United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 23, 2016
Executive Summary: We would like to remind Tsai that the international political climate is changing. Will the DPP's cross-Strait strategy remain mired in thinking from 20 years ago, inadequate for today's situation? If Tsai wants to avoid the simultaneous loss of economic and diplomatic links, she must handle cross-Strait relations with care.
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Tsai Ing-wen still refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus. As a result, cross-Strait relations have undergone subtle changes. Despite the unwritten diplomatic truce, the Mainland announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with Gambia. The Taiwan Affairs Office cited "technical problems" as the reason it missed a hotline call from the Mainland Affairs Council. A few days earlier, ARATS chief Chen Deming played unprecedented hardball, saying the Mainland was “through talking about the MTA". Since 2008, political and economic links have been established with great difficulty. Now that Tsai Ing-wen is about to assume power, are these links about to be broken?
These broken links include economic links, and diplomatic links. In 2004, the Mainland became Taiwan's second largest trading partner, for the fourth year running. Taiwan's economic growth momentum was Mainland-based. On a foundation of mutual trust, Taiwan sought to join regional economic organizations, to sign free trade agreements, and to take advantage of international markets to undergo industrial upgrading. Taiwan's economic development plan was to proceed from cross-Strait economic links, to free trade agreements, to industrial upgrading. Take diplomatic links for example. The two sides would establish a negotiating framework based on mutual trust. A diplomatic truce would enable the two sides to cease competing with each other. This would enable Taiwan to participate in international organizations and enjoy increased international breathing room. Taiwan's three links diplomacy would be: cross-Strait negotiations, leading to increased diplomatic space, leading to international participation.
In short, both economic links and diplomatic links depend upon cross-Strait relations. They are a vital part of the ROC's economy, trade, and diplomacy. Changes in cross-Strait relations affect our foreign relations. It affects the survival of Taiwan's industry, and Taiwan's economic growth. We cannot look at cross-Strait relations solely from an ideological perspective, while ignoring its importance to Taiwan's economic survival and diplomatic relations.
DPP economic, trade, and diplomatic strategy has long clung to two delusions. Delusion One is thinking that Taiwan's economy can bypass the Mainland, and rely entirely upon international and domestic demand. Hence the DPP "New Southern Strategy" to eliminate dependence on the Mainland market. But the Mainland is ASEAN's largest trading partner. The China - ASEAN Free Trade Area has already been formed. ASEAN has close diplomatic relations with the Mainland. If cross-Strait relations have not been properly handled, any "New Southern Strategy" will run up against fear and resistance from ASEAN countries. Conversely, if Taiwan maintains stable cross-Strait economic relations, it can integrate itself into the regional economy, and through emerging market development support the upgrading of its domestic industries. This is the smart way to maintain Taiwan's economic development.
The second delusion is that Taiwan's relations with foreign nations can bypass the Mainland, and rely solely on support from the US and Japan. This is why the DPP emphasizes linking with the US and Japan to counter the Mainland. But in recent years, the rise of the Mainland has affected many international issues. The US and Japan need the Mainland to help solve the North Korean nuclear issue, and the Middle East refugee issue. This is why the United States and Japan may confront the Mainland in the South China Sea, but stop short of making a complete break. If the DPP is smart, it will use stable cross-Strait relations to give itself leverage on regional issues, in order to maximize Taiwan's interests. In other words, stable cross-Strait relations can increase Taiwan's international profile, provide it with opportunities for international participation. Such a strategy would be wiser by far.
A few days ago Tsai Ing-wen attended Taiwan's Clinical Medicine Academic Conference. She suddenly became “Dr. Tsai” and took Taiwan's economic pulse. She said that according to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, Taiwan's political and economic systems are seriously out of balance, and require thorough readjustment. They require the development of key industries, allowing Taiwan's industrial chain to begin moving again. But how can cross-Strait relations and Taiwan's economic growth each go their own way? If one neglects cross-Strait relations, how can Taiwan's economic and diplomatic links remain in operation?
