Dateline Taipei Bids Farewell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJKMji2688M
“We’ll Meet Again”, sung by Vera Lynn

Dateline Taipei Bids Farewell
December 30, 2016
Taipei, China

As of today, Dateline Taipei will cease publication.

Why?

The Green Terror, of course. So much for freedom of expression under Green Government.

Thank you all for your support over the years.

To quote an old WWII era song, made famous by the British singer Vera Lynn,

We’ll meet again,
Don’t know where, don’t know when,
But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.

Keep smiling through,
Just like you always do,
Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds, far away.

So will you please say hello,
To the folks that I know,
Tell them I won’t be long,
They’ll be happy to know that as you saw me go
I was singing this song.

We’ll meet again,
Don’t know where, don’t know when,
But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.


— Bevin Chu

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Taiwan’s Membership in International Organizations: David Lee Reveals the Truth
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
December 29, 2016

Executive Summary: The Tsai Trump phone call opened Pandora’s Box. How will Taiwan deal with the consequences? That is difficult to predict. But the Mainland has already begun building a high wall to defend one China. Such is the paradox of history. The KMT, which steadfastly defended one China and befriended the Mainland, ironically ensured Taiwan’s autonomy. The DPP, which obstinately opposed one China and incited cross-Strait conflict, ironically accelerated the process of cross-Strait reunification.

Full Text Below:

ROC Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee has responded to Control Yuan inquiries about the difficulties Taiwan has encountered attempting to join international organizations. He admitted that United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 and Mainland insistence on the one China principle have had an effect. With the exception of the WTO and APEC, membership in international organizations is difficult without Beijing’s approval. David Lee’s remarks made Taiwan independence advocates very uncomfortable. They inadvertently shattered their carefully crafted illusion. Lee believes Taiwan has the right to join the United Nations and other international organizations, regardless of whether the Mainland approves. He said Taiwan could not join these organizations only because the Kuomintang was incompetent and weak when it was in office.

Lies are eventually exposed. Such lies, spread by the DPP after assuming power, cannot withstand scrutiny. The DPP will not be able to continue passing the buck to the KMT. The DPP now enjoys “total governance”. Therefore it must assume “total responsibility”. When it is unable to join international organizations, when diplomatic allies break off relations, it will have to accept responsibility. Some DPP leaders are attempting to shape public opinion. For example, Sao Tome and Principe has severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan. DPP leaders insist this is good for Taiwan, because these countries cannot help Taiwan. Ending diplomatic relations reduces our expenditures. Taiwan needs only to improve relations with major nations, they say. But six months ago, these same people were blasting the Ma administration because Gambia established diplomatic relations with the Mainland. They blamed the Ma government’s diplomatic truce for the loss.

In fact, their allegation that small nations cannot help us join international organizations is self-contradictory. Political realities mean that Taiwan must rely on diplomatic partners in the United Nations or other international organizations to increase its exposure, or submit membership requests. As members of these organizations, these nations have the right to invite Taiwan to join. They may not be able to persuade other nations to accept Taiwan. But their requests are an indispensable first step.

The United States Congress often passes legislation that supports Taiwan’s accession to international organizations. But these are mostly symbolic gestures, with no binding effect on the executive branch. The United States never advances such proposals in international organizations, still less help Taiwan join them. In other words, even from the most utilitarian perspective of diplomatic relations, few nations consider themselves obliged to help Taiwan.

Many in the DPP persist in self-deception. This hampers Taiwan’s understanding of the international situation. It also blinds people to the subtle cross-Strait balance of power. The Mainland has announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with Sao Tome. Many consider this irrelevant. Many mock it. They assume it will further alienate Taiwan from the Mainland. They fail to realize that years of cross-Strait interaction has familiarized the Mainland with Taiwan. The Mainland understands the impact of cross-Strait exchanges and military threats on Taiwan’s public opinion. Why has the Mainland exerted diplomatic pressure on Taiwan? Why has it dispatched military aircraft to circle Taiwan? The underlying reason of course is that the Tsai government has refused to recognize the 1992 consensus. But from a tactical perspective, the answer can be found in Mainland policy toward Taiwan, which is carefully measured.

In the past, the two sides have often engaged in diplomatic warfare. During the Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian eras, Taiwan benefited from its economic strength. This enabled it to compete for diplomatic relations with the Mainland. It both gained and lost, but gains outweighed the losses. The Ma government proposed a diplomatic truce. It did so as a gesture of goodwill towards the Mainland. Now however, Taiwan no longer has the ability to compete with the Mainland for diplomatic relations. Never mind diplomatic truce. Taiwan can only hope that the Mainland refrains from competing for diplomatic relations. If the Mainland proceeds, Taiwan can only sit back and watch as other nations drift away, unable to do anything in response. This is the most serious crisis facing Taiwan today. This is the shrill warning the Mainland has issued to Taiwan with the Sao Tome and Principe diplomatic break. David Lee is on the frontlines of this diplomatic battlefield. He feels all of this deeply. That is why he did not deny that Taiwan’s participation in international organizations requires Mainland consent. He revealed the reality of Taiwan’s plight. The same is true of the imbalance in military strength.

The DPP government finds itself in a dilemma. How will it respond? Other than engage in self-deception, it can do nothing. The DPP government can only take one of two paths. The first is to humble itself and take a hard look at the KMT government’s cross-Strait and foreign policies. It must not turn a blind eye to KMT successes in its struggle with the Mainland, merely because of partisan rivalry. It must seek a new consensus with the Mainland, and return to the proper path. The other is to continue blindly down its current path, amidst cross-Strait tensions, toward eventual decline. The Mainland may use the opportunity to continue its attacks, eventually completing the diplomatic and military encirclement of Taiwan. Eventually Taiwan will no longer have any chips to play, and will be forced to accept “reunification without dignity”.

