United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 12, 2016
Executive Summary: Tsai must deal with cross-Strait relations. Otherwise one can forget the alarming rhetoric about “the earth moving and the mountains shaking”. Even a hiccup like the WHA will everyone on Taiwan on edge, and set the blue and green camps at each others' throats. Tsai's May 20 bright beginning could well be darkened by just these cross-Strait uncertainties. How can she possibly accomplish anything under such conditions? Both Tsai Ing-wen's inaugural platform and national policy need urgent revision. One can only hope that Tsai administration officials have gotten the message.
Full Text Below:
The design of the stage for the May 20 inauguration ceremony has provoked all manner of criticism. Some have even said that conducting a Daoist ceremony to ward off evil is forbidden. The design team has decided to redesign the stage, a mere nine days before the ceremony.
It is difficult to decide how the stage for Tsai Ing-wen's inauguration ceremony should be redesigned at the moment. Actually, the design of the stage is hardly the only variable that remains up in the air. Seven days from now, Tsai Ing-wen will deliver her inaugural address, and reveal whether she has accepted the 1992 Consensus. Different parties hold different views about whether her address should be rewritten. The stage will be around for one short day. But the inaugural address will constitute the nation's policy blueprint. That will truly set the stage for her administration over the next four years.
Different parties have different views about the “design” of her speech. Tsai Ing-wen will attempt to approximate the core meaning of the 1992 Consensus as closely as possible. She has talked about "promoting cross-Strait relations under the current ROC constitutional framework". She has talked about "understanding and respecting the historical facts, and admitting that in 1992 the two cross-Strait associations held talks and reached an understanding". But she will not utter the words, "1992 Consensus". Therefore some observers hold the following opinions.
One. Tsai Ing-wen need not reject the term, “1992 Consensus”. After May 20, both the KMT and CCP will persist in using the term. The Tsai government will be hounded about it. It will struggle to cope with it. It will lose the opportunity to blaze a new cross-Strait policy path of Tsai's own design. Following the 2005 Lien Hu summit, even though Chen Shui-bian was in power, the cross-Strait agenda was set by the KMT and CCP.
Two. Tsai Ing-wen should seek instead to spin the meaning of the "1992 Consensus" in her own way. She should underscore the "one China, different interpretations" aspect of the 1992 Consensus. If Tsai cannot bring herself to say "one China, different interpretations" she can adopt Wang Yi's "constitutionalist" stance instead.
Three. Tsai will find it extremely difficult to utter the words "1992 Consensus". But she must concede that the 1992 Consensus is the term the two governments have used officially for the past eight years. She would prefer such alternatives as "1992 talks”, “1992 communique”, or “1992 case files”. She must however state clearly that when someone else says "1992 Consensus", she means "1992 communique". The two terms must refer to the same thing. Such an approach may leave her some room to maneuver.
Four. The above suggestions are temporary makeshifts. The Tsai government may concoct terms such as “1992 communique”, but it must eventually revert to "1992 Consensus". Tsai must not treat this matter lightly. If she loses the 1992 Consensus, and Beijing insists on it, she will never see the end of it. Tsai may substitute "1992 communique" for "1992 Consensus". For a time they might become an example of “one term, different expressions”. This would enable her to eventually revert to the "1992 Consensus". She would no longer need to shield herself from reality.
The Tsai administration has obdurately rejected the 1992 Consensus. But such a position is untenable. Take the WHA invitation. The Tsai administration swallowed it whole, including the one China clause in UN Resolution 2758, the basis for cross-Strait relations. The Tsai administration persists in repudiating the 1992 Consensus, and one China, different expressions. Yet it flagrantly contradicts itself in every way, constitutionally, diplomatically, and in cross-Strait relations. Why must the Tsai administration reject the term "1992 Consensus", which forms the strategic framework for "one China, different interpretations"? How long can it cling to such a willful attitude?
Cross-strait relations is the root of all national policy, and the 1992 Consensus is the root of cross-Strait relations. If the Tsai administration rejects the 1992 Consensus, the rejection will be interpreted as a desire to conduct cross-Strait political relations on the basis of the two states theory, and cross-Strait economic relations on the basis of the New Southern Strategy, and Lee Teng-hui's “be patient, avoid haste” policy. This would involve a complete about face, constitutionally, diplomatically, bilaterally, economically, culturally, and socially. If Taiwan's credibility is destroyed over the term "1992 Consensus", can Tsai Ing-wen survive politically?
Take a step back for a moment. Tsai must deal with cross-Strait relations. Otherwise one can forget the alarming rhetoric about “the earth moving and the mountains shaking”. Even a hiccup like the WHA will everyone on Taiwan on edge, and set the blue and green camps at each others' throats. Even now, the May 23 WHA affair remains unsettled. The June 26 Panama affair remains unresolved. Tsai's May 20 bright beginning could well be darkened by just these cross-Strait uncertainties. How can she not be exhausted by them? How can she possibly accomplish anything under such conditions?
Both Tsai Ing-wen's inaugural platform and national policy need urgent revision. One can only hope that Tsai administration officials have gotten the message.
三、蔡此際很難公開接受「九二共識」四字，卻必須設法明說：她並未否定「九二共識」已是兩岸政府正式使用八年且舉世皆曉的標題，但自己則寧可使用「九二會談／九二函電／九二文件 」等替代詞彙。不過，她必須說清楚：你們說「九二共識」，我說「九二文件 」，這兩個名詞所指涉的是同一主體。這樣的嫁接，就可能給未來留下了餘地。