United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 5, 2016
Executive Summary: Can we clearly define the principles and goodwill underlying the 1992 Consensus, one by one? If we can, then the overwhelming majority of people on Taiwan, with the exception of deep green zealots, will not oppose the 1992 Consensus and one China, different interpretations. Surely Tsai Ing-wen's May 20 inauguration speech is not addressing hardcore Taiwan independence zealots? We urge president elect Tsai to think again. If on May 20 she refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus, and Beijing continues to demand it, Tsai will be forced to find another way to say "1992 Consensus", a way far more difficult, far more painful, and far more costly.
Tsai Ing-wen's May 20 inauguration speech, and Beijing's initial response are cause for concern. Among the many permutations and combinations, one sees four possibilities.
Possibility One. Tsai Ing-wen utters the words "1992 Consensus", and “on the basis of seeking common ground while shelving differences”, accepts its "core meaning". Beijing responds, and says the two sides will adhere to the 1992 Consensus. This is the best possibility of all. This means the two sides will be able to move forward on the basis of the 1992 Consensus, and expect smooth sailing.
Possibility Two. Tsai refuses to utter the words, “1992 Consensus”. Beijing fails to mention the 1992 Consensus. This in turn gives rise to two additional possibilities. Possibility A. Tsai invokes something akin to the “Five Noes”. She accepts the core meaning of the 1992 Consensus, but does not utter the words “1992 Consensus”. Beijing accepts her alternative wording. Perhaps Tsai refers to it as the "1992 Communique”. Beijing refrains from further pressure. Possibility B. Tsai makes it clear that she will never utter the words “1992 Consensus”. Beijing relents, realizing the 1992 Consensus is a non-starter. The two parties find an alternative. Perhaps they refer to the "1992 Consensus" as the "1992 Communique”.
Possibility Three. Tsai recognizes the 1992 Consensus, but Beijing says nothing. This possibility is the least likely of all.
Possibility Four. Tsai refuses to utter the words, “1992 Consensus”. But the first time Beijing responds, it demands adherence to the 1992 Consensus. This is the worst of all possibilities. It would mean that the confrontation over the 1992 Consensus will continue long after May 20, until god only knows when.
On the night of January 16, Tsai Ing-wen's victory speech made no mention of the 1992 Consensus. When Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office responded, the first thing it did was to reaffirm the 1992 Consensus. Beijing later reaffirmed the importance of the 1992 Consensus during two party congresses and Xi's meeting with Obama. Therefore whether the 1992 Consensus survives May 20, will be a matter of crucial importance.
The likelihood that Tsai will mention the term “1992 consensus” is exceedingly low. The likelihood that Beijing will demand adherence to the 1992 Consensus is exceedingly high. This is the source of cross-Strait anxiety.
Will Tsai's May 20 inauguration speech lead to Possibility Four? If she refuses to utter the words “1992 Consensus”, and Beijing continues to demand adherence to the 1992 Consensus, the result will be disaster. Following May 20, the dispute over the 1992 Consensus may never end.
James Soong told Tsai Ing-wen that “Cross-Strait relations is the root of everything". To this one can add the footnote. "The 1992 Consensus is the root of cross-Strait relations".
Tsai Ing-wen refuses to play by Ma Ying-jeou's rules. But Ma Ying-jeou's cross-Strait policy and constitutional interpretation are rooted in the strategic picture -- globally, bilaterally, even domestically. Tsai will have a hard time finding an alternative for national survival. Cross-Strait relations have ebbed and flowed. Taiwan independence is no longer possible. One must adhere to “one China, different interpretations” under the ROC Constitution. There is no other way by which one can conduct cross-Strait relations. Tsai Ing-wen must not conclude that Ma Ying-jeou boxed her in. If anything, she should thank Ma Ying-jeou for clearing her way. Ma Ying-jeou's cross-Strait policy and constitutional interpretation can be summed up simply: 1992 Consensus, and one China, different interpretations.