President Tsai may attempt to take a third path, namely to maintain the ambiguous status quo. But evolutionary changes have proven that external forces will inexorably erode this ambiguity. The Tsai Trump phone call opened Pandora’s Box. How will Taiwan deal with the consequences? That is difficult to predict. But the Mainland has already begun building a high wall to defend one China. As the Mainland sees it, the path of ambiguity will eventually merge with the second path.

Such is the paradox of history. The KMT, which steadfastly defended one China and befriended the Mainland, ironically ensured Taiwan’s autonomy. The DPP, which obstinately opposed one China and incited cross-Strait conflict, ironically accelerated the process of cross-Strait reunification.

李大維揭穿的國際空間真相
2016/12/29 中國時報

外交部長李大維答覆監察院詢問有關台灣參與國際組織所面臨的困難及因應作為時,坦言受聯合國大會2758號決議及大陸堅持一中原則影響,除WTO、APEC外,要參與其他國際組織,除非獲得北京允許,否則有相當的困難。李大維這番言論讓獨派很不舒服,他無意間戳破了獨派一直以來所編織的幻夢,認為台灣有權利參與聯合國及各類國際組織,無須理會大陸,台灣之所以無法加入,是國民黨執政時期的無能和軟弱所所致。

謊言終究要被揭開,民進黨的上台讓這種論調再也無法自圓其說,更讓民進黨無法繼續牽拖國民黨,既然完全執政,就要對無法加入國際組織或「被斷交」負起完全責任。現在一些民進黨人開始引導輿論走向,例如聖多美普林西比同台灣斷交,硬說對台灣是一件好事,因為這些國家對台灣無關緊要,斷交反而可以減少金援支出,台灣只要做好與主要大國改善關係工作即可。可就在半年前,同樣一批人還針對甘比亞與大陸建交,指責馬政府外交休兵是失敗的政策。

事實上,小國無用論與加入國際組織目標背道而馳,從政治現實面來看,台灣要在聯合國或者其他國際組織增加曝光率,或提出參與活動提案,都必須委託邦交國,他們作為這些組織會員國,有權提案邀請台灣加入,雖然他們無法說服各國接受,卻是不可缺少的第一步。

至於美國國會常常通過支持台灣加入國際組織的法案,實際上都屬於政治表態行為,根本對行政部門無約束力,美國也不會在國際組織中提出相關提案,遑論幫助台灣加入。換句話說,即便從最功利的角度來審視邦交國,也並非很多人所不屑一顧那樣只是台灣的負債。

許多民進黨人自欺欺人,不但影響了台灣對國際局勢的認知,更讓自己失去了對兩岸力量對比失衡的敏感。大陸宣布與聖多美復交,很多人認為無關緊要,更有很多人諷刺這只會讓台灣更疏離大陸。但他們沒有注意到,大陸經過多年的兩岸互動,早已熟知斷交、軍事威脅等行動對台灣社會輿論的衝擊,既然如此,為何大陸最近還要在外交上施壓台灣,甚至派出軍機、航母繞行台灣?從大背景來看,當然與蔡政府拒不承認九二共識有關,但從具體策略來看,卻可以從中發現大陸對台政策的節奏感。

過去兩岸常有外交爭奪戰,李、扁時期受惠台灣雄厚的經濟實力,還有一定本領與大陸爭奪邦交國,雖然有失有得,畢竟還能有所斬獲;馬政府主動提出外交休兵,還具有對大陸釋出善意的意涵。如今台灣再也沒有能力與大陸競逐邦交國,談不上外交休兵,只能被動寄希望大陸不要爭奪邦交國,如果大陸不配合,也只能束手坐等邦交國流失,毫無反制能力。這才是當下台灣最大的危機所在,這也是大陸通過與聖多美復交所要提供給台灣的最大警訊。身處外交戰場第一線的李大維自然感悟最深,所以他不諱言台灣參與國際組織需要經過大陸同意,這無非就是揭示當前台灣的真實處境。至於軍事實力對比失衡的困境同樣如此。

困局中的民進黨政府該如何因應?除了掩耳盜鈴式自欺欺人之外,恐怕也是束手無策。擺在民進黨政府面前的只有兩條路,一是真正以謙卑的態度重新審視國民黨政府時期的兩岸政策和對外政策,不要因為政黨對立就對國民黨的成功經驗視而不見,並努力與大陸發展新共識,重新回到正確的道路,另一條路則是繼續一意孤行,讓台灣繼續在兩岸關係緊張對立的道路上向下沉淪,大陸也藉此機會不斷出擊,逐步完成對台灣的外交和軍事包圍,到一定階段台灣沒有討價還價能力時,只好接受「沒有尊嚴的統一」。

蔡總統可能打算選擇第三條路,就是模糊到底的維持現狀,但局勢演變已經證明,自己想模糊,但外力總會干擾這種模糊。「英川通話」打開了潘朵拉的魔盒,台灣如何自處尚難預料,大陸卻已經開始築起維護一中的高牆,因為在大陸看來,模糊之路終究要跟第二條路合流。

歷史的弔詭恰恰在此,堅持一中的國民黨因為友善大陸反而保證了台灣的自主性,堅決反對一中的民進黨卻因為挑起了兩岸對立,反而推進了兩岸統一的進程。

Collective Silence Among Taiwan Independence Elders

Collective Silence Among Taiwan Independence Elders
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
December 28, 2016

Executive Summary: The DPP, and in particular Taiwan independence elders, have a better understanding of the trilateral relationship between the United States, Mainland China, and Taiwan than the masses. Naturally they have a better understanding of the impossibility of Taiwan independence. They know they cannot achieve it. The reason has nothing to do with ideals, and everything to do with personal power and special interests. They have no objection to sacrificing Taiwan’s future and cross-Strait peace for their own selfish interests. Fortunately, we have entered an era of great change. Many black swans have appeared. The global picture is changing. This has revealed much of this hypocrisy for what it is.

