China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 15, 2016
Executive Summary: The KMT chairmanship election debate was a huge let-down. The candidates dwelt on the minutiae behind the KMT's failure. They ignored the central factor in the KMT's election rout -- the “Chinese Connection”. For years, the Ma government backed down the moment it encountered any resistance on cross-Strait issues. This is what led to the eventual KMT debacle. The KMT must build a more distinctive brand. Only then can it win more votes in the next election, and position itself best for a return to power. In short, having the courage to stand behind its Chinese Connection, is the KMT's blueprint for a reversal of fortune.
Full Text Below:
The KMT chairmanship election debate was a huge let-down. The candidates dwelt on the minutiae behind the KMT's failure. They ignored the central factor in the KMT's election rout -- the “Chinese Connection”. For years, the Ma government backed down the moment it encountered any resistance on cross-Strait issues. This is what led to the eventual KMT debacle. Cross-Strait relations may descend into a state of Cold Civil War, putting East Asian regional peace at risk. Why aren't candidates for the KMT chairmanship conducting a thorough review of this?
Unless the DPP repeals its Taiwan independence party platform, the new government cannot expect smooth sailing with Beijing. Maintaining the cross-Strait status quo will be impossible. That is why the Kuomintang owes Taiwan an apology for this election defeat. Taiwan needs the KMT to maintain cross-Strait relations. It needs the KMT to keep the flame of peace alive. The KMT must have the courage to stand behind its "Chinese Connection”. It must have the courage to work with the Mainland. Why aren't candidates for the KMT party chairmanship examining this central factor?
The Ma government habitually backed down whenever it encountered the resistance on Mainland-related issues. Leave that aside for the moment. Following the 2014 nine in one election debacle, the KMT lost confidence its cross-Strait policy stance. Wave upon wave of green camp offensives sent the the KMT leadership fleeing from the battlefront. The most concrete example was the party's legislators at large nominations. For overseas spouses, the party nominated a woman from Cambodia. It dared not nominate a woman from the Mainland, despite the fact that it had the largest constituency. For overseas Taiwan businessmen, the party nominated a man from South America. It dared not nominate a Taiwan businessman from the Mainland, despite the fact that it had the largest constituency.
Such nominations leave the impression that whenever election season rolls around, the KMT keeps the Mainland at arm's length. It is clearly desperate to avoid DPP charges that it is "pandering to the Mainland and selling out Taiwan”. During last year's move to replace Hung Hsiu-chu as the party's presidential candidate, Eric Chu publicly criticized Hung's "one China, same interpretation”. This too diluted the KMT's "Chinese Connection". But no matter how desperately the KMT attempted to dilute the KMT's connection to the CCP, the election results showed its efforts were in vain.
If the newly elected KMT party chairman clings to this timid posture, he or she will be making a serious mistake. Taiwan needs a non-DPP political force to maintain cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation. The KMT is the most reliable such force. How can the new KMT chairman throw in the towel, and ignore his or her responsibility to tough it out?
The Mainland does not trust the DPP. The general public wallows in populist hate. Tsai Ing-wen obviously has no intention of recognizing the 1992 Consensus in her inaugural speech. The DPP is even less likely to repeal its Taiwan independence party platform. The East Asian region remains troubled by conflicts in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea. The nations involved are antagonistic toward each other. Add tensions in the Taiwan strait to this mix, and cross-Strait relations will inevitably be a rollercoaster ride. Will the two sides be able to conduct official exchanges? Will they react toward each other with suspicion, friction, discord, even conflict? Under such conditions, progress in cross-Strait relations will depend on the private sector. The stronger the opposition Kuomintang, the more it can ensure stable cross-Strait relations.
The KMT should rally members of the public willing to conduct people to people exchanges with the Mainland. It should strengthen its links to the Mainland. It should help the private sector realize its desires. For example, young people on Taiwan may have supported the DPP during this latest election. But many of them also wish to find jobs or found companies on the Mainland. The KMT should actively assist these people. It must of course consult first with the CCP and create employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people from Taiwan. It must protect their rights and interests, enabling them to “Go West” with peace of mind. In addition to youth issues, there is much room for cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation in popular culture, education, and religion. Religion in particular is an area where the KMT can have a significant impact on the evolution of civil society on the Mainland.
Even more important are cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges. The KMT should help Taiwan business firms negotiate cross-Strait economic and trade-related issues with the CCP. When the DPP government is unable to communicate with the CCP, the KMT can step up to the plate. The Kuomintang may be an opposition party, unable to sign cross-Strait economic and trade agreements. But it can still deal with many practical problems that arise.
