China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
January 21, 2016
Executive Summary: We on Taiwan often complain that the Mainland does not understand us. But have we asked ourselves whether we understand the Mainland? Understanding is a two-way street. So is communications. So is good faith. Taiwan must free itself from its knee jerk Sinophobia. We on Taiwan must open our hearts and minds. We must make an effort to understand the Mainland, to increase exchanges, and to deepen emotional ties. Only by doing so can we ensure long term cross-Strait peace.
Full Text Below:
The 2016 general election has given the Democratic Progressive Party its long sought “Total Rule”. Some worry that cross-Strait peace may be at risk. They wonder whether darkness is about to descend upon cross-Strait relations. This is a serious matter that affects 23 million people on Taiwan. The fruits of a half-century of economic, social, and political development could evaporate. Even the 21st century “Chinese Dream” is at risk. The matter must not be approached with a surfeit of bravado and deficit of wisdom. It must not be approached as simplistic matter of black vs. white. Above all, it must not be approached based on instinct and emotion.
During the recent election, neither the DPP, the TSU, nor the NPP made the slightest mention of Taiwan independence. Among the three, only the TSU called for opposition to Mainland China. The NPP avoided mention of Taiwan independence and opposition to Mainland China. It confined itself to demands for "change". The KMT played the cross-Strait crisis card, but only half-heartedly. It never made it a major campaign issue. The political climate on Taiwan has clearly changed. Not only are calls for Taiwan independence dangerous, they no longer move voters. Voters were unhappy with Kuomintang ineptitude. The current election is a repudiation of the KMT, not a repudiation of improved cross-Strait relations.
Is cross-Strait peace sustainable? Tsai Ing-wen and Xi Jinping are key. As we all know, Tsai Ing-wen was the godmother of Lee Teng-hui's “Two-States Theory”. Many assume she is "congenitally pro-Taiwan independence". But she is also pragmatic and flexible. During a post-election interview, she said “Actually the other side was quite restrained during the election". She was not thanking Beijing for its goodwill. She was offering Beijing an olive branch. In fact, Tsai Ing-wen is no longer the same person who besieged Chen Yunlin and triggered bloodshed when he visited Taiwan in 2008. Tsai Ing-wen won the 2016 election because she called for cross-Strait peace and diminished public concerns. These voters will prevent Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP from reverting to their former extremism.
Xi Jinping is also key. Beijing has reached out to Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen has acknowledged Beijing's "goodwill". Tsai's response was probably not mere lip service. Mainland demands for reunification on the Internet are loud. Demands for forcible reunification are even louder. When Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP won the general election, official media channels on the Mainland immediately moved to cool public sentiment. Xinhua News Agency published an article entitled “Fear not Clouds Obscuring Our Vision”, saying "Taiwan's future and cross-Strait relations will be decided by Mainland progress". It said "improving cross-Strait relations is still mainstream public opinion on Taiwan". A Global Times editorial told readers that "Voters on Taiwan voted for Tsai Ing-wen, not for Taiwan independence". These articles stressed that Tsai Ing-wen's election victory diluted the reunification vs. independence issue. It paradoxically proved that the basis for cross-Strait peace remains solid. Mainland officials have not called for blood in response to Tsai Ing-wen's election victory. This is a sign of their rationality, and also of Tsai's Ing-wen's gesture of goodwill.
That said, we must acknowledge the potential risks in cross-Strait relations. Consider recent events, such as Taiwan's application to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). On the same day that Tsai Ing-wen was elected, AIIB President Jin Liqun declared that Taiwan does not enjoy sovereignty, therefore AIIB Membership requires the consent of "other members of the Bank responsible for international relations". Taiwan may join the AIIB only under a subsidiary form of sovereignty. The bottom line is clear. Taiwan may join only as "Chinese Taipei". Jin Liqun's declaration provides a glimpse of problems with cross-Strait interactions under Tsai Ing-wen. Does this mean Beijing has laid down the law regarding Taiwan's diplomatic maneuvering room? Does this hardline stance apply only to the AIIB? Will it become Beijing's standard for Taiwan's membership in international organizations? Will we even enjoy our current "Chinese Taipei" status when joining international organizations?
Such tensions are merely the tip of the iceberg. Mainland tourists transiting Taiwan, Mainland tourists visiting Taiwan, 23 cross-Strait agreements, the hoped for Tsai Xi summit, and official communications between the MAC and the Taiwan Affairs Office, are all matters of concern. The Mainland authorities and the victorious DPP must avoid these potential crises. Tsai Ing-wen's expression of goodwill is on the right track, but it is not enough. The core issue remains the 1992 Consensus. Sooner or later, she must offer a solution acceptable to both sides.
