China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 9, 2015
Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen is undoubtedly a shoo-in for next year's presidential election. Will she be able to maintain the status quo in cross-Strait relations after taking office? That is the question the public is most concerned about. Another question is how the Mainland intends to deal with cross-Strait relations during a Tsai regime, especially before she takes office. That warrants our attention. ARATS chief Chen Deming visited Taiwan to discuss industry issues. He showed that the Mainland is determined to continue cross-Strait exchanges. He was undoubtedly reminding Tsai Ing-wen that the Mainland intends to deal with all aspects of cross-Strait exchanges based on its own calculations. Even if the Democratic Progressive Party comes to power, it will have to deal with this situation.
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Tsai Ing-wen is undoubtedly a shoo-in for next year's presidential election. Will she be able to maintain the status quo in cross-Strait relations after taking office? That is the question the public is most concerned about. Another question is how the Mainland intends to deal with cross-Strait relations during a Tsai Ing-wen regime, especially before Tsai takes office. That deserves attention. ARATS chief Chen Deming visited Taiwan to discuss industry issues. This shows that the Mainland hopes to continue cross-Strait exchanges. Chen was undoubtedly reminding Tsai Ing-wen that the Mainland intends to deal with all aspects of cross-Strait exchanges, based on its own calculations. Even if the Democratic Progressive Party comes to power, it will have to deal with this situation.
Tsai Ing-wen has reiterated that after taking office she will not reduce the number of Mainland tourists or Mainland students allowed onto Taiwan. She made a point of saying that Mainland students would be eligible for health benefits. Was she feeling pressure from all sides? Was she attempting to reassure the public and private industry? Was she making a goodwill gesture towards the Mainland? Whatever her intent, this was the clearest she has been so far when discussing cross-Strait issues.
Will these "goodwill gestures" have any effect? The biggest difference between the DPP and the KMT is that the former has never established any basis for trust with the Mainland. When Chen Shui-bian was in office, the Mainland "listened to what he said and watched what he did". Sadly, Chen persisted in butting heads with the Mainland, ultimately leading to a dangerous cross-Strait stand-off. As Mainland spokesmen put it, cross-Strait relations stood on the brink of war. Tsai Ing-wen's manner may be more low keyed than Chen Shui-bian's. But the DPP's bottom line has not changed. It still refuses to address the Mainland's core concern. Therefore Mainland doubts about the DPP persist.
Tsai Ing-wen may be using Mainland tourists and Mainland students to demonstrate goodwill. But in the Mainland's eyes, these are minor details. Also, the DPP has piled on so many conditions, the gesture came across as insincere lip service. As long as the DPP refuses to affirm that the two sides are part of one China, nothing it does will be construed as genuine goodwill.
The DPP faces a far more severe test than it did 15 years ago. Cross-Strait relations have been utterly transformed. The relative strength of the Mainland and Taiwan are very different than they were before. The Mainland feels increasing pressure to resolve the Taiwan issue, once and for all. The Mainland no longer has the patience to "listen to what she says and watch what she does". It will take a more aggressive stance. It will demand that the DPP conduct cross-Strait relations on the existing political basis. Tsai Ing-wen's political momentum has increased. She may win the presidency through rhetorical evasion. But the moment she wins, the pressure will begin. That is unavoidable.
That will test Tsai Ing-wen's ability to resist pressure. The four months between January 16, election day, and May 20, inauguration day, will make for a political vacuum. The Ma Ying-jeou administration will of course continue its policies as long as Ma remains in office. But a new president and a new legislature will already be waiting in the wings. If the DPP wins both the presidency and a legislative majority, it will of course be able to determine Taiwan's future, and do so in advance. If so, how will the sitting president and the president-elect coordinate with each other? Especially on cross-Strait issues? Suppose President Ma continues to improve cross-Strait exchanges, or even upgrades political relations with the Mainland? How will Tsai Ing-wen respond? The Mainland repeatedly calls on the DPP to recognize the 1992 Consensus. Next year, following the election, it will continue conveying this message. How will Tsai Ing-wen respond? These are questions Tsai Ing-wen must solemnly consider.
In fact, signs of escalating Mainland pressure have long been evident. Mainland President Xi Jinping has explicitly declared that any party on Taiwan that accepts the 1992 consensus, regardless of its past stance, may have exchanges with the Mainland. This was an open invitation to the DPP. At the same time, the Mainland is constantly establishing new highs for cross-Strait relations, Xi Jinping hopes that the Ma Xi summit will establish higher than ever levels of cross-Strait relations. He hopes it will constitute a benchmark by which to gauge Tsai Ing-wen era cross-Strait relations. Most importantly, the Mainland has the desire and ability to unilaterally decide many cross-Strait issues. These include the M503 air traffic route and smartcard MTPs. The Mainland has sent a clear political signal to Taiwan -- it has seized the initiative in cross-Strait relations.
Obviously,the Mainland is approaching the matter from many angles. It is demanding that Taiwan respond directly to the Mainland on both practical and political matters. All this will continue to play out next year after the election. All this will create a powerful climate of public opinion that tests Tsai Ing-wen's mettle. President Ma is aggressively pursuing improved cross-Strait relations. If Tsai Ing-wen refuses to follow suit, she will provoke fierce internal opposition. Cross-Strait relations will be seriously impaired. Tsai Ing-wen has yet to take office. But cross-Strait relations already face uncertainties. After taking office, her policies will in all likelihood create difficulties.
