Monday, September 30, 2013

APEC: Wang Zhang Meeting a Stepping Stone for a Ma Xi Meeting

APEC: Wang Zhang Meeting a Stepping Stone for a Ma Xi Meeting
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
A Translation
September 30, 2013

Summary: On June 8, this newspaper published an editorial, "fully backing a Ma Xi meeting at next year's APEC conference." The question now is no longer whether to back a Ma Xi meeting. If the authorities on the two sides fail to live up to this historic opportunity, who should be blamed then?

Full text below:

The annual APEC conference will convene in Bali, Indonesia tomorrow. MAC Chairman Wang Yu-chi will attend the meeting as a "consultant" for the delegation from Taipei. He will meet with Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun. For Taipei and Beijing, this meeting will be the highlight of the conference.

In fact, as long as Wang and Zhang meet under the same roof, it matters little whether their meeting is one on one or how they address each other. In essence, the two are "MAC Chairman Wang Yu-chi " and "Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun." Therefore if the two fail to greet each other during the conference, or if they address each other as "Mr. Wang" or "Consultant Wang," or "Mr. Zhang," it will merely leave behind a frustrating impression of evasiveness. This evasiveness, which is so far removed from reality, is the primary obstacle to improved cross-Strait relations now that the two sides are entering more treacherous waters.

Put bluntly, the two sides are entering more treacherous waters. This is not something that politicians from the two sides can settle through negotiations. The key is how the public on Taiwan regards the term "China," and just who is "Chinese." Therefore, as this newspaper has often reiterated, the public on Taiwan must first agree that "Within the framework of one China, the Republic of China is part of China." Otherwise the majority of the public on Taiwan cannot be persudaded to identify themselves as "Chinese." If this is the case, how can one speak of "reunification?"

We enthusiastically agree with the CCP 18th Party Congress, which declared its intention to "Explore cross-Strait political relations under special circumstances in which the country has yet to be reunified, and to make reasonable arrangements." This proposition acknowledges the current state of cross-Strait relations. It is a "yet to be reunified" relationship. It acknowledges that "cross-Strait political relations are yet to be reunified relations." In other words, the "Republic of China and the Peoples Republic of China are in a special relationship, one in which they coexist side by side." The 18th Party Congress acknowledges that the relationship is "a special relationship that is a yet to reunified relationship." Otherwise it would not use expressions such as "Although the two sides have yet to be be reunified, they are both parts of one China," or "one China is an in progress one China."

The "Constitution of the Republic of China" provides the sole assurance of cross-strait "peaceful development." Yet it the Constitution of the Republic of China is referred to as "existing cross-Strait provisions." Is this not evasive? The MAC and the Taiwan Affairs Office are charged with cross-Strait affairs. Yet their representatives cannot even be addressed as Chairman Wang and Chairman Zhang." Is this not equally evasive? Politics on Taiwan is chaotic. National identity on Taiwan is confused. In the final analysis, the main reason for this is Beijing's intolerance. It refuses to allow the Republic of China to be part of China under the "Big Roof Concept of China." This makes the public on Taiwan leery of the "one China" framework. , It deprives them of a sense of security, dignity, and identity.

Since 2008, the two sides have corrected many of the mistakes they made before 2008. Take one example. The ban on the display of the ROC flag in international stadiums has apparently been lifted. Beijing now realizes that not allowing the public on Taiwan to wave the ROC flag has negative consequences. It makes the public on Taiwan feel even less connection with "China." It makes them feel even less identification with "China" and "the Chinese people." As a result of this major revelation, Beijing adopted a more open approach for the WHA and the ICAO. The cross-Strait diplomatic truce has been in effect for over five years. This positive trend in cross-Strait relations has won the recognition and approval of the public on Taiwan.

Even international aspects of cross-Strait relations can be improved. Non-international aspects of cross-Strait relations should be even more amenable to innovative breakthroughs. Over the past five years many significant breakthroughs have been made. The ROC now enjoys more international breathing space. Cross-Strait breathing space will naturally increase as well. Now we must wait and see how Zhang Zhijun and Wang Yu-chi conduct themselves in Bali.

Macau Chief Executive Fernando Cui Sai-on met with Wang Yu-chi in August. They addressed each other as "Chairman Wang" and "Chief Executive Cui." Fools see countless mountains in their hearts. Sages see the sheet of paper before their eyes. If Zhang Zhijun could not address Wang as "Chairman Wang," then Chui Sai On would have no reason to reciprocate. Conversely, if Cui Sai On could address Wang as "Chairman Wang," Zhang Zhijun would have no reason not to reciprocate. Zhang Zhijun carries more cross-Strait policy weight than Cui Shi On. Let us listen closely and see if Cui shakes things up by addressing Wang as "Chairman Wang."

A single utterance of "Chairman Wang" could shred a piece of paper. But a single utterance of "Chairman Wang" could clear away a thousand mountains. Changing the way people are addressed might change attitudes and policies. Besides, current cross-Strait relations have already cleared away a thousand mountains. Now all that remains is to shred the paper that dicates the manner of address. The Xi Jinping team may appear to have immense obstacles to overcome. In fact, it probably only needs to decide what title to use.

Hu Jingtao's cross-Strait achievements began with the 2005 Lian Hu Meeting. Xi Jingping's cross-Strait assignment begins next year, when Beijing hosts the APEC conference, and Ma and Xi may meet. When Ma and Xi meet, how will they address each other? Within the APEC Council, Ma and Xi are both "economic leaders." Outside the conference, they can refer to the 1995 "Jiang Eight-Point Proposal." Xi can address Ma as "leader of the Taiwan authorities." Ma can address Xi as "leader of the Mainland authorities." Surely the Beijing authorities commitment eight years ago, will still be honored nine years later?

Finally, on June 8, this newspaper published an editorial, "fully backing a Ma Xi meeting at next year's APEC conference." The question now is no longer whether to back a Ma Xi meeting. If the authorities on the two sides fail to live up to this historic opportunity, who should be blamed then?

2013.09.30 04:43 am












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