Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tsai Ing-wen's Choice: Traitor to Taiwan Independence or Traitor to Taiwan

Tsai Ing-wen's Choice: Traitor to Taiwan Independence or Traitor to Taiwan
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
January 16, 2015

Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen has announced her candidacy for the DPP presidential primaries. She is now approaching her final mile. She now faces her final choice. Looking ahead, Tsai Ing-wen must choose between being a "traitor to Taiwan independence" and a "traitor to Taiwan". Otherwise she will not be able to complete the final mile to the presidential palace.

Full Text Below:

Tsai Ing-wen has announced her candidacy for the DPP presidential primaries. She is now approaching her final mile. She now faces her final choice. Should she be a traitor to Taiwan independence? Or a traitor to Taiwan?

This terminology may sound extreme. This only by calling a spade a spade can we underscore the importance of her decision. If Tsai Ing-wen is elected president and insists on taking the Taiwan independence path, internal and external conflict will erupt. The foundations of the nation will be shaken. She could well become a traitor to Taiwan. If she wants to stabilize the nation, she must become a transformer, a reformer, a revolutionary, an apostate of Taiwan independence. The Taiwan independence movement could well regard her as a traitor. Tsai Ing-wen faces a dilemma, globally, internally, and externally. She faces an difficult choice. She must confront this choice as she approaches her final mile.

The key of course, is cross-strait policy. Tsai Ing-wen persists in repudiating the "1992 consensus". She has refused to deal with the "Taiwan independence party platform". Therefore the DPP national policy appears unchanged. It appears to advocate the following. One. Globalization without Mainland China. Two. Rejection of cross-Strait exchanges based on the 1992 consensus. Three. Peaceful development of cross-Strait relations under the Taiwan independence party platform. Alas, this road is impassable. As even green camp academics have conceded, doing so would lead to the “disintegration of the cross-Strait peace framework”. 

Consider Taiwan's situation. The "1992 consensus" and its "one China Constitution" and "one China, different interpretations" clauses function as strategic pillars of Taiwan's cross-Strait policy. If one abandons the "1992 consensus", support for and psychological identification with the ROC Constitution among the people of Taiwan will be lost. In other words, rejecting the 1992 consensus will lead to the self-destruction of the Republic of China. Consider the Mainland's situation. The "1992 consensus" is a framework that opposes Taiwan independence and uphold the ROC status quo. Absent this buffer, Taiwan independence elements would find themselves nose to nosw eith Beijing. The Republic of China's status quo would also be at risk.

Some Mainland academics think that Tsai Ing-wen being elected president would provide "new opportunities for the two sides." Beijing used the same words in 2008 when Ma Ying-jeou was elected. They said his election offered "new opportunities for the two sides." But the "new opportunities" referred to were very different in nature. In 2008 the "new opportunities" Ma Ying-jeou offered meant generous concessions. In 2016, the “new opportunities" offered by Tsai Ing-wen mean that the ruling DPP would will be taken prisoner and forced to do Beijing's bidding. Beijing will surely not pass up the "new opportunities" to implement a final solution to the vexing Taiwan problem. Just look at how Beijing responded to Wen-Je Ko' election. Tsai Ing-wen must realize how precarious her situation is. She must not give Beijing any excuse to act, and turn her into a traitor to Taiwan.

Taiwan faces three major challenges. One. The globalization policy dilemma. Two. Cross-Strait deep water. Three. An M-shaped society. Globalization must be dealt with. Otherwise Taiwan will confront both a political and economic crisis. If cross-strait relations are not properly resolved, Taiwan's globalization process will be imperiled. If globalization and cross-Strait relations cannot be reconciled, Taiwan's M-shaped society will not be able to transform its industrial structure and find policy solutions. Therefore cross-Strait relations remain the key to all three problems. Alas, Taiwan independence clearly has no viable options to deal with cross-Strait relations.

Tsai Ing-wen must now deal with a major contradiction in Taiwan society. This contradiction involves a clash between psychology and reality. Psychologically, the Sunflower Student Movement incited the aforementioned public resentment, especially “anti-China” (anti-Mainland) hatred. The Sunflower Student Movement obstructed passage of the STA, MTA, and FEPZ bills. It approached these major problems with a Taiwan Independence mindset. Clearly this was the wrong prescription for what ails it. As a result, Tsai Ing-wen now faces a dilemma. She won by pandering to the mob psychology of Taiwan independence. But now she must reject Taiwan independence and deal with real world problems. 

Tsai Ing-wen faces difficulties within and without. She clearly knows that Taiwan independence is a non-starter. If she wants the Democratic Progressive Party to return to power, she must become a transformer, a reformer, a revolutionary, and an apostate of Taiwan independence. She must even become a traitor to Taiwan independence. Without such a determination, she could plunge the nation into chaos and become a traitor to TaiwanThe

The cross-Strait situation includes "belated Taiwan independence" from the  Sunflower Student Movement. But many voters merely wanted to transcend blue vs. green bickering. They hope the DPP will transform itself. Besides, the thought of "abandoning Taiwan independence" is nothing new within the DPP. A proposal to freeze the Taiwan independence party platform is still pending before the Executive Council. Therefore "abandoning Taiwan independence" is a way the DPP can save itself as a political party. If Tsai Ing-wen becomes a "traitor to Taiwan independence" she will paradoxically become a savior to the DPP.

The presidential primary process gives Tsai Ing-wen time and space to maneuver, to adopt a position she can defend, now and in the future. One. She can find a way to follow up on the pan-ECFA framework, including the STA and MTA agreements. She can assume responsibility for them all. Two. She can cease evading the "1992 consensus” and adopt the "one China, different interpretations" path. Three. She can tone down her "Republic of China is Taiwan" rhetoric, and move toward a "ROC includes Taiwan" position. Four. Instead of opposing the Republic of China, she can champion the Republic of China. To do so, Tsai must actively seek "new cross-Strait opportunities". She must not allow herself to become Beijing's definition of "new opportunities".

Looking ahead, Tsai Ing-wen must choose between being a "traitor to Taiwan independence" and a "traitor to Taiwan". Otherwise she will not be able to complete the final mile to the presidential palace.

2015-02-16 01:59:06 聯合報 社論












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