Of course Tsai Ing-wen could adopt a more constructive attitude toward Mainland pressure. Given the lack of mutual trust, Tsai Ing-wen could make concrete moves to build Mainland trust. She could provide better conditions for Mainland tourists, Mainland businesses, and Mainland students. She could respond positively to Mainland concerns regarding the one China framework. She could cease inciting anti-Mainland hatred on Taiwan. Otherwise, Tsai Ing-wen will not enjoy a honeymoon period during her administration.
她上任以後能否延續兩岸交流的現狀， 已成為社會各界最為關心的問題。兩岸關係的另一方中國大陸， 將會如何處理蔡英文時代的兩岸關係， 特別是在蔡英文上任之前這段時間，大陸又會做何因應， 也同樣值得外界高度關注。此次大陸海協會長陳德銘訪台， 密集參訪產業界，顯示大陸繼續堅持兩岸交流步伐不動搖的決心， 這無疑也是提醒蔡英文， 大陸會按照自己的規畫處理兩岸各個層面的交流事務， 民進黨就算執政也要面對這種現狀。
亦或是想對大陸釋放善意， 蔡英文最近接連表示上任以後不會減少陸客數量， 也不會減少陸生人數，甚至明確表示支持陸生加入健保， 成為迄今她在兩岸問題上最為清晰的論述。
民進黨跟國民黨最大的不同就在於，前者從未跟大陸建立互信關係， 過去陳水扁時代，大陸曾對民進黨政府聽其言、觀其行， 但陳水扁不斷暴衝，最終讓兩岸關係演變成嚴重對立， 用大陸的話說，彼時兩岸關係瀕臨戰爭邊緣。比起陳水扁， 蔡英文或許要穩健許多，但是民進黨的底色並未改變， 而且遲遲未對大陸的核心關切表態， 大陸對民進黨的疑慮也就無法消除。
這些都是細枝末節， 甚至因為民進黨加了很多但書而感到口惠而實不至，更何況， 只要民進黨不在兩岸同屬一中的問題上明確表態， 其他都算不上什麼善意。
，大陸和台灣的實力對比更是不可同日而語， 而大陸對台灣問題也愈發感到時間緊迫。在這種情勢下， 大陸恐怕不會再有耐心對民進黨聽其言、觀其行， 而會採取更為積極主動的姿態和作為， 要求民進黨在既有的政治基礎之上發展兩岸關係。 蔡英文現在聲勢日盛，或許還可以依靠模糊策略迴避考驗， 但從勝選那一天開始，壓力就會接踵而至，根本無從迴避。
日政權交接，還有4個月的政治空窗期， 馬英九還在任當然有權繼續施政，但新民意已經確定， 立法院亦經過改選，民進黨如果全面勝選， 當然有資格提出台灣未來發展的方向，並要求盡早實施。 在這種情況下，現任總統與當選人要如何協調彼此？ 特別是在兩岸議題上，如果馬總統繼續深化兩岸交流， 甚至與大陸進行更進一步的政治接觸，蔡英文該如何應對？ 大陸幾次三番要求民進黨接受九二共識， 明年選後應該還會通過管道繼續向蔡轉達這一要求， 屆時蔡英文又該做何回應？ 這些都是蔡英文應該開始認真思考的問題。
大陸國家主席習近平在多個場合都明確宣示台灣任何黨派只要接受九 二共識，無論過去主張什麼，都可以與大陸展開交往， 這等於是對民進黨的公開喊話。與此同時， 大陸也在不斷創造兩岸關係發展的新高度，通過馬習會， 習近平希望確立兩岸最高領導人會晤的機制， 並以此作為判定蔡英文時代兩岸關係好壞的標準。更重要的是， 大陸已有意，也有能力片面處理一些涉及兩岸的事務性問題，如M5 03航路及卡式台胞證，宣示自己掌控兩岸關係的主導權， 這是大陸清晰的政治訊號。
要求台灣無論在事務性問題還是政治性問題， 都要直面大陸因素的存在。而以上的種種， 在明年選後都會繼續上演，且會有更多的實際行動， 並形成強大的輿論氛圍，這無疑會構成蔡英文即將面臨的考驗。 屆時，如果蔡英文選擇不接受， 而馬總統又在積極推動兩岸關係的新進展， 那麼無疑將帶來台灣內部的激烈對立， 而兩岸關係也將受到嚴重衝擊， 蔡英文未上任就讓兩岸關係面臨波折， 恐怕會讓她就職後的施政帶來重重困難。
蔡英文也可以選擇以更為正面和積極的態度來處理大陸的壓力測試。 既然雙方缺乏互信， 那麼蔡英文就應該做出一些實際舉動與大陸累積互信， 比如主動出擊為陸客、陸企和陸生創造更好的環境， 正面回應大陸對一中架構的關切， 以及妥善處理台灣社會內部仇中反中的情緒。否則的話， 我們或許看不到蔡英文的執政蜜月期了。