Full Text Below:

President Tsai has been in office for a while now. The blue camp is very unhappy with her. Even the green camp has blasted her relentlessly. Of course the latter have entirely different reasons for their discontent. They have no desire to replace her. They are merely unhappy with her policy of “maintaining the status quo”. That is not what they want. More importantly, Ms. Tsai has appointed large numbers of bureaucrats, many of whom hail from the blue camp, or are “Mainlanders”. This has angered Taiwan independence elders, who denounce them as “Old Blue Males”. Put simply, the Tsai Ying-wen government is insufficiently committed to the cause of Taiwan independence for their tastes.

Paradoxically however, President Tsai successfully phoned US President-elect Donald Trump. Trump later issued a series of challenges to the US government’s one China policy. Logically speaking, Taiwan independence elements should be dancing with joy. But they were unusually low-keyed. In fact, news of the the “Tsai Trump phone call” provoked intense debate. Many assumed that the incoming Republican government would change China policy and provide Taiwan with new opportunities. But this enthusiasm quickly evaporated. Taiwan independence elder Wu Li-pei may have told reporters he didn’t mind being America’s pawn. But others remained silent.

What accounts for this strange phenomenon? The explanation is simple. Many have warned that if Taiwan is reduced to a bargaining chip between the United States and the Mainland, or a pawn in the United States’ attempt to “contain” the Mainland, the first victim will be Taiwan. Republican government policy toward China has conistently started hard but ended soft, started hostile but ended friendly. More importantly, Trump is a businessman. He is likely to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip in order reach a deal with the Mainland, and win concessions or cooperation from the Mainland on other issues. Most people on Taiwan have noticed that Trump himself came right out and said as much on Twitter.

Today’s Taiwan independence movement has a distinguishing characteristic. It is led by people knowledgeable about the United States, and chummy with the United States. These people differ from earlier Taiwan independence advocates, who were Japanese imperial subjects. Today the most influential Taiwan independence elders are those who have studied and worked in the United States. They had successful careers in the United States. They also have many political contacts. They have studied the United States’ cross-Strait policy in-depth. They have a clear understanding of the one China policy. Therefore, when Trump issued a series of reckless statements, they were keenly aware of the dangers.

When Obama came out and reiterated the US government’s long held stance on the Taiwan issue, these Taiwan indepdence elders did not make a peep. They knew these developments would have a serious impact on their pursuit of Taiwan independence. They knew that the United States’ cross-Strait position includes maintaining the status quo, strategic ambiguity, and even open opposition to Taiwan independence. It also includes ensuring Taiwan’s autonomy. This autonomy enables Taiwan’s autonomy to pass for sovereignty, and to defy the Mainland’s goal of reunification. Trump’s approach has shattered the tacit understanding underlying the triangular relationship between the United States, Mainland China, and Taiwan. It as forced Obama to stand up and eliminate the ambiguity. This is not good for Taiwan, which has benefited from strategic ambiguity. Taiwan independence elders understand this paradoxical situation better than anyone.

President Tsai has a similar understanding. Following  the Tsai Trump phone call, she exercised considerable restraint. She urged DPP legislators to cool their rhetoric, and not exaggerate the significance of the phone call. She was aware of the possible consequences, especially the reaction from the Mainland. She knew the United States would lose the benefit of strategic ambiguity. From this perspective, President Tsai and Taiwan independence elders understand each other perfectly.

If that is the case, why are Taiwan independence elders so unhappy with the Tsai administration? Why are they openly criticizing her? Since President Tsai was elected, a series of events have left them frustrated. Taiwan independence elders assumed that as long as they remained steadfast in their support for Taiwan independence and the DPP, they would be on the receiving end of government patronage. But lo and behold, President Tsai’s concern for continuity of government, led her to rehire so-called “Old Blue Males”. This of course, undermined the Taiwan independence elders’ interests, and led to inevitable discord.

But isn’t this the way it has always been with the DPP? The DPP has used Taiwan independence. It has incited internal conflict over reunification vs. independence. It has used so-called “ethnic” opposition to win votes. Every time an election has rolled around it has done so without fail. It simply cannot hold itself back. But when the KMT echoes its claims, or even raises the ante, the DPP shows its true colors. The DPP has flip-flopped repeatedly on amending the “referendum law”. This parallels the Taiwan independence elders’ ambivalence in the face of Trump’s words and deeds.

In other words, the DPP, and in particular Taiwan independence elders, have a better understanding of the trilateral relationship between the United States, Mainland China, and Taiwan than the masses. Naturally they have a better understanding of the impossibility of Taiwan independence. They know they cannot achieve it. The reason has nothing to do with ideals, and everything to do with personal power and special interests. They have no objection to sacrificing Taiwan’s future and cross-Strait peace for their own selfish interests. Fortunately, we have entered an era of great change. Many black swans have appeared. The global picture is changing. This has revealed much of this hypocrisy for what it is.

集體沉默的台獨大老們
2016/12/28 中國時報

蔡總統就任以來,不但藍營對她深深不滿,連綠營內部都批評不斷,當然後者的出發點還不至於想取而代之,而是認為「維持現狀」政策不能代表他們的真實想法。更重要的是,在人事安排上,蔡總統任用大量官僚體系出身者,其中很多不是有藍營背景就是外省人,讓獨派大為光火,所謂「老藍男」的指摘,也是出自這些人之口。簡單說,獨派認為蔡英文政府「不夠獨」。

弔詭的是,當蔡總統與美國總統當選人川普成功通話,接著川普還發表一系列質疑美國一中政策的言論,照理說,獨派應該興高采烈隨之起舞,但這段時間,獨派卻異常低調。事實上,「英川通話」訊息一出,台灣內部確曾激起一陣熱議,很多人認為未來共和黨政府將會調整中國政策,將是台灣的機會。但這股風潮很快就被平息下去,除了獨派大老吳澧培在接受採訪時說出不反對當美國的棋子以外,其他人多保持沉默。

