China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
January 28, 2016
Executive Summary: The presidential election has ended. But the future of cross-Strait relations remains a giant question mark. The Mainland appears to be exercising restraint and maintaining a low profile. It has yet to speak ill of President elect Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP. Xi Jinping warned that “the ground will move and the mountains will shake” before the election. So far the surface of the water remains smooth, showing no signs of disturbance. Such restraint is appropriate, and deserves affirmation.
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The presidential election has ended. But the future of cross-Strait relations remains a giant question mark. The Mainland appears to be exercising restraint and maintaining a low profile. It has yet to speak ill of President elect Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP. Xi Jinping warned that “the ground will move and the mountains will shake” before the election. So far the surface of the water remains smooth, showing no signs of disturbance. Such restraint is appropriate, and deserves affirmation.
But is this merely the calm before the storm? A calm surface does not necessarily mean the absence of powerful undercurrents. People are worried that a storm is brewing, one that will not wait until Tsai Ing-wen's May 20 inauguration. Starting in February, the Ma administration will officially become a caretaker government. The Mainland's Taiwan policy is likely to undergo fundamental change. The situation is dangerous. People cannot afford to remain ignorant. The victorious Democratic Progressive Party must eliminate the danger.
The danger manifests itself on several levels. Take the 1992 Consensus, for example. Before and after the election, Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly fine-tuned her rhetoric in an effort to move closer to the 1992 Consensus. President elect Tsai knows full well that the 1992 Consensus is the cornerstone of cross-Strait relations. Without this cornerstone, not only will the “ground move and mountains shake”, even her precious executive power could come tumbling down.
Tsai Ing-wen has been incrementally "fine tuning" her cross-Strait rhetoric. The Mainland has neither affirmed or condemned her for this. It has however, flatly reiterated its pro forma response: "We insist on adherence to the 1992 Consensus and oppose any form of Taiwan independence. We resolutely safeguard our national sovereignty and territorial integrity". Not only has the Mainland's tone become icy cold, its Taiwan policy has also become harsher. Take Ma Ying-jeou's three cross-Strait achievements for example. They include Mainland tourism to Taiwan, ECFA, and direct cross-Strait airline flights. Direct cross-Strait airlines flights have yet to be affected. But reports are that Mainland tourism will be sharply curtailed. This means the 200 billion dollars in annual expenditures by Mainland tourists will take a hit. Sheng Chi-jen, general manager of the Yun Lang Tourism Group, has warned of hotels closing down. If current cross-Strait negotiations are terminated, can they be restored? That will depend on the Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Regulations under review in the legislature, and whether the DPP will ram through its "two states theory" version. It will also depend of course on whether the Mainland side remains willing.
These alerts paint a worrisome picture. The Mainland appears resolute. It will take any and all steps necessary. In the past, the Mainland's cross-Strait policy took into account the US factor, the Taiwan factor, and good will towards the Kuomintang. The importance of these three factors has sharply declined. The only difference is the Mainland has not yet dispensed with decorum when confronted by the new DPP controlled legislature and new DPP president. Taiwan will soon face ever increasing pressure. This is something people cannot take lightly.
Defusing this critical situation requires goodwill and macro level calculations on the part of the Mainland. Even more importantly, it requires action on the part of Tsai Ing-wen. First, Tsai Ing-wen must abandon her intentionally indecipherable cross-Strait policy stance. On the matter of the 1992 consensus in particular, she cannot keep playing her “What's my bottom line?” guessing game. Tsai Ing-wen must step up to the plate and clearly articulate her position on the 1992 Consensus. Just what are cross-Strait relations to her? State to state relations? Special state to state relations? One country, two areas? Or relations between two warring nations?
The Mainland's bottom line is crystal clear. It will not accept the "1992 Spirit" or "1992 historical fact" word games. As the Mainland sees it, one either uses the term "1992 Consensus", or the far more explicit term “one China”.
Tsai Ing-wen must not miscalculate. She must not assume that the Ma caretaker government will provide her with a four-month buffer. One reason is that Tsai Ing-wen refuses to budge even an inch on the matter of a majority party cabinet. She does not want to establish a constitutional precedent. But the main reason is that she is clearly unprepared to take over. On cross-Strait relations in particular, she has no desire to go head to head with the Mainland. As a result, she wants Ma Ying-jeou to continue acting as a human shield for the next four months.
