United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
January 19, 2016
Executive Summary: The Chou Tzu-yu incident shows that the blue, green, and red camps share a common denominator. Namely that the Republic of China cannot be equated with Taiwan independence. Is Tsai Ing-wen willing to spin the Chou Tzu-yu effect this way? Is she willing to "defend the flag” and “defend the Republic of China"? If so, she can begin with the 1992 Consensus and move toward one China, different interpretations. This could persuade Beijing to accept "one China, different interpretations” and “two sides, separately governed”.
Full Text Below:
Consider Chou Tzu-yu, Ko Wen-je, and the 1992 Consensus. These three would appear to have nothing in common. But on the eve of the general election, all three met at a single point.
When the elections results were announced, Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office issued a statement saying "We continue to adhere to the 1992 Consensus. We resolutely oppose to any form of Taiwan independence, separatist activities... Our resolve remains solid as bedrock, our attitude ever consistent".
That night, the Xinhua News Agency published its first editorial on the ROC general election. It said the DPP “must provide a clear answer on a major issue -- whether it recognizes the 1992 Consensus?"
But during that night's victory speech, Tsai Ing-wen did not do as expected. She did not resort to "squeezing toothpaste from a tube" incremental acceptance of the 1992 Consensus.
Was this Tsai Ing-wen's first cross-Strait confrontation in the wake of her election victory? Will Beijing continue to demand adherence to the 1992 Consensus, even as Tsai Ing-wen persists in repudiating the 1992 Consensus?
This will be a black sheep/white sheep scenario. Both parties must decide as soon as possible whether they intend to compromise or dig in their heels. The longer the impasse persists, the more difficult concessions will be. Only clear heads can weigh the pros and cons. Most observers see no room for compromise in Tsai Ing-wen's green camp. Xi Jinping has elevated the 1992 Consensus to the status of a magic talisman. Little room remains for concessions on the Mainland side as well. This black sheep/white sheep scenario bodes ill for cross-Strait relations.
Before the election, Ko Wen-je said that as mayor he “respects” the 1992 Consensus. But he also said that if the newly elected president expresses “respect”, that may not be enough. Ko said the new government must treat the Mainland with respect. Tsai Ing-wen cannot act like a mayor. A mayor does not need to deal with the problem. He can make casual remarks about the problem. He can make wisecracks about the problem. Ko said a mayor can babble on about the 1992 Consensus, but the president cannot.
Ko Wen-je said the president cannot avoid dealing with the 1992 Consensus. He predicted that Beijing would find it impossible to compromise on the 1992 Consensus. The first statement issued by the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office following the election validated Ko's prediction. Ko said that if the new president merely “respects" the 1992 Consensus, she may not be able to pass muster. Tsai Ing-wen has yet to even express "respect” for the 1992 Consensus. She falls short even of Ko Wen-je. When Ko Wen-je says, "The president cannot avoid dealing with the 1992 Consensus", he should keep in mind the black sheep/white sheep scenario.
Tsai Ing-wen must give serious consideration to Ko Wen-je's suggestions. The Chou Tzu-yu incident offers a point of departure. The Chou Tzu-yu incident impacted the election. Tsai Ing-wen significantly increased the number of times she repeated the name "Republic of China". Tsai Ing-wen adopted a "defense of the Republic of China" pose. She was doing no such thing. Just the reverse. She was taking shelter behind the Republic of China.
Tsai Ing-wen said "ROC nationals waving national flags, are expressing their national identity, and should not be suppressed." Chen Chien-jen said "Republic of China citizens consider their national flag an object of pride". Yet the DPP continues to uphold its Taiwan independence party platform. It has burned or trampled over ROC flags. It has ridiculed the national emblem. DPP officicals have refused to be sworn in before the portrait of Sun Yat-sen. Even today, not a single ROC flag can be seen at DPP rallies. In fact, on the night of the 16th, not a single ROC flag could be seen in the audience, at the very moment Tsai Ing-wen was loudly proclaimed her support for Chou Tzu-yu waving of the ROC flag. The sole exception was a tiny ROC flag next to the DPP flag on the podium.
Until the Chou Tzu-yu incident erupted, the DPP refused to display the ROC flag. Yet every time the ROC flag is demeaned, the DPP rushes to “defend” it. Tsai Ing-wen really should call a halt to this duplicity.
Does Tsai Ing-wen really and truly feel “the ROC flag must not be be suppressed"? Does she really and truly feel that "the ROC flag is an object of pride”? Does she really and truly with “to promote cross-Strait relations under the current ROC constitutional framework”? If so, then allow us to suggest that Tsai Ing-wen interpret the Chou Tzu-yu incident truthfully, in the manner suggested below.