為什麼會出現如此奇怪的現象?其原因並不難理解,很多人已經提出警告,認為若台灣真的成為美國與大陸談判的籌碼,或者充當美國對抗大陸的棋子,首當其衝受害的當然只能是台灣。這不僅是因為共和黨政府歷來對中政策都會走過先硬後軟、先敵對後友好的路徑,更重要的是,川普的商人性格讓其更傾向於拿台灣來與大陸做交易,來爭取大陸在其他問題上的讓步或者配合,最讓台灣人有感的是,川普本人在社交平台上已經用近乎直白的語言指陳此事。

台灣獨派有一大特色,那就是知美派或者親美派當道,與最早期帶有濃厚日本皇民色彩的獨派不同,現在檯面上分量較高的獨派大老,通常都有美國的求學和事業背景,不僅在美國事業有成,也在美國政壇擁有大量人脈,對美國的兩岸政策也有著深入的鑽研,因而對美國的一中政策也有著清楚的認知。因此,當川普出現一系列暴衝言行後,他們也都能敏銳地意識到危機所在。

甚至歐巴馬站出來詳細闡述美國政府對台灣問題的一貫主張時,即便知道這對他們追求台獨的想法會有嚴重衝擊,他們也並未多置一詞。他們知道,美國對兩岸議題的態度就是維持現狀、戰略模糊,即便明言反對台獨,但美國政府也在實際動作上支持台灣的自主權不受侵犯,這也讓台灣得以擁有足夠的空間將這種自主權闡釋成為主權,以便與大陸的統一訴求相抗衡。但川普的作法打破了這一默契,導致了美、中、台三邊微妙關係的公開化,迫使歐巴馬不得不站出來打破這種模糊,這對從模糊中受益的台灣來說當然不是什麼好事。這一弔詭的演變過程,獨派恐怕比誰都更加了解。

蔡總統與他們的認知頗為類似,所以「英川通話」之後,蔡總統保持了高度的克制,並要求黨籍立委降低調門,不要過度宣揚此次通話的意義,也正是因為意識到危機的可能性,特別是來自大陸的反制,會讓美方失去過去的模糊空間。從這個角度看,蔡總統與獨派是有著充分的默契。

既然如此,為何獨派又表現出對蔡總統施政的強烈不滿,甚至不惜公開加以批評。從蔡總統勝選以來,包括近來的一系列表現來看,獨派恐怕只是醉翁之意不在酒,一直以來的台獨主張看似堅定不移,其實不過是他們爭取權力的憑藉,在他們看來,牢牢站穩獨派立場,並充當民進黨執政的基本盤,就可以獲得執政後的人事資源,而蔡總統出於穩定執政的考量,重用所謂「老藍男」,當然就損害到他們的利益,雙方有所齟齬也就在所難免。

而獨派的這些作法難道不正是民進黨一直以來的路數嗎?民進黨以訴諸台獨的立場,引爆台灣內部統獨之爭來升高族群對立,以達到凝聚更多選票的目的,每次選舉都屢試不爽,但當國民黨技術性地附和他們的主張,甚至要往前推一把時,他們的真面目就暴露出來,《公投法》修正議題上民進黨的進退失據,其實同樣可解釋獨派大老面對川普言行的糾結。

換言之,比起追隨他們的普羅大眾,民進黨特別是獨派大老們對當下美、中、台三邊關係了解得更為深入,對台獨的不可能性也當然知之甚詳,但明知不可為而為之,不是因為什麼理想,而終究是權力和利益的紛爭。只是他們為了自己的權與利,而不惜犧牲台灣的發展前途及兩岸關係的光明前景,未免過於自私了一些。好在如今已進入大變革的時代,許多黑天鵝的出現在讓世界格局處於變動的同時,也讓許多虛偽矯飾無所遁形。

Food Imports from Fukushima Prove that “Taiwan-Japanese Partnership” is a Cruel Hoax

Food Imports from Fukushima Prove that “Taiwan-Japanese Partnership” is a Cruel Hoax
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
December 27, 2016

Executive Summary: A Japanese academic recently commented on Taiwan-Japan relations and the ban on food imports from Japan’s nuclear disaster areas. He said “Japan is too strong and Taiwan is too eager to lift the ban on food products from the Fukushima nuclear disaster areas”. This is the best description yet of current Taiwan-Japan relations. Can Japan forgo its status as the “superior” in the relationship? Will it listen to public opinion on Taiwan? Can the DPP review the relationship between Taiwan and Japan in a pragmatic manner? Must it insist on pursuing a united front with Japan against Mainland China? Unless the DPP can cease its unilateral desire to pander to Japan in order to oppose Mainland China, it will continue to sacrifice ROC national interests.

Full Text Below:

Public hearings were recently convened on food imports from nuclear disaster areas in Japan. Public protests have erupted one after another, and are unlikely to end any time soon. Meanwhile the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that the Japanese government is angry because Taiwan continues to limit food imports from nuclear disaster areas in Japan. Therefore Japan has suspended the “Taiwan-Japan Economic Partnership Committee”, and ended “Taiwan-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement” (EPA) negotiations. Earlier rumors that the government sought to allow food imports from nuclear disaster areas in Japan, in exchange for Japan signing the EPA, were apparently well founded.

Actually this is not the first time Taiwan and Japan have clashed since Tsai Ing-wen came to power. The “Taiwan-Japan Cooperation Dialogue on Ocean Affairs” was originally scheduled for late July. It was postponed to late October over the South China Sea “arbitration” case. When it convened in late October, observers wondered whether the government intended to trade our territorial sovereignty for mere fishing privileges in Cong Zhi Niao Reef, aka “Okinotoroshima”. The meeting was hastily concluded, and each side provided its own media spin. Taiwan-Japan negotiations have repeatedly run aground. One can only wonder how the DPP must feel, having long professed its undying friendship for Japan.

