China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 1, 2016
Executive Summary: The Hung Xi Summit offered little in the way of flash. But the two sides are currently mired in cold confrontation. Increased cross-Strait exchanges and communications are beneficial for people on both sides of the Strait. Hung Hsiu-chu proposed a path that would advance cross-Strait peace. Xi Jinping expressed the desire for peace. That was his bottom line. This made Mainland strategy for Taiwan clearer, and was the greatest achievement of the Hung Xi Summit.
Full Text Below:
The Hung Xi summit will affect trilateral relations among the blue, green, and red camps. Dissent has emerged from the blue camp, and ridicule from the green camp. Public statements issued by Hung Hsiu-chu and Xi Jinping suggest that the two sides followed the anticipated script, thereby completing a routine talk between the KMT and the CCP. But the Kuomintang has lost power for the first time. Cross-Strait relations remain uncertain. As a result the very first exchange between Hung and Xi carries with it unusual significance.
The two sides are seeking stability. The Hung Xi Summit was indeed short of flash. That was no surprise. But that does not mean its impact on cross-Strait relations and Taiwan's political evolution was insignificant. In fact, the public pronouncements issued by the two parties during the Hung Xi Summit contain a number of important messages.
Let us look at where Hung and Xi agree. The two sides agreed on four specific points. First, they agreed on the 1992 Consensus. Xi Jinping mentioned it three times. Hung Hsiu-chu also mentioned it three times. One time she referred to “the consensus reached in 1992". The second point of agreement concerned peace. Hung Hsiu-chu mentioned "peace" seven times. Xi Jinping mentioned peace eight times. The third point of agreement concerns opposition to Taiwan independence. Xi Jinping mentioned it two times, both after mentioning the 1992 Consensus. Hung Hsiu-chu mentioned it two times as well. The only difference was that she spoke of "opposing the Taiwan independence party platform", and "eliminating the dangerous turbulence caused by Taiwan independence separatism".
The fourth point of agreement was rather special, and differed from the first three points of agreement. The two party leaders refrained from mentioning "reunification". This amounted to passive agreement.
These four points of agreement can be further interpreted from the perspective of the KMT, the DPP, and the CCP. Take the case of the KMT. Hung Hsiu-chu did not commit any verbal gaffes. The 1992 Consensus remained the greatest point of agreement for the two sides. The two sides' affirmations of "peace" and "opposition to Taiwan independence" echoed the “no use of force” and “no Taiwan independence” in Ma Ying-jeou's Three Noes policy. Neither side elaborated on reunification, the fourth point of agreement. They refrained from mentioning Ma Ying-jeou's “no reunification”. Therefore the 1992 Consensus and Ma's Three Noes were unaffected. The KMT, including Ma Ying-jeou and Wu Den-yih, were fearful that Hung Hsiu-chu's views on reunification would undermine the KMT's election prospects. They can now relax.
Did Hung Hsiu-chu mention “one China, different interpretations”? As this newspaper's past editorials have repeatedly noted, during past KMT CCP party leader meetings, even the Ma Xi Summit, the KMT never demanded any public affirmation of “one China, different interpretations”. Demanding that Hung Hsiu-chu make such an affirmation was clearly unfair.
In fact Hung did more to reaffirm “one China, different interpretations” than her predecessors. She spoke of "seeking agreement on the one China principle, while exercising wisdom regarding different interpretations of one China”. She was already half a step ahead.
For the DPP, Xi Jinping's message was clear. For the CCP, the 1992 Consensus and opposition to Taiwan independence are the bedrock foundation for cross-Strait relations. If the DPP wishes to unfreeze cross-Strait relations, it cannot evade these two issues. It must revise or improve its position on the 1992 Consensus. It must at a cross-Strait stance that the Mainland can live with, no matter how distasteful. Only that will prevent the further deterioration of cross-Strait relations. Only that can reduce friction between the DPP and the CCP. That may not be easy for Tsai Ing-wen, but it is not impossible. At least it is easier than dealing directly with the holy relic known as the Taiwan Independence Party Platform.
Alas, Tsai Wen-wen's poll numbers continue to fall. Therefore it is unlikely that she will make any breakthroughs regarding the 1992 Consensus or Taiwan Independence Party Platform, at least in the foreseeable future. This means that cross-Strait relations will continue to spiral downward. This is a concern for Tsai Ying-wen. It is also a danger to Taiwan's growth.
For the CCP, the Hung Xi Summit was a “paint by the numbers” affair. First, the Mainland made certain that the public on Taiwan knows where it stands. The Mainland has neither tightened nor loosened its cross-Strait stand. Second, the Mainland was probably reluctant to let Hung Hsiu-chu's visit add too many variables that would lead to uncertainty within her party and the rest of Taiwan. Third, the Mainland is probably aware of the covert jockeying for position leading up to next year's KMT party chairmanship election. It did not want closer or more distant relations resulting from Hung Hsiu-chu's visit to be interpreted as CCP support or opposition to Hung's candidacy.
During the Hung Xi Summit, Hung Hsiu-chu advanced the possibility of a peace agreement. Among the five shared visions, this was the one with the highest profile. Ma Ying-jeou persistently avoided mention of it during his eight-year term of office. Hung Hsiu-chu advanced the issue of a peace agreement for the very first time during the talks. But the Mainland side downplayed the issue. That was unfortunate. The notion of a peace agreement has been severely stigmatized on Taiwan in recent years. But in fact a peace agreement is worth debating and can withstand scrutiny.
Cross-Strait peace must be formalized. But the notion of a peace agreement has long been stigmatized, mainly because the KMT is afraid to turn it into a political issue. It is afraid that it is untenahble. A positive response from the Mainland would encourage debate and discussion on Taiwan.
The Hung Xi Summit offered little in the way of flash. But the two sides are currently mired in cold confrontation. Increased cross-Strait exchanges and communications are beneficial for people on both sides of the Strait. Hung Hsiu-chu proposed a path that would advance cross-Strait peace. Xi Jinping expressed the desire for peace. That was his bottom line. This made Mainland strategy for Taiwan clearer, and was the greatest achievement of the Hung Xi Summit.
2016/11/1 下午 10:42:03 主筆室