China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 4, 2016
Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen hopes for cross-Strait stability. But she remains short of her goal. She must be willing to change her position on the Ma Xi summit. In her inaugural speech, she must acknowledge the “one China” provision in the two sides' constitutions, thereby paving the way for a new cross-Strait legal foundation. Such a constitutional framework would become the most advanced expression of the 1992 Consensus, and the best option under current cross-Strait circumstances.
Full Text Below:
Mainland Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently raised the issue of constitutionality. He hoped Taiwan's newly elected authorities would abide by “their own constitution, which stipulates that the Mainland and Taiwan are both part of one China". His statement provoked controversy on both sides sides of the Strait, as well as overseas. DPP officials believe this is unprecedented. They say this is the first time Mainland officials have not mention the 1992 Consensus. They think it is a goodwill gesture toward Tsai Ing-wen. They think it means they have accepted Tsai Ing-wen's pledge to uphold the constitutional framework of the Republic of China, in lieu of recognizing the 1992 Consensus. The deep green New Power Party on the other hand, insists that Beijing has not changed. It is still compelling Taiwan to accept the one China principle. MAC chairwoman Hsia Li-yan said, "We are pleased to see the Chinese mainland recognize our Constitution". The KMT continues to stand by the 1992 Consensus. It does not think Beijing has made any concessions to Tsai Ing-wen. Many non-blue and non-green observers think Beijing has implicitly recognized the "Republic of China Constitution", "ROC jurisdiction", “ROC constitutional democracy", and even the "Republic of China". Therefore the DPP must pay close attention to this message.
Similar debates have erupted in Washington. Douglas Paal is vice president of the Carnegie Peace Foundation. Paal noted that several months ago Tsai Ing-wen underscored the importance of the "existing ROC constitutional framework". To Paal, Wang Yi's remarks imply that so far Beijing finds her handling of "one China" and the "1992 Consensus" acceptable. He thinks Beijing is able to tolerate Tsai's statement of position. Alan Romberg is director of the East Asia program at the Henry L. Stimson Center. Romberg thinks that Wang Yi knows Tsai Ing-wen, motivated by both pragmatism and principle, will not explicitly recognize the 1992 Consensus and oppose Taiwan independence. Wang Yi's willingness to accept Tsai Ing-wen's pledge to uphold the ROC Constitution, reflects Beijing's pragmatism. Richard Bush is director of the Brookings Institution Center for Policy Research on East Asia. Bush thinks that Wang said nothing new. He thinks that although Wang made no mention of the 1992 Consensus, Wang nevertheless alluded to the concept of the 1992 Consensus.
Mainland agencies charged with Taiwan affairs think that pan green, pan blue, and Washington think tanks are over-thinking the issue, and fail to grasp Beijing's bottom line. Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun and other think tank academics have refuted Wang Yi. Beijing has not abandoned the 1992 Consensus. It does not accept Tsai Ing-wen's lip service to “constitutional framework” or "existing ROC constitutional democracy" as substitutes for recognition of the 1992 Consensus. It even warns that "reading too much into the matter, could result in an explosion".
Wang Yi's remarks do indeed have meaning. But one must not read too much into them. Instead, we must follow the spirit of the Ma Xi summit. We must interpret cross-Strait political relations as “shared sovereignty and divided jurisdiction”. Only this can resolve cross-Strait disputes, and facilitate pragmatic cross-Strait relations. Unfortunately, the DPP has flatly rejected the consensus reaffirmed during the Ma Xi summit. The DPP will soon face complex economic and domestic issues. To stablize cross-Strait relations, it must make a breakthrough. Wang Yi showed how to achieve this breakthrough. The ROC Constitution is our link to Mainland China. Tsai Ing-wen must rethink her position on the Ma Xi summit. During her 5/20 inaugural address, she must offer a constitutional interpretation of cross-Strait relations that Beijing can accept -- one that can resolve the current impasse.
Last November, during the Ma Xi summit, President Ma told Mainland President Xi Jinping that “the Mainland authorities should acknowledge the existence of the Republic of China and the ROC Constitution”. Understandably, Xi Jinping expressed no opposition. During the Ma Xi summit, Xi Jinping was paving the way for Wang Yi, for “Constitutionally-based Cross-Strait Relations" foundation. He hoped to ascertain whether the two sides could establish a cross-Strait political framework rooted in their respective constitutions. He sought to create a more workable and stable platform.
The Mainland constitution has been amended several times. In 1949, there was the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). In 1954 and 1975, it was amended several times, to liberate all Chinese territories, including Taiwan. In 1978, the preamble was amended to read, "Taiwan is China's sacred territory, we must liberate Taiwan, to complete the great cause of reunification of the motherland". The constitutional amendment in 1982 did not mention the liberation of Taiwan. But it stipulated that, "Taiwan is the sacred territory of the People's Republic of China. Completing the great cause of reunification of the motherland is the sacred duty of all Chinese, including our compatriots on Taiwan". It included the framework of Taiwan's legal and administrative system.