For example, the “mini three links” trade in goods was once severed, severely impacting Taiwan businesses. If this happens again, the KMT can inject itself and help Taiwan businessmen resolve their problems. After all, the KMT and CPP have abundant experience conducting exchanges and cooperation. Existing modes of communication will still be usable in the future, especially since the CCP has expressed willingness to continue cooperating with the KMT following the election, and even continue holding KMT CCP Forums. The KMT still has a role in future cross-Strait affairs.
The KMT must build a more distinctive brand. Only then can it win more votes in the next election, and position itself best for a return to power. In short, having the courage to stand behind its Chinese Connection, is the KMT's blueprint for a reversal of fortune.
幾位候選人依然纏繞著國民黨執政失敗的枝節因素叨絮不休， 卻忽略了造成崩盤式敗選的核心因素─明明國民黨社會生命力在「 中國元素」、在連結大陸的兩岸關係， 但多年來馬政府在兩岸議題上卻「逢反中必退」，終於釀成敗選、 甚至兩岸關係很可能墜入「冷內戰」、 陷台灣與東亞和平於不確定風險中的苦果，國民黨不該徹底檢討嗎？
未來新政府和中共間的互動不可能順暢，兩岸也很難維持現狀， 這是國民黨敗選真正對不起台灣的地方。面對未來， 台灣還是需要國民黨來維繫兩岸關係，避免和平的火種熄滅。 國民黨應如何捍衛「中國元素」，勇於「連結中國」， 這難道不是黨主席選舉真正該檢討的核心問題嗎？
，國民黨就對兩岸議題喪失信心，面對綠營一波波綿密攻勢， 黨中央竟然表現出畏戰、避戰的心態。最具體的事例， 該黨提名不分區立法委員， 外籍配偶名額提名一位來自柬埔寨的女士， 而不敢提名外配人數最多的陸配代表；海外台商代表的名額， 也提名一位南美洲台商，而非台商人數最多的大陸台商代表。
保持距離」，明顯是要躲避民進黨拋給國民黨的「親中賣台」帽子。 去年國民黨「換柱」時，接棒做該黨總統候選人的朱立倫， 曾公開批評洪秀柱「一中同表」主張，亦是為了淡化國民黨的「 中國連結」。但無論國民黨在選戰中如何淡化國共關係， 開票結果證明根本徒勞無功。
則我們要不客氣指出，這是大錯特錯的。 因為台灣絕對需要一股非民進黨的政治力量， 來維繫既有的兩岸交流合作關係於不墜；而國民黨是最可靠的力量， 該黨新任主席豈能自暴自棄，無視於應勇敢承擔的責任呢？
民間社會甚至不乏抱著仇視對立的民粹心態， 蔡英文顯然不會在就職演說中承認九二共識， 民進黨更不可能廢棄台獨黨綱，東亞區域戰略在黃海、東海、 南海議題上，相關國家已充斥高度對抗情緒與緊張態勢， 台海議題夾雜其中，兩岸關係難免跌宕起伏， 屆時兩岸官方即便能對上話，互動態勢仍將是猜疑、磨擦、 齟齬不斷，甚至出現意見對立、衝突。在這種情況下， 兩岸關係的前行，將倚賴民間因素發揮作用，國民黨在野力量愈強， 對不確定的兩岸關係愈能產生穩定的作用。
並藉此加強連結大陸，使民間意願得以實現。譬如， 台灣青年雖在這次大選中較支持民進黨， 但很多青年意願調查與相關大數據均顯示， 還是有一定比例的年輕人有志前往大陸就業或創業。對這些人， 國民黨宜積極協助，當然要先和中共協商， 為台青創造具體可行的就業、創業機會，並形成保障台青權益機制， 使有志的台青能安心前往。除了青年事項，將來兩岸民間文化、 教育、宗教信仰等方面的交流合作空間非常大， 尤其宗教交流是國民黨使得上力，且為大陸發展文明社會所需， 當能達致顯著成果。
和中共協商解決兩岸經貿相關問題。當民進黨政府和中共溝通不良， 國民黨就有了補位空間。儘管國民黨以在野身分， 無法和中共簽署制度性的兩岸經貿協議，但一些實務面的問題， 還是可以處理。
未來若再發生，國民黨就插得上手，也能有效地為台商排憂解難。 畢竟，國民黨和中共交流合作經驗已很豐富， 既有的溝通模式將來也可以沿用。更何況，台灣這次大選後， 中共仍表示願意持續與國民黨交流合作，及繼續舉辦「國共論壇」； 這是國民黨未來發揮兩岸事務長才的契機。