China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
February 17, 2016
Executive Summary: The Mainland's National Peoples Congress (NPC) and Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC) will hold important meetings on cross-Strait relations beginning on March 3. These are the first such meetings held since the Democratic Progressive Party return to power was confirmed. Mainland President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang will deliver important speeches. The two meetings will introduce a "Ten Three Five Planning Outline", an important indicator of the Mainland's new Taiwan policy. We hope these two meetings will reaffirm the roadmap for cross-Strait peace, and ensure a bright future for cross-Strait relations.
Full Text Below:
The Mainland's National Peoples Congress (NPC) and Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC) will hold important meetings on cross-Strait relations beginning on March 3. These are the first such meetings held since the Democratic Progressive Party return to power was confirmed. Mainland President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang will deliver important speeches. The two meetings will introduce a "Ten Three Five Planning Outline", an important indicator of the Mainland's new Taiwan policy. We hope these two meetings will reaffirm the roadmap for cross-Strait peace, and ensure a bright future for cross-Strait relations.
Not long ago, the results of the January 16 general election were announced. The DPP scored a major victory. It won not only the presidency, but a majority of seats in the Legislative Yuan. It has become the largest party on Taiwan, and will be implementing “total rule”. But president-elect Tsai Ing-wen has yet to recognize the 1992 Consensus, nor affirmed that "both sides of the strait belong to one China". As a result cross-Strait relations have been thrown into limbo.
On February 2 of this year, the Mainland held a working conference on Taiwan. They resolved to continue cross-strait economic integration, to expand cross-strait exchanges and cooperation in all areas. But they made no mention of continued “cross-Strait consultations and negotiations". Clearly the Mainland still has doubts about the DPP government's political posture. It is waiting for Tsai Ing-wen to clearly recognize the 1992 consensus before it negotiates with the new government on Taiwan and the DPP.
Where will the Mainland announce the conclusions of its meeting on Taiwan policy? In three ways. One. President Xi Jinping will meet with missions dedicated to Taiwan-issues, and make public their conclusions. Two. Premier Li Keqiang will make public the "Government Work Report". Three. The Mainland authorities will make public the "Ten Three Five Planning Outline" chapters on cross-Strait relations.
Everyone remembers what Xi Jinping said about cross-Strait relations in March last year, on two occasions. He said "Without a solid foundation, the earth will move and the mountains will shake". His wording was harsh. His purpose was to ensure that the DPP respect and recognize the basis for cross-Strait political relations, namely, recognition of the 1992 Consensus and opposition to Taiwan independence. In Li Keqiang's NPC and CPPCC government work reports last year, the Taiwan-related part of the presentation focused on efforts to promote cross-Strait dialogue, win/win, economic integration, grass-roots and youth exchanges. They were convinced that peaceful cross-Strait relations were irreversible and irresistible.
The two meetings will introduce the "Ten Three Five Planning Outline". Contrast this with the “Ten Two Five Planning Outline” introduced during two meetings in 2011. A special chapter devoted to cross-Strait relations planning was entitled “Promote Peaceful Cross-Strait Relations and Reunification of the Motherland”. The first sentence began with "insist on peaceful reunification, and the one country, two systems policy". The main body of the chapter however, called for three means by which to promote cross-Strait economic development. They were: establish and improve the cross-Strait economic cooperation mechanism, expand cross-Strait economic cooperation, and support the West Coast Economic of the Taiwan Strait Economic Zone.
In any event, when the two meetings convene this year, the change in ruling parties on Taiwan will be a fait accompli. The new government will take office on May 20. Cross-Strait relations will have entered a new era. Under the circumstances, the policy declaration issued during the two meetings is bound to affect cross-Strait relations. Mainland party and government leaders must craft an appropriately worded declaration in advance of the two meetings. Only then can the two sides reach the greatest agreement.
The highest priority of these two Taiwan-related policy meetings should be the vital interests of the public on Taiwan. The public on Taiwan
wants cross-Strait peace. It wants close cross-Strait exchanges, win/win, and greater common interests that move the two sides towards integration.
This and the election results on Taiwan are two different things. The DPP victory was mainly due to poor performance by the ruling Kuomintang. The DPP victory was the result of internal factors. Cross-Strait relations was not a major factor.
Therefore the two Mainland meetings should not hesitate to reaffirm the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, and set the minds of the public on Taiwan at ease. The "Ten Three Five Planning Outline" will be reviewed and finalized by the two meetings this year. Mainland party and government leaders should declare a "cross-Strait peace dividend", and let the public on Taiwan experience more substantive benefits. This will rein in the DPP, and prevent its cross-Strait policy from straying too far from the path.