The “Republic of China Constitution" implemented on Taiwan in 1946 has been amended seven times. But it still stipulates that "both sides of the Strait are part of one China". It establishes the basic framework for national sovereignty and regulates cross-Strait exchanges. It constitutes a legal affairs and management system. Pan green attempts to define cross-Strait relations according to the "two states theory", are utterly inconsistent with the constitution.
Tsai Ing-wen hopes for cross-Strait stability. But she remains short of her goal. She must be willing to change her position on the Ma Xi summit. In her inaugural speech, she must acknowledge the “one China” provision in the two sides' constitutions, thereby paving the way for a new cross-Strait legal foundation. Such a constitutional framework would become the most advanced expression of the 1992 Consensus, and the best option under current cross-Strait circumstances.
自己憲法規定的大陸、台灣同屬一個中國」的說法，引發兩岸內部、 兩岸之間及國際的關切與論爭。民進黨人士大體認為， 這是大陸官方首度「破天荒」不提九二共識，是對蔡英文釋出善意， 接受了蔡回歸憲政體制的主張；深綠的時代力量卻認為， 北京沒有改變，仍強逼台灣接受「一中原則」。 陸委會主委夏立言則說，「若中國大陸能面對我們的憲法， 我們樂觀其成」；國民黨繼續堅守九二共識， 不認為北京對蔡英文已有所退讓；更多非藍非綠人士則認為， 其中確實隱含了默認《中華民國憲法》、默認「中華民國管轄權」、 默認「中華民國憲政民主」、甚至默認「中華民國」之意， 民進黨應重視這個訊號。
對照蔡英文月前接受專訪時強調「中華民國現行憲政體制」 等政治基礎，王毅的說法顯示北京認為至少到目前為止， 這是技巧性的處理「一個中國」或「九二共識」 議題較可接受的結果，他推測北京至少默許蔡英文的說法。 史汀生中心東亞研究室主任容安瀾則認為， 基於各種實際政治和原則性的原因， 王毅了解蔡英文不會以直接方式接受九二共識和反對台獨， 因此當王毅表示願意接受用「他們自己的憲法」處理時， 反映了北京務實態度的重要部分。 但布魯金斯研究所東亞政策研究中心主任卜睿哲卻認為， 王毅的說法沒有太多新意，雖然沒有提到九二共識， 但還是暗指九二共識的概念。
泛藍或華府智庫對王毅的談話已過度引伸， 並未掌握真正關鍵的訊息， 國台辦主任張志軍及相關智庫學者紛紛澄清， 否認王毅的說法代表北京放棄九二共識、接受蔡英文憲政體制說， 也不認同所謂「默認中華民國憲政民主」；甚至警告「 如果過度解讀，恐曇花一現」。
而應該與馬習會所彰顯的兩岸「主權同源、治權分立」 精神放在同一個脈絡解讀，才是化解兩岸爭議、 打開兩岸關係務實而明亮之窗的機會。遺憾的是， 民進黨卻對馬習會採取幾乎全然負面的評價。不過， 民進黨執政後面對台灣千絲萬縷的經濟與內政問題， 兩岸關係必須力求穩定，那就得設法創造突破的窗口。 而王毅已經指出了這個窗口，就是中華民國憲法與中國的連結， 蔡英文如願意重新評價馬習會，並在520就職演說中， 為兩岸憲法關係提出北京能夠接受的詮釋和連結，當可化解僵局。
中華民國、中華民國憲法，大陸方面應正視中華民國存在的事實」 等論述，習近平並沒有做出反對的表示，可以理解， 習近平早在馬習會時，就為王毅鋪墊了「兩岸憲法關係」的基礎， 試探兩岸從各自的憲法架構中，構築兩岸關係政治基礎的可能性， 希望有機會打造出更可行而且更穩定的平台。
中國人民政治協商會議共同綱領》開始，1954年、1975年幾 次憲法修定都是以解放中國領土來概括台灣問題，直到1978年修 定才在序言明定：「台灣是中國的神聖領土。我們一定要解放台灣， 完成統一祖國的大業。」1982年的修憲雖然不再提解放台灣， 但仍明定：「台灣是中華人民共和國的神聖領土的一部分。 完成統一祖國的大業是包括台灣同胞在內的全中國人民的神聖職責。 」並且據以架構出涉台法律和行政管理體系。
但依然建立在「兩岸同屬一中」的基本國家主權論述架構上， 並據以構成規範兩岸交流事務的法律和管理體系。綠營企圖以「 兩國論」方向來定位兩岸關係，完全不符合憲法規定。
評價馬習會，在就職演說中針對兩岸憲政體制在「一中」 主權觀的接合點，為兩岸關係鋪墊出新的法理基礎，那麼， 其憲政體制說將成為九二共識的進階版， 將是當前兩岸關係特殊環境下的最佳選擇。