Joseph Wu Waylays Tsai Ing-wen
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 10, 2011
During the Democratic Progressive Party presidential primary, Joseph Wu said "Tsai Ing-wen's cross-Strait policy must not be made too explicit. If it is made too explicit, its many problems will be exposed, People will attack it as infeasible. The real point will be lost in the shuffle."
Who knew that Joseph Wu, during his visit to the US, would be the person who makes the DPP's cross-Strait policy "too explicit." Who knew that his remarks would be the ones that invited attacks? Who knew that his attackers would include DPP leaders and Tsai Ing-wen?
While he was in Washington Joseph Wu said that if Tsai Ing-wen was elected president, she would not accept the 1992 Consensus. He said however, that if negotiations between the SEF and ARATS were interrupted, Tsai Ing-wen could fall back on the Macau model. Tsai Ing-wen said that Joseph Wu's too explicit remarks did not represent the views of the DPP.
Actually Joseph Wu shares Tsai Ing-wen's views on at least one issue. On one issue at least, Wu speaks for Tsai Ing-wen. Joseph Wu said that if Tsai Ing-wen is elected, she will not accept the 1992 Consensus. On this point at least, Tsai Ing-wen has long been consistent.
Joseph Wu said that if Tsai assumes office she will not accept the 1992 Consensus. In that case, Beijing might break off consultations between SEF and ARATS. Tsai Ing-wen must concede this point. She can hardly argue otherwise. In fact, if Tsai refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus, not only could consultations between SEF and ARATS run aground, so could ECFA. A cross-Strait diplomatic war could break out. Mainland tourists could stop coming. Mutual legal assistance could end. Direct cross-Strait flights could be grounded. These are all possibilities. Therefore Tsai Ing-wen cannot refute Joseph Wu's prediction. Consultations between the SEF and ARATS could be terminated. Nor can Tsai Ing-wen deny that her refusal to accept the 1992 Consensus will unavoidably have political and economic consequences. Her statement that Joseph Wu does not speak on her behalf is mere subterfuge. Joseph Wu pointed out that her refusal to accept the 1992 Consensus could provoke a major change in the cross-Strait situation. On these points, he differs not with Tsai Ing-wen. She cannot say this does not represent the DPP's position.
Tsai and Wu differ only on one point. Joseph Wu proposed using the Macau model as an alternative. Once the 1992 Consensus has been repudiated, he suggested "association to association" and "industry to industry" negotiations. He suggested using these associations and industries as buffers. Joseph Wu attempts to be realistic. One cannot say that when the time comes one will actually break off cross-Strait negotiations. One must always have a viable alternative. Wu believes that viable alternative is the Macau model. But falling back on the Macau model would be akin to plucking cross-Strait negotiations out of the Internet era, from the level of cloud computing, and dropping it back into the era of the Semaphore and Morse code.
Sure enough, Joseph Wu's explicit Macau model made its many problems equally explicit. The most serious problem made explicit, is that the DPP lacks a proposal of its own. It has no solutions to offer. Besides, how can Tsai Ing-wen admit that when the DPP was in power, its coping mechanism was the Macau model? Would Beijing accept the Macau model? Tsai Ing-wen knows that is wishful thinking. Beijing would accuse her of bad faith, and disown responsibility for the consequences.
Therefore Tsai Ing-wen must come forward and attack Joseph Wu. She must declare that Wu did not take part in DPP deliberations over [Mainland] China policy. She must declare that his remarks did not represent the DPP. Tsai Ing-wen essentially admitted that alternatives to the Macau model are infeasible. Joseph Wu's prophecy, quoted in the first paragraph of this article, has already been fulfilled. The only surprise was that those who stepped forward to attack Joseph Wu's too explicit rhetoric, were DPP leaders and Tsai Ing-wen herself.
In sum, Tsai Ing-wen must concede that Joseph Wu is right on two points. The first is that if elected president, she will not accept the 1992 Consensus. The second is that if she refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus, she will provoke major changes in the political and economic situation. Therefore, Tsai and Wu differ on only one point. Wu proposes the Macau model as a response. Tsai Ing-wen however, disagrees. The next question should be obvious. If Tsai Ing-wen believes that the Macau model is infeasible, what tricks does she have up her sleeve?
Tsai Ing-wen must offer a more explicit cross-Strait policy. Joseph Wu's little interlude has made that clear. Tsai Ing-wen can no longer bob and weave. She can no longer refuse to accept the 1992 Consensus. She can no longer refuse to face the consequences of a change in the cross-Strait political and economic situation. She can no longer refuse to offer a response. Refusal to offer a response is not the action of a rational and responsible presidential candidate.
The cross-Strait peace and development framework of the past three years is predicated upon the 1992 Consensus. The DPP argues that this is merely the KMT and CCP's one-sided perception. Tsai Ing-wen says that if she wins next year's presidential election, she will maintain an open and pragmatic attitude toward cross-Strait exchanges. But she will not accept the 1992 Consensus, and she disdains the Macau model. Furthermore, she has joined Chen Shui-bian and Lee Teng-hui's Taiwan independence chorus. What is this, other than "President Tsai's" own one-sided [Mainland] China policy?