Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Need for New and Unconventional Cross-Strait Policy

No Need for New and Unconventional Cross-Strait Policy
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
April 1, 2011

Either Tsai Ing-wen or Su Tseng-chang will represent the DPP in the 2012 presidential election. The two candidates made glowing promises during the party primaries. But neither adequately addressed cross-Strait policy. As a result, the two candidates' primary platforms were all flash and no substance.

The primary platforms issued by Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen were similar to those issued by presidential candidates all over the world. Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen's rhetoric about students studying under dim lanterns, and college girls afraid of losing their jobs could easily have been incorporated into the campaign speeches of any nation's presidential candidate, But such rhetoric is clearly inadequate for a candidate seeking the Republic of China presidency. Failure to address cross-Strait policy reduces the entire speech to empty boasting.

Tsai Ing-wen's primary platform barely mentioned cross-Strait policy. Su Tseng-chang mentioned it merely in passing. He said "Cross-Strait policy need not be new and unconventional." Tsai Ing-wen spoke of "peace with differences, peace while seeking commonalities." Su Tseng-chang's "Survival above all, democracy as a foundation" did not appear in his primary platform. Clearly the two candidates were deliberately avoiding, even hiding, from cross-Strait issues. This is the DPP's Achilles Heel. This is also Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen's political Achilles Heel.

Cross-Strait issues are admittedly not the sum total of the ROC's political and economic problems. But they are undoubtedly its most important component. For the ROC, cross-Strait policy must be addressed. Otherwise it is impossible to speak about a vision for the future. If no remedies can be found for cross-Strait ills, then no remedies will be found for our political and economic ills. The Ma administration has laid out its cross-Strait policy, including ECFA. The DPP on the other hand, has failed to offer any comprehensive or substantial proposals in its stead. It even averred that "If elected, it would continue the cross-Strait policy of the previous administration." At the same time, it persists in hurling vague allegations about "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan." Tsai Ing-wen even made a fuss about the headstones and funerary urns of candidates' ancestors. On one side of her mouth, she condemned the incumbent for "pandering to [Mainland] China" and "selling out Taiwan." On the other side of her mouth she assured us that "If elected, we will continue the cross-Strait policy of the previous administration." How can she possibly win on a platform like this? And if elected, how could she possibly govern the nation?

It is now over 20 years since martial law was lifted. The Democratic Progressive Party underwent a considerable period during which it experimented with all manner of "new and unconventional" cross-Strait policies. These include the Resolution on Taiwan's Future, the rectification of names, one nation on each side, the Second Republic, de-Sinicization, the referendum to join the UN, the resolution for a normal nation, and other Taiwan independence oriented proposals. These amounted to a history of the DPP's cross-Strait relations counterproposals. Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen know perfectly well that these policies are utterly infeasible. But Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen are running for elective office. On the one hand, they cannot admit their proposals are infeasible. Doing so would mean losing the support of Green Camp zealots. On the other hand, they cannot avoid the realization that their proposals are infeasible. Otherwise, why would they assure us that "If elected, we will continue the cross-Strait policy of the preceding administration?"

The DPP is trapped within a "now you see it, now you don't, now you see it again" paradox. Su Tseng-chang says "Cross-Strait policy need not be new and unconventional." He says this because the DPP's new and unconventional proposals have all turned out to be infeasible. He says this because the DPP has run out of new and unconventional proposals to offer.

Almost every one of the Democratic Progressive Party's new and unconventional cross-Strait policy proposals were rooted in Taiwan independence thought. The fundamental premise of Taiwan independence thought has long been "Resistance against the PRC necessitates the overthrow of the ROC." This eventually degenerated into "Resistance against the ROC equals resistance against the PRC." But the domestic and international situation has changed. Gradually the public is seeing things more clearly. It realizes that if it overthrows the ROC, it will be even more difficult to resist the PRC. Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen are well aware of this fact. That is why they realize there is no room for "new and unconventional" proposals.

Cross-Strait policy need not be new and unconventional. We have long felt this way. We need only return to the constitutional framework of the Republic of China. Future cross-Strait relations will be determined in accordance with the ROC Constitution. The constitutional process must be a democratic process. This naturally implies that "Taiwan's future must be decided by 23 million people." If we can reach such a consenus, we can return to the constitution. We need not concoct anything new and unconventional.

Su Tseng-chang said "Cross-Strait policy need not be new and unconventional." Tsai Ing-wen meanwhile, avoided the question altogether, This shows that the Democratic Progressive Party has reached the end of its rope. It has nothing new or unconventional to offer. Hsu Hsing-liang has entered the party primaries, Compared to Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen, he comes across as "new and unconventional." But in fact Hsu is merely returning to the mainstream. Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ing-wen are unable to offer anything "new and unconventional" in cross-Strait policy, Yet they want to run for ROC president. As Annette Lu asked of the DPP: Are you ready? Can you be counted on? Do you have the ability?

2011.04.01 03:46 am










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