Such calculations ignore the risk of Taiwan remaining idle. They reveal an absence of statesmanship. Tsai Ing-wen overestimates the Ma government's ability to serve as a human shield. Ma Ying-jeou will soon walk off the political stage. That is inevitable, and already in sight. Will the Mainland really feel any qualms about taking punitive action? Will it really feel constrained? Tsai Ing-wen has already rejected the option of a majority cabinet. Ma Ying-jeou has already yielded. He has appointed Chang San-cheng caretaker Premier. Tsai Ing-wen must take advantage of this four-month caretaker period to do several things. First. She must step up to the plate and settle her differences with the Mainland over the 1992 Consensus. The two sides can use different rhetoric. But the nature of cross-Strait relations must be crystal clear. Second. She must earnestly call for "non-state to state relations" wording in the Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Regulations. She must communicate with the Mainland through multiple channels, and establish a basis for trust. Third. She must use the four-month transition period to promote reconciliation between the blue and green camps, increasing internal unity. Only that will enable a unified response, and enable us to weather the storm. It would at least be better than disunity. Fourth. She must confront the younger generation's rising “natural Taiwan independence” and anti-Mainland sentiment. She must cool things down, while considering the feelings of people on the Mainland. She must find the middle ground between “Taiwan First!” consciousness and the “Chinese Dream”. She must meld wisdom with tolerance.
大陸方面顯得低調自制，對蔡英文準總統與民進黨並無惡言， 呈現風平浪靜景象，並未出現習近平選前說的「地動山搖」。 這樣的自制是正確的，也值得肯定。
表面的平靜並不代表海面下不是洶洶暗流。平靜中卻讓人擔心， 真正的風暴正在醞釀中，而且可能不用等到蔡英文5月20日就職， 從2月馬政府正式進入看守期間， 大陸對台政策恐怕就會有根本性的改變。對此一險峻情勢， 國人不能懵懂，贏得執政的民進黨，更須拿出積極行動化險於未然。
蔡英文從選前到選後，不斷的透過多次微調，試圖貼近「九二共識」 。顯然蔡準總統也很清楚，九二共識是兩岸關係的關鍵基石， 基石不在，不只兩岸關係地動山搖， 她風光贏來的執政權也可能天崩地裂。
而是行禮如儀的回到三段論：「堅持九二共識、 反對任何形式的台獨、堅決維護國家主權和領土完整。」 不只是言語冷漠，在政策行動面上，緊縮式的行動已悄然展開， 以馬英九在兩岸3個指標建樹為例：「陸客來台、各項兩岸協議、 兩岸直航」，除了兩岸直航目前沒有受波及， 陸客來台已傳出大幅緊縮，意謂每年2000億元的陸客消費收入將 受到重創，雲朗觀光集團總經理盛治仁已發出旅館倒閉潮的警訊。 目前進行中的各項兩岸協議的談判，實質上也陷入全面停擺， 能不能恢復，一則要看立法院審議「兩岸協議監督條例」， 民進黨會不會強行通過藏有「兩國論」內涵的版本， 另一方面當然要看陸方的意願。
會依自己需要與步驟片面行動，過去大陸在決定兩岸政策時， 受美國因素、台灣因素、對國民黨感情這「三因素牽絆」 的考量似在大幅下降。所差的只是， 在民進黨的新國會或新總統走馬上任前，還沒有撕破臉。 這將讓台灣未來面臨的壓力愈來愈大。 這是國人不能掉以輕心的地方。
更重要是蔡英文的行動。首先，蔡英文必須揚棄過去「 猶抱琵琶半遮面」、模糊的兩岸態度。尤其在九二共識的問題上， 不能再玩擠牙膏式的「底線猜謎」遊戲。蔡英文必須一步到位， 清楚的在九二共識問題上表達立場。兩岸關係究竟是什麼關係？ 國與國關係？特殊國與國關係？一國兩區關係？或敵對關係？
這類擦邊球式的文字遊戲，陸方要的是「九二共識」 所代表的兩岸關係，不用九二共識名詞，就必須直接面對「一中」 問題。
在多數黨組閣議題上，蔡英文一步不讓，除了不想創下「憲政慣例」 外，最大的原因，顯然是還沒準備好，特別是「兩岸關係」， 她不想立刻面臨兩岸的攤牌，於是想讓馬英九繼續當4個月的人肉盾 牌。