Sunday, June 2, 2013

Inter-Party Cooperation, Orderly Development of cross-Strait Relations

Inter-Party Cooperation, Orderly Development of cross-Strait Relations
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
June 3, 2013

Summary: Beijing is not aggressively demanding talks or forcing reunification upon Taipei. In which case, the ruling and opposition parties on Taiwan should make good use of the opportunity. They should take full advantage of the strategic opportunities afforded by current peaceful development. They sould seek a positive response, and adopt an orderly, progressive, and responsible approach to cross-Strait relations.

Full Text below:

Over the past five years, cross-Strait relations have been turned upside down. They have become healthier and more stable. This is beneficial to Taiwan, conducive to regional security, and beneficial to the Chinese mainland. It provides the two sides with a respite, with strategic opportunities for peaceful development. No wonder all parties look favorably upon the situation. They look forward to the healthy development of cross-Strait relations, to further reductions in tensions, and to the resolution of disputes through dialogue. The ruling authorities on both sides have made important and worthwhile contributions. We believe that even if Taiwan undergoes another ruling party change, the new regime will face new circumstances. It will be difficult for them to single-handedly, willfully reverse the macro-level trend for cross-Strait relations. The currents of history are Irresistible.

The DPP has been busy lately. It has established a "China [sic] Affairs Committee." It has invited different factions holding different ideas to participate. It is about to initiate a major "China policy debate." Green-oriented academics say Taiwan independence no longer has a market. They say the party should advocate the establishment of diplomatic relations, rather than the founding of a new nation. They recommend the establishment of a cross-Strait human rights group. They call for the passage of a "Human Rights in the Taiwan Strait Resolution." Su Tseng-chang said the Democratic Progressive Party and the Communist Party can engage in exchanges. Dialogue can take place at any level. But he insists that as party chairman, his China policy stance remains the one adopted by the DPP All Peoples Conference, i.e., "The Resolution on Taiwan's Future." He says he thinks that Taiwan's highest priority is to avoid democratic retrogression, the loss of human rights, and the hollowing out of the nation. His remarks left listeners bewildered.

In the plus column, the DPP held high the banner of democracy and human rights. It highlighted cross-Strait differences. It called on the Mainland authorities to promote political reform, as soon as possible. It encouraged the development of democracy. This was undeniably proactive. After all, future cross-Strait reunification or integration will require narrowing the differences in values between the two sides. In the minus column, we must remain objective, and point out that the DPP's strategic adjustments are motivated by electoral pressures, rather than any fundamental change in core values. For example, the DPP persists in referring to "China" this, and "China" that. It persists in defining Taiwan as "not part of China," as mutually exclusive entities. It may no longer explicitly advocate Taiwan independence. But it persists in referring to "Taiwan, a sovereign independent country," rather than "The Republic of China, a sovereign and independent country." It wants the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two sides predicated upon the assumption that they are separate countries. This shows that the DPP has not forsaken its separatism. The problem persists.

On the surface, DPP and KMT proposals have temporarily converged. Some say this reflects a consensus on Taiwan. For Taiwan, this is not a bad thing. It reflects a gradual qualititative transformation, something to be encouraged. But KMT and DPP proposals only appear similar. They differ fundamentally in substance. For example, for the KMT, maintaining the status quo does not preclude eventual reunification, How matters evolve may not be to everyones' liking. No one can offer any guarantees. But the DPP clings to the illusory goal of independence and the founding of a new nation, while maintaining the status quo. To term it "evil intent" may be a bit strong. But it is not far from the truth. Democratic Progressive Party rhetoric may change. But it will always have trouble winning the trust of the public on Taiwan, the international community, and the Mainland authorities.

Based on our understanding of the CCP's policy toward Taiwan, Beijing is currently being quite rational and pragmatic. It harbors few illusions. It understands cross-Strait political negotiations. It would like to sign a peace agreement. It knows that achieving the goal of reunification in the short term is unrealistic. It now hopes merely that the Taiwan Region will abide by its own existing regulations, i.e., constitution, and adhere to the one China policy. Under the one China framework, the two sides can begin where they currently stand. They can tackle the easier and more urgent issues first. They can shelve disputes, and step-by-step, through exchanges and cooperation, increase mutual trust, and solidify bilateral relations. The CCP wants to explore the possibility of political relations under special circumstances in which the nation has yet to be reunified. It wants to define the two sides' political status, and arrive at a fair and reasonable arrangement. Beijing is merely hoping to create the conditions necessary for the future resolution of problems, rather than attempting to immediately deal with or resolve those problems.

Beijing is not aggressively demanding talks or forcing reunification upon Taipei. In which case, the ruling and opposition parties on Taiwan should make good use of the opportunity. They should take full advantage of the strategic opportunities afforded by current peaceful development. They sould seek a positive response, and adopt an orderly, progressive, and responsible approach to cross-Strait relations. In particular, the DPP should change their attitude. They should become more open-minded. They can insist on democracy and human rights. They can help the Mainland move in a more civilized and rational direction. But they should not use it as a pretext to pursue separatism. The KMT on the other hand, should adopt a bolder, more proactive policy toward the Mainland. It should consider signing an interim cross-Strait agreement. Such a cross-Strait agreement would be primarily cultural and educational in nature. The KMT should be less passive and more active. It should make good use of Taiwan's advantages. It should use interparty cooperation to strengthen Taiwan. It should use cross-Strait win/win policies to rejuvenate the Chinese nation. This should be our common goal.

中時電子報 新聞
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