DPP Gambling that Hu Jintao Will Not Shred Cross-Strait Agreements
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 11, 2011
Joseph Wu was Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council during the Chen Shui-bian administration. Wu has issued yet another shocking statement. A while back he said that if the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power and existing cross-Strait communications channels are terminated, the government can simply resort to the "Macao model." More recently he said that if the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, Mainland China cannot afford to shred the agreements reached by the two sides. Doing so would be an admission that Hu Jintao's Taiwan policy was a complete and utter failure. "They (the Beijing authorities) are not prepared accept this characterization of President Hu Jintao's historical legacy."
Joseph Wu advanced this perspective while answering reporters' questions. "Suppose the Democratic Progressive Party returned to power but refused to accept the 1992 Consensus?" a reporter asked him. "Would cross-Strait agreements have to start over from the beginning?" Joseph Wu replied that for the time being, the question cannot be answered. He then offered the opinion previously mentioned, saying that it was "based on a shared vision of how to handle cross-Strait relations."
Joseph Wu is clearly still evading the question of whether, in the event it returned to power, the Democratic Progressive Party would accept the 1992 Consensus. That is why Wu said that for the time being, the question cannot be answered. But Joseph Wu thn implied that even if the DPP refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus, the Hu Jintao regime would not dare terminate existing agreements.
In January, ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin said, "The Mainland's economic policy toward Taiwan has political preconditions. If one day opposition to Taiwan independence vanishes, if the 1992 Consensus vanishes, then everything may be up for reconsideration." Since then, the Beijing authorities have reiterated their view that the "1992 Consensus is the prerequisite and the basis for peaceful development." Recently when Zheng Lizhong, Vice President of ARATS visited Taiwan, he said "Cross-Strait exchanges are based entirely upon the 1992 Consensus."
Joseph Wu however, said that if the DPP returns to power, it can refuse to accept the 1992 Consensus. Hu Jintao will not tear up the fifteen agreements currently in force, including ECFA. Wu said his conclusion was based "a shared vision of how to handle cross-Strait relations." This may come as a surprise to many, including leaders in Beijing.
Another surprising "shared vision" is Wu's assumption that in the event the Democratic Progressive Party refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus, threatening to terminate existing agreements are the only strategic and tactical options for Beijing. First of all, Beijing has repeatedly linked the 1992 Consensus to "peaceful development." When the time comes, Beijing cannot fail to take action. Otherwise President Hu Jintao's "historical legacy" would be called in question. A repudiation of the 1992 Consensus by the DPP would never pass a hawks vs. doves reality test. Beijing would conclude that it must take tough action to bring the DPP back in line. If Beijing and the DPP government break off talks over the 1992 Consensus, Beijing can say, "You betrayed my trust. I can't be blamed for reacting harshly." Beijing could halt the flow of Mainland tourists to Taiwan, or discontinue direct cross-Strait flights. As the public on Taiwan bickers over who is to blame -- the DPP government or the Beijing authorities -- the DPP will not emerge unscathed. If the DPP returns to power, it many not even honor existing agreements such as ECFA. Tsai Ing-wen initially declared that the government would first hold a referendum. More recently, the Democratic Progressive Party said it would have to re-evaluate any such agreements. We don't even know whether the DPP will honor existing agreements. So why worry about Hu Jintao?
Suppose the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, but refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus. It will present Beijing with an ideal opportunity to take Taipei hostage. Beijing may gain a double advantage. It may be able to create political and economic chaos on Taiwan, and force the DPP government to yield ground. This is probably the real balance Hu Jintao will strike between a "reality test" and an "historical legacy." That is why Mainland analysts have long said that if the Democratic Progressive Party refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus, it will present Beijing with a "new opportunity," strategically and tactically. Question: If the DPP positions its own head on Beijing's chopping block, will Beijing pass up the opportunity?
What is the 1992 Consensus? Basically it is a promise by the leadership of the Republic of China to defend the Republic of China and uphold its "One China Constitution." It is a promise not to adopt "de jure Taiwan independence." As for the definition of "China," authorities on both sides agreed to disagree. They agree to seek common ground while allowing for differences. The DPP refuses to accept this position. In cross-Strait relations, it refuses to fight for "One China, Different Intepretations." Therefore what right does it have to seek the Presidency of the Republic of China?
Joseph Wu's remarks reveal that DPP repudiation of the 1992 Consensus is based on the belief that Hu Jintao would be reluctant to shred existing agreements. When Tsai Ing-wen visited the UK, she said "Taiwan can make good use of [Mainland] China." But clearly Joseph Wu is talking about "playing with [Mainland] China." Such irrational behavior could have devastating consequences. Presumably that is a "shared vision" among anyone with a shred of common sense.
In 2005, DPP elder Lin Yi-hsiung criticized the Chen regime's Mainland policy. He said that "When small states interact with large states, the prerequisite is good faith. If political leaders imagine they can engage in deceit and political intrigue while Interacting with large states, in the end they will be caught in the large state's web. They will effectively commit suicide."
The Democratic Progressive Party refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus. Tsai Ing-wen is currently in the UK, proclaiming a desire to bolster cross-Strait economic and trade ties. Is this "making good use of [Mainland] China?" Or is it "playing with [Mainland] China?"