In 2015, the Academia Sinica conducted a survey. It found that as many as 46.4% of the public on Taiwan would choose Taiwan independence if they could. But as many as 49.7% of the public believe that reunification is likely. The Mainland must understand the public on Taiwan's sense of identity, and the differences in their subjective perceptions and objective reality. It must remind itself of the need to win hearts and minds on Taiwan. Only then can cross-Strait relations remain smooth. Only then can Beijing deepen the emotional links between people on the two sides, and defeat Taiwan independence at its root.
We on Taiwan often complain that the Mainland does not understand us. But have we asked ourselves whether we understand the Mainland? Understanding is a two-way street. So is communications. So is good faith. Taiwan must free itself from its knee jerk Sinophobia. We on Taiwan must open our hearts and minds. We must make an effort to understand the Mainland, to increase exchanges, and to deepen emotional ties. Only by doing so can we ensure long term cross-Strait peace.
有人擔心是否意謂兩岸和平發展路線遭到否定， 因而憂心兩岸關係的黑暗期是否將掩面而至。 這是一個非常嚴肅的議題，不但關係台灣2300萬民眾的身家性命 與50年經濟社會和政治發展成果會不會毀於一旦，也關係21世紀 中國夢能否順利實現， 絕不能以暴虎馮河之勇或非黑即白的簡單邏輯， 甚至用直覺式的情緒思考來回答這個問題。
其中僅台聯訴求反中，時代力量不提台獨、不強調反中，而以「 改變」為主軸，國民黨卻大打兩岸危機牌，但能量不足， 未成為選戰的主軸，可見台彎政治氣候已經改變， 台獨訴求不但風險大，也不再具有強大的政治動員能量。 人民對現狀不滿才是國民黨失敗的原因。 這場選舉是選民對國民黨的否定，而不是對兩岸和平發展的否定。
蔡英文與習近平將是關鍵。眾人皆知， 蔡英文是李登輝特殊兩國論的「孕母」，許多人認為她是「天然獨」 ，不過，我們也可以確認她在政治上的務實與彈性作風。 她在選舉揭曉後接受訪問時表示，「對岸在這次選舉， 其實是非常克制的」。這句話與其說是她認知大陸的善意， 不如說是想對大陸遞出橄欖枝。事實上，蔡英文已不是2008年陳 雲林來台時發動包圍、引發流血衝突的蔡英文。蔡英文能贏得201 6年大選，是因為她訴求兩岸和平，減少了許多人對她的疑慮， 這一部分民意將是未來制衡蔡英文與民進黨重回偏激路線的屏障。
蔡英文說她感受到大陸的「善意」，這句話應該不是「政治修辭」。 大陸網路極統，甚至武統聲勢浩大。蔡英文與民進黨勝選後， 大陸官媒立刻開始為統一論降溫。新華社發表〈不畏浮雲遮望眼〉 指出：「維護和發展兩岸關係仍是台灣社會的主流民意」、「 決定台灣前途、兩岸關係走向的關鍵因素是大陸的發展進步。」 環球時報社論告訴讀者「台灣民眾選蔡英文，選的不是台獨。」 這些文章都強調，蔡英文選舉時淡化了統獨， 反證兩岸和平的基礎仍甚穩固。 大陸官方並沒有因為蔡英文勝選而喊殺喊打，是一種理性的展現， 也是對蔡英文的善意。
我們不妨以最近發生的事件，看看兩岸關係中潛存的危險因子。 對於台灣申請加入亞投行， 亞投行行長金立群在蔡英文當選次日公開表示，台灣不享有主權， 須由「對其國際關係行為負責的銀行成員」同意或代為申請。 限定台灣必須以附屬主權的形式才能加入亞投行， 但台灣的底線很清楚，就是「中華台北」。金立群的表態， 是窺見蔡英文上台後兩岸互動難題的一道縫。 這是否代表大陸對台灣爾後外交空間新的強勢定位？ 這個強勢定位是只限於亞投行， 還是大陸對台灣未來想加入的國際組織的一體標準？ 會不會甚至倒過來影響我們已經以「中華台北」加入的國際組織？
到能不能蔡習會，以及維持陸委會與國台辦的官方溝通管道， 方方面面都有緊張因子，這才是讓人憂心的地方。 對於這些潛在危機，大陸當局與勝選的民進黨， 都應該要有更大的誠意與行動避免雙方對撞。 蔡英文的善意軟調是正確的，但仍遠遠不夠。 最核心的九二共識問題，她終要提出一個兩岸都能接受的解方。
4%的民眾選擇獨立。但在未來的客觀認知與預測上，卻有高達49 .7%的民眾認為統一難以避免。 大陸應深刻理解台灣民心在自我認同與現勢了解， 在主觀感性與客觀理性的差異，然後自我提醒，爭取台灣民心， 兩岸發展就會平順。這才是促進兩岸人民情感更深化融合， 並抑制台獨的根本之道。
我們又了不了解大陸呢？了解是雙向的，溝通也是、善意也是。 台灣必須走出反中的慣性，以開闊的心胸去理解大陸， 深化彼此的交往與情感連結，這才是兩岸和平的永續之道。