Think back to Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to Japan last July. The Japanese had high expectations from the DPP as ruling party. Abe’s younger brother, Shinohiko, accompanied Tsai Ing-wen on a visit to Abe’s hometown, to highlight friendship between the DPP and Japan. The Japanese government deliberately arranged an “unexpected meeting” between Tsai and Abe in a restaurant penthouse, to show the close alliance between the two sides. Alas, Japan’s lofty expectations have been tempered by harsh political realities, and the tacit understanding between the two sides has yet to withstand the test of public opinion on Taiwan.

The October “Taiwan-Japan Conference on Ocean Affairs Cooperation Dialogue” has concluded with nothing to show. Many in the DPP assume the reason was KMT objections and anti-Japanese sentiment. In fact, most people on Taiwan consider Cong Zhi Niao Reef sovereignty and fishing rights to be inseparable. They refuse to trade territorial sovereignty for mere fishing privileges. That is clearly how the public feels. The ruling DPP has accused the KMT of irrational obstructionism over food imports from Japan’s nuclear disaster areas. In fact the public vehemently opposes the importation of food products from Japan’s nuclear disaster areas. The KMT holds a minority of the seats in the legislature. It is hardly in a position to manipulate public opinion.

This shows that current problems in Taiwan-Japan relations are not due to intense opposition from the KMT. Nor are they due to close relations between the Taiwan and Japanese governments, but rather the long-standing, unequal relationship between Taiwan and Japan. The public on Taiwan is angry at the Tsai government for blindly kowtowing to Japan. It has lashed out in response. Current problems in Taiwan-Japan relations are the result of a disconnect between the framework of the relationship and the reality.

First consider the framework of the unequal relationship between Taiwan and Japan. The DPP and the Japanese government may share anti-China sentiments. But the relationship between the DPP and Japan has long been an unequal one. The Japanese government has always taken its national interests as its starting point. It has always presumed to be Taiwan’s superior and dictated Taiwan’s role. The DPP has used Japan as a weapon against Mainland China. But it has utterly neglected Taiwan’s own interests. When Taiwan seeks more from Japan than Japan seeks from Taiwan, the DPP’s wishful thinking becomes apparent. The DPP ignores Japan’s pragmatism. Japan insists that Taiwan must first lift its ban on food imports from the Fukushima nuclear disaster area. Only then will Japan consent to resume negotiations over the Taiwan-Japan economic and trade agreement. This is why.

Second, the Taiwan government and the Japanese government have both ignored public opinion on Taiwan. Japan has relied too much on DPP government authority, and ignored the volatility of public opinion on Taiwan. Public support for Tsai Ing-wen has plummeted, avalanche like, in three short months. This has made it difficult, if not impossible for Tsai Ing-wen to lift the ban on food imports from Japan’s nuclear disaster areas.

Third, the DPP has underestimated the intensity of domestic public opinion against food imports from Japan’s nuclear disaster areas. In a panic, the Tsai government convened 10 public hearings over three short days, in the hope that it could ram the bill through the legislature. This heavy handed, top down approach provoked a powerful backlash, increasing opposition. During the “Taiwan-Japan Economic and Trade Conference”, the Chairman of the Japan Association for the Promotion of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (GIEF) Yasuo Fukuoka, violated a tacit agreement to avoid criticizing Taiwan. He was impatient with the Tsai government’s tardy handling of the situation. In the process he revealed Japan’s political arrogance.

A Japanese academic recently commented on Taiwan-Japan relations and the ban on food imports from Japan’s nuclear disaster areas. He said “Japan is too strong and Taiwan is too eager to lift the ban on food products from the Fukushima nuclear disaster areas”. This is the best description yet of current Taiwan-Japan relations. Can Japan forgo its status as the “superior” in the relationship? Will it listen to public opinion on Taiwan? Can the DPP review the relationship between Taiwan and Japan in a pragmatic manner? Must it insist on pursuing a united front with Japan against Mainland China? Unless the DPP can cease its unilateral desire to pander to Japan in order to oppose Mainland China, it will continue to sacrifice ROC national interests.

反核食揭露台日夥伴關係的假面
2016-12-27 聯合報

反核食公聽會最近重新召開,持續發生民眾抗議場面,一時恐難善了。與此同時,外交部也證實,日本政府因不滿台灣持續管制日本核災食品,因此暫停召開「台日經濟夥伴委員會」,進而使「台日經濟夥伴協議」(EPA)談判宣告停擺。先前傳出蔡政府擬以解禁日本核食以換取台日簽署EPA,如今看來,並非空穴來風。

這其實不是蔡英文上台後台日兩國首度觸礁事件。原本預定在今年七月底召開的「台日海洋事務合作對話會議」,即因為南海仲裁案出爐,而被推遲到十月底舉行。十月底召開時,更因為外界質疑蔡政府擬以沖之鳥的「主權換漁權」,而讓這項會議在各說各話下倉促落幕。台日談判接連觸礁,對一向自詡為親日的民進黨政府,真是情何以堪。

回顧去年七月蔡英文的訪日之行,日方為了表示對民進黨即將執政的高度期待,不僅由安倍的胞弟岸信夫全程陪同蔡英文參訪安倍的故鄉,以凸顯民進黨與日本情誼之深厚;日本政府更刻意安排蔡英文與安倍在餐廳閣樓的「不期而遇」,以顯示雙方緊密的價值同盟。然而,日本再高的期待似乎不敵政治現實的考驗,雙方再多的默契仍必須接受台灣民意的試煉。

