The DPP Should Encourage Beijing to Adopt One China, Different Interpretations
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 21, 2011
Yesterday, during the last party primary debate, Tsai Ing-wen finally unveiled her Mainland policy. The result was disappointing. As usual, she resorted to her strong suit -- flowery but empty emotional rhetoric. But when she addressed policy, her rhetoric was either hollow or self-contradictory. This was especially true of her Mainland policy.
Tsai Ing-wen longer says that she does not recognize the 1992 Consensus. She says only that she will not allow herself to be trapped within its "historical framework." She said that both sides have previously repudiated the 1992 Consensus. She also said she did not know what the 1992 Consensus meant. The fact is authorities on both sides have no choice but to endorse the 1992 Consensus. The 1992 Consensus is the underlying basis for cross-Strait peace. In other words, authorities on the two sides have already escaped their "historical framework." Only Tsai Ing-wen remains trapped in an "historical framework." She remains trapped because in 2000 she prevented Chen Shui-bian from accepting the 1992 Consensus.
In fact, the "historical framework" no longer exists. Tsai Ing-wen is merely trapped within her own "Tsai Ing-wen framework." She is also trapped within the "two states theory" and "opposition to ECFA." These are all part of Tsai Ing-wen's own idiosyncratic framework. No one else is trapped within it.
The Democratic Progressive Party hopes to win the 2012 presidential election. It hopes to pacify the nation following the election. If so, it must establish a cross-Strait framework that transcends the DPP's past cross-Strait framework, and the KMT's current cross-Strait framework. In order to transcend the DPP's past cross-Strait framework, the DPP must reaffirm the Republic of China and renounce Taiwan independence. In order to transcend the KMT's current cross-Strait framework, the DPP must uphold the 1992 Consensus. It must do even more. It must encourage Beijing to publicly and actively implement "One China, Different Interpretations." This is how the DPP can liberate itself from its "historical framework."
The DPP repudiated the 1992 Consensus and One China, Different Interpretations. Its main reason for doing so, was that it refuses to recognize the Republic of China and its One China Constitution. The reason it refuses to recognize the Republic of China and its One China Constitution, is that it is attempting to engage in "backdoor listing." Basically it remains a prisoner of Taiwan independence.
But the DPP has another reason for refusing to recognize the 1992 Consensus. Beijing has yet to openly and actively adopt the One China, Different Interpretations position. Conversely, it is precisely because Beijing has yet to openly and actively adopt the One China, Different Interpretations position, that enables the DPP to continue repudiating the 1992 Consensus.
Suppose the DPP openly renounces Taiwan independence? Suppose it sincerely reaffirms support for the Republic of China, and ceases engaging in deceitful "backdoor listing?" It could then justifiably demand that Beijing openly and actively adopt the One China, Different Interpretations position. Doing so would allow the DPP to transcend its past framework. It would allow the DPP to transcend even the KMT's current framework, It would exert pressure on Beijing, and receive support from a majority of the public.
The 1992 Consensus is the premise and foundation for improving cross-Strait relations. If the DPP refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus, it cannot maintain peaceful cross-Strait relations. Therefore the DPP should take advantage of the leverage it offers. It should proclaim that it recognizes the 1992 Consensus. It should demand that One China, Different Interpretations be made part of the 1992 Consensus. If the 1992 Consensus includes One China, Different Interpreations, the Democratic Progressive Party should express its support. If the 1992 Consensus does not include One China, Different Interpretations, then the DPP can refuse to offer its support. This would be a legitimate political position. Beijing would probably respond reasonably. If so, most people would back the Democratic Progressive Party on this matter.
The 1992 Consensus is the premise and foundation for improving cross-Strait relations. But it has fallen into the gap between Taipei's One China, Different Interpretations position, and Beijing's Different Interpretations of One China position. The Ma administration has persuaded Beijing to refrain from openly repudiating One China, Different Interpretations. This is where the DPP can transcend the KMT. It can encourage Beijing to openly adopt the One China, Different Interpretations position. This would enable the DPP to gain the upper in its struggle with the KMT. It would enable the DPP to seize the initiative when dealing with Beijing.
On March 22, 2008, Ma Ying-jeou was elected president. Four days later, on March 26, Chairman Hu Jintao spoke to President George W. Bush on the Bush/Hu hotline. He said "[The two sides acknowledge that there is only one China, but have different definitions of what that One China is." This has been interpreted as One China, Different Interpretations. But in the Chinese language version of the Xinhua News Agency transcript, no such language appears. And Beijing has never mentioned it since. Three years later, on March 26 this year, Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi said: "Currently relations between the two sides are good. They embody the One China principle and the 1992 Consensus. The two sides have different interpretations of the meaning of One China, Nevertheless we are able to seek common ground, This is the essence of the 1992 Consensus." On its third anniversary, Wang Yi appears to have reintroduced the One China, Different Interpretations position on the Bush/Hu Hotline. Apparently Beijing knows that the 1992 Consensus must include One China, Different Interpretations. That is the only form of 1992 Consensus acceptable to the public on Taiwan.
Unless the DPP wants to precipitate another cross-Strait political conflagration, it cannot repudiate the 1992 Consensus. In the Democratic Progressive Party's struggle to avoid coercion, it has passively accepted the 1992 Consensus. It has also struggled to avoid the Ma adminstration or the Beijing authorities from making further progress with One China, Different Interpretations. To wit, Wang Yi's talk in March. The DPP cannot repudiate and reject the 1992 Consensus. But it can use it to gain leverage. It can raise the ante and improve its bargaining position by transcending One China, Different Interpretations.