? If the public on Taiwan and on the Mainland choose to reunify one day, how will the DPP respond? The Mainland has consistently opposed Taiwan independence. Taiwan has struggled long and hard over reunification vs. independence. Will Tsai Ing-wen return to the point and make her position clear?
Tsai Ing-wen hopes to complete her final mile on the road to the presidency. She has forsaken her "Republic of China is a government in exile" argument. She has consciously reverted to the ROC constitutional framework, to legitimize her arguments, and to win over swing voters and even blue camp voters. But as we all know, the blue and green camps have very different interpretations of the term "Republic of China". Ma Ying-jeou has publicly proclaimed that the Republic of China includes both Taiwan and the Mainland. During the Ma Xi summit press conference, he put it even more bluntly: Two Chinas, one China and one Taiwan, and Taiwan independence, all violate the Republic of China Constitution. The DPP equates the Republic of China with Taiwan. It misuses the term in order to engage in backdoor listing.
As cross-Strait relations expert Shao Tsung-hai noted, in Tsai Ing-wen's mind "the Republic of China's current constitutional framework" is not the same as "the ROC constitutional framework". The 1991 "Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China" provides for regular presidential and legislative elections in the Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu area. Lee Teng-hui argued that "Since 1991, the two sides have in fact been two countries." Tsai Ing-wen's terminology tells us she is a follower of Lee Teng-hui's path toward Taiwan independence.
So the question arises, yet again. Article Four of the Constitution clearly refers to the "Republic of China's long-held territory". But the preamble of the "Upgraded Provisions to the Constitution" includes the phrase "to respond to the needs of the nation prior to reunification". So does the territory of the Republic of China prior to reunification include the Mainland? Are the two sides two countries, or not? Is Tsai Ing-wen willing to speak plainly, or not?
Tsai Ing-wen may brim with confidence. Her responses may reek of glibness. Yet she persists in evading the most crucial issue in cross-Strait relations -- the 1992 Consensus. Tsai Ing-wen has offered some degree of goodwill to the Mainland. For example, she occasionally uses the term “Mainland”, instead of “China”. She has pledged to continue cross-Strait exchanges following the election. But these alone fail to demonstrate a sincere belief in the concept of China. They cannot gain the trust of either the Mainland or the public on either side.
Tsai Ing-wen may be able to hijack the public on Taiwan. She may be able to craft a shrewd election strategy. She may be able to survive the election debate. She may even be able to win the ultimate prize. But if she is elected, she must deal with the 1992 Consensus. She must be pragmatic in her diplomacy and her cross-Strait policy. She must win the Mainland's trust and stabilize cross-Strait and Taipei-Washington relations. Anything less is self-deception.
岸關係的政治基礎，前述兩個問題實在太重要， 選舉關鍵時刻必須毫無懸念的釐清，選民才能做出正確的抉擇， 台灣才能有安定的外部環境，解決當前種種嚴酷的政治、 經濟與社會問題。
到底接不接受九二共識？」希望抓住蔡英文的痛腳， 蔡英文卻很有技巧地反擊：「我的態度還不夠清楚嗎？」 凸顯了她自認說清楚的自信及對手纏鬥不休的無理， 還不忘順便諷刺朱立倫，當年也是兩國論的附和者。
綜合她歷次相關演講、政見和現場答問， 大致可以歸納以下幾個要點：第一，承認九二會談的「事實」， 但不接受九二共識「名詞」，她強調「 這是一個名詞的使用和詮釋的問題」，大致回到了陳水扁時代「 九二精神」的立場；第二，國民黨堅持的「九二共識」 是一個選項但不是唯一的選項，民進黨堅持「維持現狀」 是要確保台灣人民的選擇權；第三，將在「中華民國的體制」下， 以兩岸關係過去累積的成果為基礎， 遵循民意和民主機制來推動兩岸關係。
相互諒解和求同存異」。 曾任陳水扁時代陸委會主委的蔡英文不可能不清楚， 九二共識絕不是文字遊戲，而且在「相互諒解和求同存異」之外， 還有更重要的內涵，就是「中國」。
兩岸不是國與國關係。」 馬英九在馬習會致辭時也當著全世界面宣布：「海峽兩岸在1992 年11月就一個中國原則達成的共識簡稱九二共識」。換言之， 蔡英文可以不接受國民黨發明的「九二共識」這一表述， 但必須回答是否接受「一中」？蔡英文講清了嗎？
翻開民進黨的台獨黨綱、台灣前途決議文和正常國家決議文， 先是謀求獨立建國，後又辯稱台灣本就獨立，「 依目前憲法稱為中華民國」，最後圖窮匕首見， 公開宣布兩岸一邊一國，互不隸屬，互不治理。那麼，問題來了： 兩岸關係的現狀是不是「一邊一國」？ 如果台灣人民未來選擇要和大陸統一，民進黨該怎麼辦？ 面對大陸一以貫之的反台獨立場和台灣經久不息的統獨之爭， 蔡英文能回歸原點講清楚嗎？
論調，開始有意識回歸中華民國憲政體制，以取得論述的合法性， 並爭取中間選民甚至藍營群眾的認可。但是眾所周知，對於「 中華民國」，藍綠陣營是各自表述的。馬英九曾公開講過， 中華民國底下有台灣地區和大陸地區，馬習會後記者會上更直陳： 兩個中國、一中一台和台灣獨立都是《中華民國憲法》所不容許的。 然而，民進黨把中華民國與台灣畫上等號， 後者借前者之殼以求苟活。
憲政體制」與「中華民國憲政體制」是不一樣的。兩字之別的要害在 1991年的《憲法增修條文》， 規定總統與國會在台澎金馬地區定期直選，李登輝曾解讀「自199 1年開始，兩岸實際上已是兩個國家」。 蔡英文的遣詞造句可能暗示她遵循的是李登輝的台獨路線。
，但《憲法增修條文》前言規定其「因應國家統一前的需要」， 那麼，統一前中華民國的領土是否包括大陸地區？甚至， 兩岸到底是不是兩個國家？這些蔡英文能講得清楚嗎？
但仍然迴避九二共識這一兩岸關係中最要害的政治問題。當然， 蔡英文確實也對大陸釋放出了一些善意， 包括多處措辭使用中國大陸而不是中國， 承諾當選後會推動兩岸關係繼續發展等， 但光有這些恐怕還不足以展現接受「中國概念」的誠意， 更無法取信大陸和兩岸人民。
順利通過大選辯論的考驗，甚至最終問鼎。 但如果她當選後不能正確處理九二共識核心問題， 不能以務實的外交與兩岸政策及實際作為取得大陸信賴， 要想穩定兩岸及台美關係只能說是自欺欺人。