United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 17, 2016
Executive Summary: The Tsai government must come to the realization that internally directed Taiwan independence requires an internally directed solution. Without such an understanding, the contradiction between "We will not yield under pressure", and "We will not return to the old path of confrontation", will continue to undermine the credibility of her administration. Taiwan independence forces will run rampant. Centrist voters will be disillusioned. Problems will be harder to solve
Full Text Below:
Is Taiwan independence a problem that can be resolved by means of international and cross-Strait politics? If not, then it must be resolved by means of internal politics within Taiwan. The Tsai government must not divide Taiwan internally, while denying it solution externally. Internal problems require internal solutions.
Taiwan independence was once regarded as an external problem. It was seen as a breakthrough that could solve the nation's external problems. The belief was that severing Taiwan's connection to the Mainland would enable it to become a new and independent nation on the international scene.
But the cross-Strait and international situation has changed. Taiwan independence is clearly impossible. It is no longer an external problem. It has become an internal problem. In other words, Taiwan independence has become a purely internal political controversy inside Taiwan. It has even been reduced to the level of an internal struggle within the green camp, one concerning the green camp's political path and who will hold power. Taiwan independence is a unsolved problem, because internal struggles within the green camp have remained unsolved.
Editorials published by this newspaper have said that “externally directed Taiwan independence”, or "Taiwan independence directed against forces outside of Taiwan”, has waned, while “internally directed Taiwan independence", or “Taiwan independence that tears Taiwan apart from within”, persists. These are the two forms that Taiwan independence takes.
In her National Day address, President Tsai said, "We will not return to the old path of confrontation." This is consistent with Su Tseng-chang's declaration that, "We will not return to the old ways of Taiwan independence." President Tsai also pledged to conduct cross-Strait relations “in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of China and the Regulations Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the People of the Mainland China Area”. These remarks show that President Tsai realizes externally directed Taiwan independence has lost its appeal.
On the other hand, President Tsai failed to mention the 1992 Consensus, and instead stressed that, "We will not yield under pressure." This was intended to mollify Taiwan independence forces. It shows that internally directed Taiwan independence continues to hold the Tsai government hostage.
The Tsai government's current dilemma reveals that externally directed Taiwan independence has subsided, but internally directed Taiwan independence persists. Therefore, if the Tsai government cannot promote externally directed Taiwan independence, it must defang internally directed Taiwan independence.
The Tsai government is clearly being held hostage by the Taiwan independence camp. Taiwan independence forces, both abroad and within Taiwan, have shrunk dramatically. Nevertheless they continue to exert a major impact on Taiwan's politics. Therefore, if the Tsai government wants to resolve the problem of Taiwan independence, it must find a new base of support. It must liberate itself from Taiwan independence captivity. It must appeal to pale green voters, pale blue voters, and swing voters. It must change its base of support, enabling it to change its cross-Strait policy and rhetoric.
During President Tsai's inaugural address and National Day address, what Tsai actually said was the following: In fact I have accepted everything that [Beijing wants]. I will not renege on my commitments. I will not retract my goodwill gestures. I will not return to the old ways of confrontation. But because I remain fettered by Taiwan independence forces, I will not change my mind, and I cannot utter the words "1992 Consensus". Beijing's view is this: Since you have accepted all of our demands, and since you have no intention of reneging on your promises, of retracting your goodwill gestures, or returning to the old ways of confrontation, why do you refuse to utter the words "1992 Consensus"? Beijing knows that Tsai's refusal to utter these two words show that she has yet to liberate herself from Taiwan independence captivity. They know that if she is willing to utter the words "1992 Consensus", then she is willing to fight.
Anyone can see that President Tsai's statement, "We will not yield under pressure", flatly contradicts her other statement, "We will not return to the old path of confrontation". Since President Tsai has vowed not to return to the old path of confrontation, what reason does she have for not accepting the 1992 Consensus and peaceful cross-Strait relations? When President Tsai vows that she "will not yield under pressure", it is a sure sign that feels obligated to “confront” the 1992 Consensus. The Tsai government knows that externally directed Taiwan independence is no longer feasible. But she remains fettered by internally directed Taiwan independence. Beijing understands this. Therefore, Beijing considers Tsai's willingness or unwillingness to utter the words "1992 Consensus" an indicator of whether she remains a captive of Taiwan independence forces.
President Tsai's inaugural address and National Day address show that externally directed Taiwan independence has retreated, but internally directed Taiwan independence persists. Therefore the Tsai government cannot count on help from the outside world. Its only solution is to change its base of support. Only then can it break free of interference from Taiwan independence forces.
The Tsai government must come to the realization that internally directed Taiwan independence requires an internally directed solution. Without such an understanding, the contradiction between "We will not yield under pressure", and "We will not return to the old path of confrontation", will continue to undermine the credibility of her administration. Taiwan independence forces will run rampant. Centrist voters will be disillusioned. Problems will be harder to solve