Deciphering Tsai Ing-wen's Gobbledygook
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
February 24, 2011
Yesterday Tsai Ing-wen presided over the opening ceremony of a think tank. Many people were eager to hear her views on cross-Strait policy. But what she said left them in an impenetrable fog.
Tsai Ing-wen said that the KMT is moving toward "peace and reunification," and toward "peace and inevitable reunification." She said the DPP advocates "peace and differentiation," and "peace while seeking differentiation." Tsai Ing-wen was setting herself in opposition to the KMT. Logically speaking therefore, she should have said that she advocated "peace without reunification." She said others advocated "peace and reunification." But she lacked the guts to say that she advocated "peace without reunification." Instead, she said that she advocated "peace and differentiation." What is she doing, other than playing evasive word games?
Ma Ying-jeou has never advocated "peace and reunification," and "peace and inevitable reunification." These are charges leveled against him by Tsai Ing-wen. Ma Ying-jeou advocates "no [immediate] reunification, no independence, and no use of force." He loudly proclaimed "no reunification." Tsai Ing-wen, on the other hand, indulged in tongue twisting word games, and spoke of "peace and differentiation." She was afraid to say "peace without reunification." Tsai Ing-wen may find it difficult to say "no independence," the way Ma Ying-jeou did. But why was she afraid to say "no reunification?" What is she evading? What is she hiding?
Tsai Ing-wen has often played the "strategic vision" card. In April of 2010, during the "Two Ying's Debate," she played the "strategic vision" card. She argued that ECFA would cost the United States its strategic regional advantage. Instead, the US praised ECFA to the skies. She claimed that Taipei/Washington relations and cross-Strait relations were the best they have ever been. Professor Tsai appears oblivious about her own limitations. Once again, she has played her "strategic vision" card. She said "Taiwan must be positioned within the international framework. Only by giving political consideration to future relationships can we ensure the necessary strategic depth."
What is this, if not incomprehensible gobbledygook? How can such arguments unseat Ma Ying-jeou's cross-Strait policy? Does the Ma administration's cross-Strait policy not position the Republic of China within the international framework? Globalization and the rise of Mainland China have heavily skewed the two sides' economic status, Under Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian, the Taiwan independence movement rushed headlong into a brick wall. Attitudes regarding the two sides have changed on Taiwan. Otherwise, how could the two sides have reached a consensus on "peaceful development?" How could they have signed ECFA? What is all this, if not "positioning Taiwan within the international framework?" What is all this, if not the ensuring of "strategic depth?" In fact, Tsai Ing-wen's pretensions of "strategic vision" were discredited during the Two Ying's Debate. Now all we see, is the emptiness of her rhetoric.
Tsai Ing-wen criticized Ma Ying-jeou's cross-Strait policy. She said the Ma administration had fallen into "a trap set by [Mainland] China." But she did not say that Beijing had also fallen into a "no [immediate] reunification, no independence, and no use of force" trap set by Ma Ying-jeou. Tsai Ing-wen condemned the Ma administration for its "Chinese identity and Chinese core values." But she did not say that the Ma administration's 1992 Consensus and One China, Different Interpretations reaffirm the Republic of China and the core values of the Republic of China. Tsai Ing-wen is the one who is trapped within a fallacy. She mistakenly equates opposition to the Peoples Republic of China wtih opposition to the Republic of China. That is both sad and ridiculous.
Frank Hsieh advocates an "Overlapping Consensus on the Constitution" and "One Constitution, Different Interpretations." His proposals may be considered esoteric. But it is one way of looking at things. Su Tseng-chang advocates "survival as the highest value," and "democracy as the foundation." It too, is empty rhetoric, But at least he knows enough to conceal the fact. He does not attempt to spin it as evidence of "strategic vision." By contrast, Tsai Ing-wen, who has been playing word games for years, could offer only an incomprehensible "peace and differentiation," and "peace while seeking differentiation." As a result, those who expected the most from her, are the ones most deeply disappointed.
Tsai Ing-wen should let the public know what she favors and opposes vis a vis cross-Strait relations. She once advocated the two states theory. What about now? She once objected to the 1992 Consensus and ECFA. What about now? Beijing says that opposition to Taiwan independence and adherence to the 1992 Consensus are prerequisites for cross-Strait exchanges and interaction. What about Tsai Ing-wen? The Ma administration advocates "no [immediate] reunification, no independence, and no use of force." It upholds the 1992 Consensus, and One China, Different Interpretations. What about Tsai Ing-wen? Or, as a recent editorial asked, Tsai Ing-wen once led bloody street protests against Chen Yunlin. If the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, will it agree to let him visit?
National identity, constitutional interpretation, and cross-Strait policy are major issues. The Democratic Progressive Party must provide the public with a thorough accounting of its positions on these issues, before the 2012 presidential election. Tsai Ing-wen is attempting to muddle through by playing word games with "peace with differentiation" and "peace while seeking differentiation." This is irresponsible, dishonest, incompetent, or all three.
Yesterday Tsai Ing-wen announced this incomprehensible policy. She failed even to mention her promise to "continue the cross-Strait policy of the previous administration in the event she is elected." That is how irresponsible she has been. She has become a great disappointment to many voters. We feel compelled to ask Tsai Ing-wen, "Are even you satisfied with your own performance?"