Two States Theory Repudiates the 1992 Consensus and ECFAUnited Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
July 10, 2010
The cross-strait economic framework agreement (ECFA) has been signed. The DPP now faces a new political scenario. On the one hand, cross-Strait relations have progressed beyond the point of no return. Taiwan independence has become increasingly unlikely. On the other hand, it is too late for the DPP to call off its campaign to kill ECFA, and disassociate itself from Taiwan independence. In short, the DPP finds itself swimming against the tide, in diametric opposition to the larger currents of history.
The DPP's defeat in the 2008 presidential election led to Tsai Ing-wen's election as DPP chairman. The public and elements within the DPP, once entertained the illusion that the DPP would take advantage of this opportunity to reinvent itself, and get the Taiwan independence monkey off its back. But ECFA showed that the DPP is incapable of divorcing itself from the Taiwan independence movement. Tsai Ing-wen may be the person who finally dashes all hope that the DPP might remake itself. This is the effect ECFA has had on party politics on Taiwan. ECFA's importance should not be underestimated.
For the past two years, Tsai Ing-wen was the person the public hoped would transform the DPP. But as a result of ECFA, Tsai has backslid. She has adopted a scorched earth policy, and a hardline Taiwan independence posture. Any hope that the DPP might transform itself has been completely shattered. Actually, we should not be surprised. In fact, Tsai Ing-wen was the instigator of the "two states theory" during the Lee Teng-hui era, and the person responsible for the repudiation the 1992 Consensus during the Chen Shui-bian era. She was the main reason the cross-Strait policies of both the Lee and Chen regimes ran smack into a brick wall. But because Tsai Ing-wen was merely a staffer at the time, many believed that once she became party chairman she would change. She would help the DPP undergo a transformation. Tsai Ing-wen once said "The DPP is an opposition party with experience in governing." Some concluded that meant she could see the bigger picture, and would not revert to self-destructive policies of the Taiwan independence movement. ECFA however, has inspired the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen to revert to form. Tsai has totally blanked out the disastrous consequences her "two states theory" and her refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus had on cross-Strait relations. If anything, the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen have intensified their opposition to ECFA.
During the Lee and Chen era, not one day passed without Taiwan independence political maneuveurs leading to confrontation. For example, in 2000, Lee Teng-hui stumped for the Lien-Siew ticket. In order to appeal to supporters of "softcore Taiwan independence," he introduced his "two states theory." A few days later however, he publicly stated that "the two states theory would not be incorporated into the Constitution." In 2004, Chen Shui-bian launched his "anti-missile referendum," which later morphed into a half-baked "missile purchase referendum." In 2006, Chen Shui-bian launched his "end reunification" drive. As a result, Washington demoted his status during transit, and Ah-Bian enacted his "Journey to Nowhere" farce. In 2008, Ah-Bian launched his "referendum to join the UN," only to be publicly condemned by George W. Bush, and labeled a "Taiwan independence element" by the US State Department. Eventually the DPP lost power. The DPP's Taiwan independence tactics exhibit a common pattern. First, they experience a power crisis. Then they escalate their Taiwan independence rhetoric, digging themselves in deeper and deeper, to where they can no longer to turn back, can no longer brake, and wind up driving headlong into a wall.
The DPP's current tactics have followed the same pattern. At first they are unsure about how they should express opposition to ECFA. Tsai Ying-wen loses the debate over ECFA. Now she faces a power crisis. So she escalates her anti-ECFA rhetoric. She refers to the Republic of China as a "government in exile." She characterizes ECFA as a "duet between the KMT and the CCP," and a "class struggle between the rich and poor." She demonizes ECFA. But ECFA is signed, and when its contents are announced, the DPP's demonization campaign backfires. By now however, it is too late to turn back, it is too late to apply the brakes. Therefore they insist that ECFA is "not a treaty," they demand a "line item review," and begin scorched earth resistance tactics. They simultaneously launch a referendum campaign, sinking deeper and deeper in their own quagmire. They find themselves riding a tiger, and unable to get off. They find themselves swimming against the tide, unable to repudiate their anti-ECFA stance in order to win the five cities elections. They may not even be able to reverse their anti-ECFA stance for the 2012 presidential election. They may even find themselves forced to invoke Article XVI and proclaim that ECFA is invalid. The DPP and Tsai Ing-wen are now stuck to their own anti-ECFA tar baby. Under the circumstances, how can the DPP possibility undergo transformation?
Tsai Ing-wen takes a back seat to no one in the DPP when it comes to cross-Strait policy. After all, during her two terms in the Lee and Chen regimes, she racked up considerable hands-on experience in cross-Strait policy. Some people concluded that the tragic consequences of her two states theory" and repudiation of the 1992 Consensus gave Tsai Ing-wen all the more reason to transform the DPP. After all, she clearly knew Taiwan independence was a dead end. Her hands-on experience was painful and unforgettable. When Tsai Ing-wen was first elected party chairman, some of her words and deeds seemed to suggest a desire to transform the party. Who knew the ECFA controversy, followed by a power struggle within the DPP over the party's future, would persuade in Tsai Ing-wen to revert to the DPP's Taiwan independence, scorched earth path?
Within a single lifetime, Tsai Ying-wen led Taiwan to ruin three times. This may end up being Tsai Ing-wen's epitaph. Her "two states theory" spelled the end of the Lee Teng-hui regime. Her repudiation of the 1992 Consensus spelled the end of the Chen Shui-bian regime. Tsai Ing-wen is now holding high the anti-ECFA banner. She may enable the DPP to win the five cities elections. She may even enable the DPP to win the 2012 presidential election. But she cannot prevent Taiwan from running head on into a brick wall. Moreover, the consequences will be far more serious than the consequences of her "two-states theory" and her repudiation of the 1992 Consensus.
Tsai Ying-wen has erred, once, twice, thrice. Why is she unable to learn from her mistakes?