十月的「台日海洋事務合作對話會議」不了了之,民進黨不少人認為,是國民黨杯葛及社會親中反日的意識形態作祟所致。事實上,堅持沖之鳥的主權與漁權不可分割,一直是台灣多數民眾的基本態度;不以主權交換漁權,也是國內民意的最大公約數。至於解禁日本核食的難產,執政黨將之歸咎於國民黨的無理杯葛,事實上,若非民眾對日本核食具有強烈反感,已淪為國會少數的國民黨恐無能力指引民意。

由此可見,當前台日關係的難題,並不在於國民黨的強力反對,也不在於台日政府關係不夠緊密,而是在台日長期不對等的關係下,台灣民意對於蔡政府對日本的盲目屈從感到不滿,並因而反撲,這是結構面與現實面碰撞的結果。

首先,談台日不對等關係的結構面。蔡政府上台之後,民進黨與日本政府雖具有共同的反中立場,但台日間不對等關係的格局並未因之改變,日本仍一如過去完全以其國家利益為出發點,且以「上國」之姿來指導台灣。至於民進黨,則和以往一樣,把日本當成抗衡中國的利器,卻對台灣自身的利益缺乏完整考量。也正因為如此,在台灣有求於日本多於日本有求於台灣時,會讓民進黨對日本有一廂情願的幻覺,從而輕忽日本務實的本性。日本堅持台灣先要解禁福島核災食品,台日兩國才有可能啟動台日經貿協議談判,原因正在於此。

其次,談台日兩國政府忽視台灣民意的現實面。日本過度「靠勢」民進黨執政的權力,卻忽視台灣民意的多變性。安倍政府以為,完全執政的蔡英文應該是無所不能;殊不知,蔡英文的民意支持度在短短三個月即面臨雪崩式下滑,這讓蔡英文面對解禁日本核食議題顯得難以著力。

另一方面,民進黨也低估了國內民意對於進口核災食品的反對。蔡政府在三天內匆匆開了十場公聽會,急欲強行通過此案,這種霸王硬上弓的作風反而助長了反撲的火勢,使事態擴大。日本交流協會會長大橋光夫在「台日經貿會議」上,違背默契說出責備台灣的重話,當然是對蔡政府的處理能力感到不耐,卻也暴露了日本高調指導政局的傲慢。

一位日本學者最近評論台日關係說:「在解禁福島食品輸台問題上,日本太強勢,台灣太急促。」這正是對當前台日關係的最佳寫照。日本若不能放下「上國」的身段,好好傾聽台灣民意,只會讓台日兩國人民的情感越來越遠;反觀,民進黨若不能務實地看待台日關係,只片面追求聯日抗中,恐將喪失國家利益。

One China Policy and the Washington, Beijing, Taipei Relationship

One China Policy and the Washington, Beijing, Taipei Relationship
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
December 22, 2016

Executive Summary: Will Donald Trump abandon the one China policy? He has at least loosened it. Some predict he will eventually return to the one China policy. Others think he may even restore diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and defend Taiwan. These are all mere speculation, because Trump is highly unpredictable.

Full Text Below:

Will Donald Trump abandon the one China policy? He has at least loosened it. Some predict he will eventually return to the one China policy. Others think he may even restore diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and defend Taiwan. These are all mere speculation, because Trump is highly unpredictable.

The following is an attempt to analyze the situation from the perspective of Washington, Beijing, and Taipei.

Trump’s action can be viewed from three levels. On the first level, he sees himself as the “Kim Jong-un of the United States”. He wants to dominate the situation with slippery but shallow rhetoric. To some extent, he has already done this. But this sort of “ranting politics” can only increase hostility, worsen the situation, and leave problems unresolved. On the second level, we have the commercialization of the one China policy. In fact, Trump wants to commercialize all international strategic cooperation, including the relationship between the United States and South Korea and Japan. If Beijing wants the United States to abide by the one China policy, it must pay a “user fee”. But this approach, as Richard Bush noted, would forfeit the moral high ground, thereby undermining the one China policy. Moreover, the US-China economic and trade relationship, generally speaking, is mutually beneficial. Harming Mainland China will not necessarily benefit the US. The room for political intervention is limited.

The third level demands close attention. Is Trump using non-recognition of the one China policy to prevent China’s rise? First of all, if the United States abandons its one China policy, will that really stop China’s rise? Second, if Trump does not want the US to be the world’s policeman, but abandons the one China policy and stirs up trouble in the Asia-Pacific region, won’t he be adding fuel to the fire? Third, abandoning the one China policy in order to change US China economic and trade relations, is no way to solve the problem. Fourth, abandoning the one China policy will seriously undermine US-China relations. Trump is a businessman. Does he really want such a lose/lose outcome? Trump’s move cannot prevent China’s rise. Even abandoning the one China policy cannot prevent China’s eventual rise. If Trump does this, he will be no wiser than Kim Jong-un.

Beijing’s response can also be viewed from three levels. On the first level, it can refuse to lower itself to the level of a Kim Jong-un. It can exercise restraint in its official words and deeds. It can use its official media to respond to Trump personally. This would effectively talk down to Trump. On the second level, if the one China policy is “negotiable”, and can be abandoned, it will highlight the United States’ moral perfidy. Beijing would emerge the winner. If the one China policy is reduced to a matter of quid pro quo, to the level of a business deal, Beijing actually holds plenty of chips. On the third level, Beijing and the United States can continue to clash without severing relations. Taiwan will remain constrained by the one China principle. It will prevent the realization of Taiwan independence. If the US abandons its one China policy, that will not change the cross-Strait strategic scenario. This would then test Trump’s bottom line. Does he want to resolve the cross-Strait issue, or worsen cross-Strait relations?

Taiwan’s response can also be viewed from three levels. On the first level, the Tsai government and much of the public do not consider Trump’s move undiluted good news. They are deeply alarmed. Their reaction is the result of years of experience, in office and out. On the second level, Trump is selling the one China policy not just to Beijing, but also to Taipei. This policy is a double-edged sword, and is being sold to two buyers. The loss of the moral high ground and the sense of responsibility in US China policy would constitute a huge loss for Taiwan and pose a hidden danger.

