Hu Six Points: Innovations and Regrets
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 9, 2012
Summary: Yesterday CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao reported to the 18th National Congress on political matters and cross-Strait relations. He gave an oral presentation and submitted a written report. Hu Jintao is retiring. His last political report incorporated the merits of the Hu Six Points in the written report, but Hu failed to read them aloud. Will his successor also leave behind empty words and historical regrets?
Full Text below:
Yesterday CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao reported to the 18th National Congress on political matters and cross-Strait relations. He gave an oral presentation and submitted a written report.
His oral report reiterated "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems." He stressed "the promotion the peaceful reunification per Jiang Zemin's Eight Point Proposal." But the written report, which was not read out loud, used milder more rational language. "I hope the two sides [of the Strait] can work together, explore cross-strait political relations under these special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified, make reasonable arrangements, discuss the creation of a military confidence building mechanism, and negotiate a cross-Strait peace agreement." Hu wrote, "Although the Mainland and Taiwan have yet to be reunified, the fact that the two sides belong to one China has never changed ... the two sides should continue to oppose Taiwan independence, and continue to affirm the 1992 consensus ... "
The oral presentation and the written report can be compared. The oral report is almost an exact copy of the report to the 17th National Congress. Most of the passages are word for word copies. The standard cited is the old 1995 Jiang Eight Points cross-Strait framework. It issued a coarse declaration. Its theme was "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems." The written report showed greater subtlety. It reiterated the Hu Six Points of 2008. Its themes were "Although the two sides have yet to be reunified, they remain parts of one China," and "[We must] explore cross-Strait political relations under these special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified."
For the moment it is hard to know why Hu Jintao issued two versions of the cross-Strait report, one oral, and one written. Perhaps Hu wanted to distinguish between a "rhetorical edition" and an "operational edition." Perhaps Hu wanted his Hu Six Points to defer to the Jiang Eight Points. Perhaps Hu merely wanted to save time. Perhaps it was akin to the March 26, 2008 Bush-Hu hotline conversation, Hu Jintao spoke of "one China, different interpretations." But afterwards this statement could be found only in the English version of Xinhua News Agency news reports. It was missing from the Chinese version.
Hu Jintao played a key role in changing the cross-Strait strategic scenario. The Hu Six Points is a major innovation. Its impact on cross-Strait relations far exceeds the impact of policies advanced by past CCP leaders. It surpassed the impact of the Jiang Eight Points, never mind the Yeh Nine Articles. Hu Jintao's innovations in cross-strait policy began with "peaceful development" during the 2005 Lien-Hu Summit. It evolved into "one China, different interpretations"during the March 2008 Bush-Hu hotline conversation, into the Hu Six Points on New Years Eve 2008, and into the "two sides' existing provisions (constitutions)" bottom line during the Wu-Hu meeting if March 2012. Hu's statements reveal a unique and consistent thread. They recognize that the "circumstances are special, and the nation has yet to be reunified." In the past, Beijing did not accept the idea that the nation "has yet to be reunified." They equated "yet to be reunified" with "divided." Hu acknowledged that "although the two sides have yet to be reunified, they still belong to one China." Hu urged the two sides to "explore cross-Strait political relations under these special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified," including military confidence building mechanisms and a cross-Strait peace agreement. To use the language of the previous ARATS chairman Wang Daohan, the Hu Six Points can be considered an "in progress form of one China."
The final point in the Hu Six Points is the ending of hostilities, and the signing of a peace agreement. Since 2008, we have yet to end cross-Strait hostilities. We have yet to sign a cross-Strait peace agreement. There are two reasons why we have not. One. The Ma administration was hesitant. It failed to do everything it could. It was insufficiently supportive of further improvements in cross-Strait relations. Two. The Hu regime advanced the aforementioned rational perspective on cross-Strait relations. But it failed to implement them at a practical level. For example, the Bush-Hu Hotline reference to "one China, different interpretations" was reported only in English. For example, it remained taboo to refer to "the two sides' existing provisions" as "constitutions." For example, Beijing referred to "exploring cross-Strait political relations under these special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified." But if refused to name political relations under these special circumstances. These political relations were relations between the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China. For example, Beijing said "Although the two sides have yet to be reunified, they are still part of one China." But why did it refuse to equate this "in progress form of one China" with the "big roof concept of China?"
The Hu Six Points thought of everything. But it failed to do may of them. In March of this year, during the Wu-Hu meeting, the two sides began discussing the parameters of "current provisions," i.e., the one China constitution. Some members of the DPP even advocated "constitutional consensus." This shows that the two sides can work together and support "one China, different interpretations under a big roof concept of China." If they do, they may be able to establish "political relations under these special circumstances." They may be able to establish a military confidence building mechanism or sign a cross-Strait peace agreement. They may be able to establish an "in progress form of one China." Isn't this what the Hu Six Points were aiming for? So why can't we do it?
Hu Jintao is retiring. His last political report incorporated the merits of the Hu Six Points in the written report, but Hu failed to read them aloud. Will his successor also leave behind empty words and historical regrets?
2012.11.09 01:47 am