Tsai Ing-wen should declare that "The Chou Tzu-yu incident reveals how fragile and illusory the one China, different interpretations clause in the 1992 Consensus is. If the 1992 Consensus fails to include one China, different interpretations, it is not the 1992 Consensus the Ma government agreed to, nor is it a 1992 Consensus the public on Taiwan can agree to. I, Tsai Ing-wen, as President of the Republic of China, am willing to operate within the confines of the ROC constitutional framework and the 1992 Consensus. But any departure from the ROC Constitution invalidates the 1992 Consensus."
The Chou Tzu-yu incident shows that the blue, green, and red camps share a common denominator. Namely that the Republic of China cannot be equated with Taiwan independence. Is Tsai Ing-wen willing to spin the Chou Tzu-yu effect this way? Is she willing to "defend the flag” and “defend the Republic of China"? If so, she can begin with the 1992 Consensus and move toward one China, different interpretations. This would enable her to integrate her stand on national identity, the nature of the ROC Constitution, cross-Strait relations, and the Taipei-Washington implied consensus. This could persuade Beijing to accept "one China, different interpretations” and “two sides, separately governed”. Can Tsai Ing-wen upgrade the 1992 Consensus? If she can, then why repudiate the 1992 Consensus and run the risk of making the “earth move and the mountains shake”? Otherwise the black sheep/white sheep scenario is likely to be ominous indeed.
Given changing conditions, Beijing may wish to consider reaffirming the 1992 Consensus. One China, different interpretations is so very fragile. If anyone who raises the red, white and blue ROC flag is pigeonholed as a Taiwan independence advocate, then the 1992 Consensus will be a dead letter on Taiwan.
雙方必須儘快決定究竟要妥協退讓或堅持到底，拖得愈久， 就愈難退讓；廓清態度，有利於估算得失。一般認為， 蔡英文在綠營中沒有退讓的餘地； 但習近平既將九二共識提升到定海神針的地位， 似乎也看不出退讓的空間。如此，遂成黑羊白羊之勢， 這恐非兩岸新局的好起點。
但新總統若只講尊重，未必能過關。他又說： 新政府面對中國還是要給予適度的、應有的尊重，不能像當市長， 無須真正面對問題，可以隨便「練肖話」。他說： 市長可以哈拉哈拉，總統不能迴避九二共識的問題。
這似在預言北京可能不會在九二共識上退讓；此一預言， 在國台辦選後第一則聲明中已獲證實。柯又說：新總統若只講「 尊重」九二共識，不知能否過關。現況則是：蔡英文迄今連「 尊重九二共識」都未說過，與柯文哲所言之落差更大。柯文哲說「 總統不能迴避九二共識」時，應當也是想到黑羊白羊之類的情勢。
周子瑜事件則是一個發想的起點。投票前後， 加上周子瑜事件的衝擊，蔡英文口中說出「中華民國」 四字的頻次與比重顯著增加。蔡英文擺出一副「捍衛中華民國」 的姿態，實際上她也是「求救於中華民國」。
不該被打壓。」陳建仁則說：「 中華民國國民舉自己的國旗是值得驕傲的事。」但是， 民進黨仍然維持《台獨黨綱》，曾經燒過國旗、踩踏國旗、 羞辱車輪牌、拒在國旗及國父遺像前宣誓就任公職， 迄至今日在民進黨集會場合也仍見不到一幅國旗。 即使在十六日勝選之夜， 除舞台看板上畫的一幅與民進黨旗並排的小國旗外， 當蔡英文慷慨陳詞力挺周子瑜持旗之時，全場未見一面國旗。
如果九二共識沒有一中各表的空間， 這不但是馬政府不能同意的九二共識， 也是所有台灣人不會接受的九二共識。我蔡英文作為中華民國總統， 願在中華民國憲法架構下，理解並發展九二共識。 我不認為離開中華民國憲法的座標仍能有九二共識的存在。」
不能把中華民國視為台獨」。 如果蔡英文能朝此方向解讀周子瑜效應，從而「捍衛國旗／ 捍衛中華民國」，即有可能「從九二共識進／由一中各表出」。 這可使得她的國家治理將「國家認同／憲法定位／兩岸關係／ 台美默契」冶為一爐，亦有可能引導北京朝向「一中各表／ 兩岸分治」的方向思考及發展。如此，蔡英文若能提升九二共識， 則何必冒著地動山搖的風險去否定九二共識？不此之圖， 則黑羊白羊的結局，恐凶多吉少。