The most serious problem will be found on the third level. As previously noted, Trump has desecrated the formerly sacrosanct one China policy. How will the Tsai government interpret this? Will it take advantage of this? Will Tsai move toward the “Republic of China” and “one China, different interpretations”? Or will she move toward backdoor listing or de jure Taiwan independence? It all depends on whether the Tsai government will correctly assess its strategic situation.

At this point, the Tsai government may be able to take advantage of the “Republic of China” and “one China, different interpretations”. But if it continues to resort to backdoor listing and de-Sinicization, or if it fails to prevent a “national referendum” on Taiwan independence, it will place Taiwan in danger.

As the above situation shows, we must see whether Washington, Beijing, and Taipei can correctly assess their own strategic circumstances. This will determine what they do. Does Trump want to prevent the rise of China? If he does, he must do certain things. Common sense would suggest that he does not. But Trump is not bound by common sense. Will Beijing tolerate backdoor listing or Taiwan independence? That too will require different strategies. All one can be certain of, is that Beijing will not accept it. As for Taiwan, Trump has shaken the one China policy. Will Tsai attempt to dispense with the one China principle? Or will she safeguard cross-Strait relations by returning to the one China principle and one China, different interpretations? This too requires the serious evaluation of different strategies.

The Tsai government must ask itself what it must do in response to cross-Strait realities, regardless of what Trump does.

一中政策 美中台三邊三層次
2016-12-22 聯合報

川普不知會不會拋棄一中政策,至少他已鬆動了一中政策。有人預言他終究會回到一中政策,但也有人勁爆推測他甚至可能與台灣恢復邦交,並協防台灣。這些猜測皆是未知數,因為他是川普,他的特徵是不可預測。
以下,試從美中台三方面分析情勢:

川普的操作,有三個層次。第一層,他將自己當作「美國的金正恩」,想用滑邊但不具縱深的語言去左右情勢。在某種程度上,他似已做到了這一點。但這種「罵街政治」,其實可能只是提升敵意、惡化情勢,沒有解決問題的效能。第二層,將一中政策商品化。事實上,川普也想將一切國際戰略合作商品化──包括美國與韓日的關係,如果北京想要美國維繫一中政策,也必須「使用者付費」。但如此一來,就如卜睿哲所說,一中政策就失去了道德高度,成為對一中政策的最大傷害。何況,美中經貿現況,大致上是在互利情勢上進行,損人未必利己,政治介入的空間有限。

必須嚴肅面對的是第三層,川普是否要藉此阻擋或摧毀中國崛起。一、美國拋棄一中政策,就真能阻擋中國崛起嗎?二、川普不願做世界警察,但拋棄一中政策攪動了亞太情勢,豈不是澆油救火?三、放棄一中政策,與調整美中經貿關係恐怕不是一路的問題。四、放棄一中政策,將嚴重撕裂美中關係,川普這個生意人,難道有魚死網破的意志?倘若川普的操作,不具摧毀中國崛起的縱深,或即使拋棄一中政策也終究阻擋不了中國的崛起,一切就可能回到金正恩的層次。

北京的操作,也有三個層次。第一層,拒絕與「金正恩」一般見識,官方的言行節制,用官媒及個體回應川普,這是下駟對上駟。第二層,如果一中政策有了「可交易性」,顯示美國並非在道德責任上持守一中政策,這反而成為北京的收穫。既然是交易,在商言商,北京的籌碼還算寬裕。第三層,北京與美國可以維持鬥而不破的局面,但若能繼續將台灣框限在「一中原則」中,使台獨不致實現,則美國即使放棄一中政策,也不能改變兩岸情勢,這就考驗川普操作的縱深如何。他到底想化解兩岸問題,或惡化兩岸關係?

台灣的操作,也可從三個層次談。第一層,無論蔡政府或社會輿論,非但未將川普的操作視為片面的喜訊,反而多所戒懼,這是朝野多年憂懼歷練而漸趨成熟的表徵。第二層,川普非但要將一中政策作價賣給北京,也要將它賣給台灣;一個政策,正反兩面,賣給兩個買主。美國一中政策道德性與責任感的喪失,是台灣最大的損失與隱患。

最嚴重的在第三層。前文指出,川普畢竟搖撼了原本如神主牌一般的一中政策,蔡政府如何解讀及運用其中可能出現的空間?是朝「中華民國/一中各表」的方向走?還是朝借殼上市或法理台獨的方向走?這就要看蔡政府如何正確評估自己可能操作的戰略縱深。

此時,蔡政府或許可以趁勢爭取「中華民國/一中各表」的空間,但若繼續操作借殼上市的去中國化,或無力防止獨派「國歌公投」等操作,皆將使台灣陷於僵局危地。

以上情勢,要看美中台三方如何各自正確評估自己的戰略縱深。所謂縱深,就是你到底要如何。川普是否會以摧毀中國崛起為目標,那將有不同的操作。合理的預估是他不會,但川普不能以常理計。北京是否會以容許台灣借殼上市或台獨為縱深,那也會有不同的操作。唯可確定,北京不會接受。至於台灣,在川普作態要搖動一中政策時,蔡政府究竟想趁勢甩掉「一中原則」,或反而必須回到「一中原則/一中各表」以維護兩岸關係,以免被川普玩弄,這也是對於不同戰略縱深的嚴肅考量。

蔡政府必須評估,不論川普要怎麼玩弄,兩岸到底要如何?

Diplomatic Setbacks: The Tsai Government Must Consider the National Interest

Diplomatic Setbacks: The Tsai Government Must Consider the National Interest
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
December 23, 2016

Executive Summary: After eight years of diplomatic truce, Sao Tome and Principe have suddenly broken off relations with Taipei. Many are angry and uneasy. Beijing persuaded a diplomatic ally to switch sides because the Tsai government refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus. That was entirely predictable. The Trump Tsai phone call resulted in Trump opening fire on the Mainland, and accelerated the process.