This being the case, the "Ten Three Five Planning Outline" chapter devoted to cross-Strait policy should expand cross-Strait economic and trade cooperation. For example, the Ten Two Five Planning Outline mentioned support for the Taiwan Strait West Coast Economic Zone. The Ten Three Five Planning Outline should call for "free trade zone and One Belt, One Road exchanges and cooperation with Taiwan". This would increase its appeal to Taiwan. The Ten Two Five Planning Outline referred to "one country, two systems". Does the Ten Three Five Planning Outline need to make the same reference? That is something worth the Mainland's further consideration.
If the DPP refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus, the two meeting have no choice but to respond. We hope Mainland party and government leaders distinguish between the DPP and the general public. Do not undermine the feelings the general public has toward the Mainland. It can encourage the DPP to move closer to the 1992 Consensus, instead of confronting it. This will prevent shocks to cross-Strait relations. After all, the DPP government will not take office for three months. It still has room to adjust its cross-Strait policy path.
這次會議對兩岸關係極為重要。 這次會議是台灣確定民進黨再執政後，大陸首次舉行的重要會議， 大陸國家主席習近平及國務院總理李克強都將發表重要演說， 會中並將端出《十三五規畫綱要》， 都將成為新階段大陸對台政策的重要指針。我們期盼， 這次兩會能再度確認兩岸和平發展路線，為未來兩岸關係開出好局。
不但贏得總統寶座，亦成為立法院過半數席位的最大黨， 將要全面執政。但總統當選人蔡英文迄今未承認「九二共識」， 亦不認同「兩岸同屬一中」，致使兩岸關係陷入不確定情境中。
會中結論雖明示要促進兩岸經濟融合發展， 及擴大深化兩岸社會各領域的交流合作，但未提出近年常講的「 繼續推進兩岸協商談判」； 顯示陸方對民進黨政府的政治立場仍抱持疑慮態度， 必須等到蔡英文正面肯定九二共識後， 才會和民進黨及台灣新政府協商談判。
這個問題，有三大觀察指標， 一是大陸國家主席習近平會見台灣相關代表團，所發表的談話； 二是國務院總理李克強「政府工作報告」的涉台部分；三是《 十三五規畫綱要》的兩岸關係篇章。
基礎不牢，地動山搖」的談話，其語意頗為嚴厲， 目的顯在促使民進黨，尊重及認同兩岸關係發展的政治基礎， 即九二共識和反對台獨。而李克強去年兩會政府工作報告， 涉台部分則著重表述，努力推動兩岸協商對話、推動經濟互利融合、 加強基層和青少年交流、 堅信兩岸關係和平發展潮流不可阻擋及不可逆轉等。
1年兩會呈現的《十二五規畫綱要》，後者用了一個專章， 來表述兩岸關係發展規畫，其標題為〈 推進兩岸關係和平發展和祖國統一大業〉，開頭第一句話是「 堅持和平統一、一國兩制方針」。不過該專章主體內容， 是促進兩岸經貿發展的三大取向，即建立健全兩岸經濟合作機制、 全面深化兩岸經濟合作、支持海峽西岸經濟區建設。
新政府即將在5月20日上任，兩岸關係也要進入新階段。 在這種形勢下，今年兩會對兩岸關係所作的政策宣示， 必然會深刻影響下一步的兩岸關係走勢。就此， 大陸黨政領導層有必要事先拿捏好分寸，俾於兩會場合， 作出最適切的宣示，以求取兩岸雙方的最大公約數。
理當是本次兩會涉台政策優先關切的對象。 台灣民眾普遍熱愛兩岸和平，也殷切期盼兩岸密切交流、互補互利， 擴大共同利益走向融一。
以安定台灣民心。恰好，《十三五規畫綱要》， 將由今年兩會進行審查及定案，大陸黨政領導層理應通過該綱要， 來釋放新的「兩岸和平紅利」，讓台灣民眾感受到更多實惠； 這樣也可牽制民進黨，使該黨的兩岸路線不致太偏差。
應該擴大及深化兩岸經貿合作內容。譬如， 十二五規畫提到支持海峽西岸經濟區建設， 十三五規畫則應擴大及深化表述為「 支持各自由貿易區及一帶一路的對台交流合作項目」， 這樣對台更有吸引力。至於十二五規畫所講的「一國兩制」， 十三五規畫是否需再提，也值得大陸方面深入考量。
我們期盼大陸黨政領導層，應區隔民進黨與社會大眾， 勿傷害一般民眾對中國大陸的感情，對民進黨可以「鼓勵」替代「 對抗」，使民進黨心甘情願向九二共識靠攏， 這樣也可避免兩岸關係發生震盪。畢竟，民進黨政府3個月後才上台 ，其兩岸政策路線還有很大的調整餘地。