Tsai Ing-wen thinks as long as she has the TPP, the RCEP does not matter. As long as she has her New Southern Strategy, ECFA does not matter. But if Taiwan dispenses with the Mainland, it will not succeed at globalization. In fact, cross-Strait relations are not merely economic relations. In the event the two sides find themselves at loggerheads, every twitch of the nerve on Taiwan, including political infighting and diplomatic war, will rip society apart, and undermine the TPP and Tsai's New Southern Strategy. Therefore, cross-Strait relations truly are the root of everything.
The 1992 Consensus is the root of cross-Strait relations. The expression “hanging by a thread” comes to mind. Cross-Strait relations hang on the thread of the 1992 Consensus. Taiwan's political and economic survival hangs on the thread of cross-Strait relations. If Tsai is planning to take a pair of scissors to that thread, she had better offer everyone on Taiwan, including the DPP and herself, a damned good reason.
Has Tsai Ing-wen steeled her will? Is she hellbent on pursuing Taiwan independence, and one nation on each side? If so, she should reject the 1992 Consensus and one China, different interpretations outright. But if she insists on reassuring everyone that she is "maintaining the status quo" and "promoting cross-Strait relatins under the existing ROC constitutional framework”, what reason does she have to repudiate the 1992 Consensus and one China, different interpretations? Tsai Ing-wen is obviously contradicting herself. Besides, Beijing has repeatedly said, "She may express the principle in her own manner", "as long as both sides affirm their own constitutions and call for one China", that amounts to "one China, different interpretations".
Can we clearly define the principles and goodwill underlying the 1992 Consensus, one by one? If we can, then the overwhelming majority of people on Taiwan, with the exception of deep green zealots, will not oppose the 1992 Consensus and one China, different interpretations. Surely Tsai Ing-wen's May 20 inauguration speech is not addressing hardcore Taiwan independence zealots?
We urge president elect Tsai to think again. If on May 20 she refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus, and Beijing continues to demand it, Tsai will be forced to find another way to say "1992 Consensus", a way far more difficult, far more painful, and far more costly.
核心意涵」的接納。北京亦以共同維持九二共識相回應。 這是最佳的組合，表示雙方可在九二共識的共同基礎上開局， 進行磨合。
一、蔡用類似「四不一沒有」的說法接納了核心意涵， 只是沒說九二共識四字；北京則接受了蔡的替代詞彙（如改稱「 九二函電」？），不再以九二共識相逼。二、 蔡顯示了絕無說出九二共識四字的可能，北京則知難而退， 不再自陷九二共識僵局。如此，雙方即可能另覓共同政治基礎， 或形成「九二共識」與「九二函電」相容並稱的態勢。
而北京國台辦的首次回應則立即重申九二共識。後來， 九二共識又經北京兩會及歐習會強調，因此，九二共識在五二○ 後是否仍然存在，當然至關重大。
馬英九的憲法論述及兩岸政策卻是蔡英文難以翻轉的國家生存戰略。 由於兩岸情勢的消長，台獨已無可能實現，若不持守「一中各表」 的中華民國憲法，即無以因應兩岸關係之消長。所以， 蔡英文不必認為馬英九「框限」了她；其實， 她應視馬英九為她開出了道路。 而馬英九的憲法論述及兩岸政策只消歸納成八個字：九二共識， 一中各表。
只要有新南向政策，毀了ＥＣＦＡ亦無不可。但是， 台灣若少了中國大陸這塊拼圖，絕無可能完成全球化。事實上， 兩岸關係絕不只是經濟關係而已；兩岸一旦交惡， 必將抽動台灣的每一條神經，包括政治內鬥、外交烽火、社會撕裂， 也極可能傷及ＴＰＰ及南向政策。所以說，兩岸關係是一切的根源。
九二共識就是一髮，這一髮懸繫了整個兩岸關係， 而兩岸關係則是台灣一切政經變數的根源。 當蔡英文拿著剪刀作勢要剪斷一髮之時，必須給所有台灣人、 給民進黨和給她自己說出一個理由。
她就應當甩掉「九二共識／一中各表」。但她若說「維持現狀」「 在中華民國現行憲政體制下，推動兩岸關係」，則有何理由否定「 九二共識／一中各表」？蔡英文要陷於自相矛盾嗎？ 何況北京多次說：「可用她自己的方式表述」、「 只要說出自己憲法規定的兩岸同屬一個中國即可」，這不就是「 一中各表」？