Tsai Ing-wen now enjoys “total government”. Now is the time for her to transcend blue vs. green political divisions. Now is the ideal time for her to lead Taiwan's economic breakthrough and seek new opportunities. But the opportunity is fleeting. She must strike while the iron is hot. Otherwise the ruling and opposition parties will resume their partisan bickering. Lack of agreement between the two parties over cross-Strait relations would result in stalemate. By then, any talk of a bright future by Tsai Ing-wen would find no traction.
We would like to remind Tsai that the international political climate is changing. Will the DPP's cross-Strait strategy remain mired in thinking from 20 years ago, inadequate for today's situation? If Tsai wants to avoid the simultaneous loss of economic and diplomatic links, she must handle cross-Strait relations with care.
近期兩岸關係出現了微妙的變化。中國大陸不顧與我「外交休兵」 的默契，宣布與甘比亞建交；國台辦也以「技術」問題，「漏接」 來自陸委會的熱線電話。稍早數日， 海協會長陳德銘逕自稱貨貿協議已經「談完」，亦是一記硬球。 兩岸自二○○八年以來好不容易建立的政治、經濟的協商互信基礎， 在蔡英文上台前夕，是否可能相繼「斷鏈」？
中國大陸在二○○四年成為台灣最大的貿易夥伴後， 台灣經濟成長動力幾以大陸為依託， 在兩岸互信的基礎下尋求加入區域經濟組織， 並與它國簽署自由貿易協定，藉由國際市場的開拓來進行產業升級。 「兩岸經濟—ＦＴＡ—產業升級」可謂台灣「經濟鏈」的三環節。 在「外交鏈」方面，兩岸則在一定的互信基礎下建立制度性協商， 經由「外交休兵」的共識停止邦交競逐， 台灣藉此參與國際組織並拓展國際空間。「兩岸協商—外交空間— 國際參與」便是台灣外交鏈的三環節。
兩岸關係都是台灣經貿和外交的重要環節。一旦兩岸關係生變， 不僅影響我國對外關係，也勢必影響台灣產業的生存發展， 進而衝擊經濟成長。也因此，看待兩岸關係， 不能僅從意識形態出發，而忽略它對台灣經濟和對外關係的重要性。
認為台灣的經濟可以跳過大陸，僅靠國際或內需；就此， 民進黨提出「新南向政策」，要擺脫對大陸市場的依賴。然而， 中國不但是東協最大的貿易國，中國—東協自由貿易區早已成形； 在東協與中國大陸緊密的外交關係下，如果不能處理好兩岸關係，「 新南向政策」在東協國家也恐將橫生阻力。換個角度看， 台灣若能藉由穩定的兩岸經濟關係，找到融入區域經濟的契機， 並透過新興市場的開拓來支撐國內的產業升級， 這才是維繫台灣經濟發展鏈的明智之舉。
只需仰賴美日的支持；也因此，民進黨更強調聯美日來抗衡中國。 然而，近年中國的崛起，在許多國際問題上， 美日都需要假手北京的協助解決，如北韓核問題及中東難民問題， 這也是美日兩國與大陸在南海問題上始終「鬥而不破」的主因。 民進黨如果聰明的話， 應藉由穩定的兩岸關係在區域問題上借力使力， 才能為台灣爭取最大的利益。換言之， 透過穩定的兩岸關係來擴大台灣的國際能見度， 讓台灣找到國際參與的契機，才是更高明的戰略。
為台灣經濟把脈。她根據中醫強調整體均衡的理論，認為台灣政治、 經濟正處於嚴重失衡的狀態，需要好好的調理； 而透過重點產業的發展，可以讓台灣的產業鏈重新動起來。但是， 經濟與兩岸關係猶如台灣的任督二脈， 一旦要去除兩岸關係這個因素不顧， 如何能讓台灣的經濟鏈和外交鏈順利運作？
這是她引領政治跳脫藍綠對立的最佳時刻， 也是她帶領台灣經濟突破轉型成長遲滯的大好機會。問題是， 機會稍縱即逝，如果不能好好把握，一旦朝野再度陷入惡鬥的循環， 一旦兩岸關係又因民共兩黨缺乏共識而演成僵局；屆時， 蔡英文要談什麼美好願景或共創未來，恐怕都將無從著力。