Monday, April 18, 2016

Peace and the Public Welfare Require Mutual Restraint

Peace and the Public Welfare Require Mutual Restraint
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
April 19, 2016

Executive Summary: Peace is the only way to resolve cross-Strait issues. Tsai Ing-wen and the Mainland authorities must look to peace and the public welfare. Taiwan must offer a declaration acceptable to the Mainland. The Mainland on the other hand, must exercise restraint.

Full Text Below:

May 20 is fast approaching. Meanwhile disputes between the two sides are multiplying. Even those not paying attention have noticed the tense atmosphere. The Mainland says it will not change its policy of peaceful cross-Strait relations. But it has established diplomatic relations with Gambia, reduced the quota for Mainland tourists allowed to visit Taiwan, refused to renew the milkfish imports agreement, and extradited Taiwanese scam artists from Kenya to the Mainland. Numerous disputes have arisen between the two sides. The friendly atmosphere of cross-Strait interaction and understanding have been shattered. The Mainland is obviously testing Tsai Ing-wen.

The Mainland considers the political foundation for sustained cross-Strait relations extremely important. It is the basis for mutually beneficial cooperation. Ambiguity on this matter is unacceptable. Therefore when Tsai obdurately refuses to clearly state her position, the Mainland's only option is to send strong messages reminding the new government of the possible repercussions for cross-Strait relations. For the Mainland, Taiwan policy involves an either/or choice. Taiwan must clearly recognize the 1992 Consensus, and affirm that both sides of the Strait are part of one China. The Mainland can then allow cross-Strait relations to continue, business as usual. Otherwise official interaction between the two sides will be immediately terminated. The Mainland of course has no desire to interrupt private sector exchanges. It will continue allowing economic integration to promote political integration. It will unilaterally liberalize in order toattract more capital and people from Taiwan to the Mainland. Mainland China is confident time is on its side.

But cross-Strait private sector interaction is inevitably complicated by political turbulence. Cross-Strait private sector exchanges have increased exponentially since the past. All manner of disputes require government coordination and standardization. If governments fail to communicate, private sector frictions will inevitably lead to a chill or even conflict, further deepening political confrontation. In other words, without official management, private sector interaction will become risky and detrimental to cross-Strait peace.

Tsai Ing-wen realizes that the Mainland is pressuring her and testing her. She realizes how sensitive cross-Strait relations are. That is why she has yet to direct a single insult at the Mainland. Instead, she has constantly called on the Mainland to demonstrate goodwill, and consider public opinion on Taiwan when formulating Taiwan policy. This approach has been criticized as “using public opinion as a shield against the Mainland”. Nevertheless it shows that Tsai Ing-wen wants to avoid a blow up with the Mainland, and hopes to turn the situation around. Tsai Ing-wen has only one choice. She must adopt a friendly attitude toward the Mainland. She must not offer provocations or change the status quo. She must extend an olive branch, build trust, and take concrete action.

Tsai Ing-wen does not need to cave in to Mainland pressure. But she must speak plainly. Communications between the DPP and CCP are not good. The two parties do not trust each other. Misunderstandings are likely, and if they arise, will be difficult to resolve. Tsai Ing-wen needs to realize that when she demonstrates goodwill toward the Mainland, she may not get an immediate response. That does not mean that the Mainland is setting a higher price. It may simply mean it does not trust the new government. It cannot determine whether the goodwill gesture hides evil intentions. Since the two sides lack sufficient trust, policy must be crystal clear, and minimize any need for interpretation. The policy implications must be spelled out without the slightest ambiguity.

Tsai Ing-wen presumably realizes that the Mainland knows she is exercising restraint. It has yet to officially denounce her. The Mainland still hopes she will issue a clear statement on cross-Strait political relations, enabling the two sides to maintain the status quo. It hopes official exchanges can continue. If the Mainland's asking price for resumption of cross-Strait relations is too high, the public on Taiwan will react negatively toward the Mainland. Identification with the Mainland will diminish. Friction that sets back cross-Strait relations is unnecessary. No opportunity to promote cross-Strait interaction should be passed up. If Tsai can appreciate the Mainland's good intentions, she may be able to break through the bottleneck and seize a golden opportunity. She would then enable the Mainland authorities to justify their actions to the Mainland public. The political basis for cross-Strait interaction would be more secure, and less troubled by twists and turns .

On May 20, Tsai Ing-wen will deliver her inaugural address. We call on Tsai Ing-wen to issue a cross-Strait policy declaration acceptable to the Mainland. We hope the Mainland will not cling to dogmatic slogans, but instead interpret Tsai Ing-wen's policy declaration according to the law. After all, long-term stability in cross-Strait relations must be rooted in the letter of the law, rather than political rhetoric. It must be interpreted legally, not evaluated politically.

Peace is the only way to resolve cross-Strait issues. Tsai Ing-wen and the Mainland authorities must look to peace and the public welfare. Taiwan must offer a declaration acceptable to the Mainland. The Mainland on the other hand, must exercise restraint.

蒼生與和平為念 兩岸需相互克制
20160419 中國時報









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