Full Text Below:

After eight years of diplomatic truce, Sao Tome and Principe have suddenly broken off relations with Taipei. Many are angry and uneasy. Beijing persuaded a diplomatic ally to switch sides because the Tsai government refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus. That was entirely predictable. The Trump Tsai phone call resulted in Trump opening fire on the Mainland, and accelerated the process.

The first domino has fallen. if we do not want to see a second or even third and fourth domino fall, what countermeasures must the Tsai government take? Unfortunately, public statements by President Tsai personally and others following high-level national security meetings, indicate that no new strategies are in sight. All we see are replays of the “Pity poor Taiwan” card from the Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian eras. This is more regrettable than any severing of diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Sao Tome and Principe broke off relations with Taipei. President Tsai called on government agencies charged with national security and foreign affairs to consider countermeasures. She made three points. One. The government will help allies via “pragmatic diplomacy”. But it need not compete with Beijing over checkbook diplomacy. Two. Cross-Strait relations do not conflict with participation in international affairs. The government considers Beijing’s handling of the one China principle regrettable. Three. Government agencies charged with fiscal and economic affairs should continue to focus on foreign exchange matters and their impact on the stock market. These three points are tired cliches. Not one of them has any relevance to events over the past 20 years. The government is merely consoling itself. The presidential office even resorted to indignation and sensationalism to fan public sentiment. It retreated instead of advanced in its thinking.

Sao Tome and Principle broke off relations with Taipei. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs underscored Sao Tome and Principe’s demand for 200 million USD in financial aid. It created the impression among the Taiwan public that Sao Tome and Principle was “greedy”, and “unscrupulous”. But this is the reality of international politics. This tiny island took advantage of the contradiction between the Mainland and Taiwan. It used it as leverage. This is the way small nations pursue their national interests. The Tsai government can only blame the diplomatic quarrel between the two sides of the Strait. This presented other nations with opportunities to exploit. Besides, how is this any different from the Tsai government’s pandering to the United States and Japan?

Furthermore, so-called “checkbook diplomacy” is ugly beyond compare. But suppose we use it in a positive manner, for humanitarian assistance? Suppose we use it to help our allies grow their economies, or establish medical or educational facilities? This would increase our participation in international activities and our international visibility. Unfortunately, when Taiwan was knee deep in money, we merely bought other nations off with money. We failed to establish a reputation as an international benefactor. Taiwan is no longer so flush. We can no longer compete with the Mainland in checkbook diplomacy. We now blame our allies for demanding too much money. If we fail to resolve these contradictions as Taiwan’s economic competitiveness declines and our diplomatic arrogance increases, how can we possibly address our diplomatic plight?

The loss of diplomatic relations with Sao Tome and Principe is not that frightening. After all, it is only a tiny island off the coast of Africa with 150,000 people and 1,000 hectares of land area. The question is, who do we have to lose before we really begin to worry? Who do we have to maintain diplomatic relations with before we really feel we have dignity? Political debate on Taiwan has long been a mile wide and an inch deep. The government’s reaction to severed diplomatic relations has been to blame Beijing, denounce those nations that broke off relations, or issue panicky and empty declarations. Seldom if ever has the government reflected upon or changed its strategy and tactics. This time was no exception. Even more surprising, David Lee insisted that the severed relations had no relationship with the 1992 Consensus. Tsai Ing-wen said the move was directed against everyone in the nation. How can people this evasive honestly confront reality?

Severed diplomatic relations are not that frightening. What is frightening is the government’s aimlessness and blindness, and its ability to lead people around by the nose. Take cross-Strait relations. The ROC must strive for equality, dignity, and visibility. That goes without saying. But the international reality means that equality, dignity, and visibility cannot be achieved through confrontation or impassioned propaganda. It can only be achieved by quietly working behind the scenes on critical issues. The DPP, sad to say, is not good at this. The DPP demands instant results. The DPP is good at springing short-term surprises and launching surprise attacks. These tactics, unfortunately, do not work well on the diplomatic front. Even if they win battles, they cannot win wars. This is clear from the defeats at the WHO annual meeting, the ICAO Assembly, and Interpol.

Tsai Ing-wen needs to be less DPP-centric, and more concerned with the national interest. Only then will she be able to see what her diplomatic strategy ought to be.

外交受挫 政府要務實思考國家利益
2016-12-23 聯合報

歷經八年外交休兵的平靜,台灣突然面對聖多美普林西比宣布斷交,許多民眾難免感到憤怒與不安。事實上,在蔡政府拒絕承認九二共識後,中共藉機奪取我邦交國以為威嚇,已在預料之中;只不過,「川蔡通電」觸發川普對中國大陸開砲,加速了台聖斷交的過程。

在第一張骨牌倒下後,如果我們不願意再看到第二張、甚至第三、第四張骨牌繼續被推倒;那麼,蔡政府可有什麼對策?遺憾的是,從蔡總統的談話及隨後召開的國安高層會議,民眾看不到新思維或新戰略,只看到李、扁時代的「悲情牌」借屍還魂。這點,其實是比台灣「被斷交」還可悲的事。

在台聖宣告斷交後,蔡總統召集國安、外交部門研商對策,並作出三點裁示。第一,要本著平等互惠的「踏實外交」原則協助友邦發展,但不必與中共作金錢競逐;第二,兩岸的國際參與彼此並無衝突,中共操作「一中原則」令人遺憾;第三,財經部門應持續關注外交事件對股匯市的影響。這三項裁示皆是萬古老調,沒有一點超越近廿年的思維,而比較像是政府的自我寬慰;甚至,總統府用了義憤填膺的煽情手法來訴諸選民,心態上反顯得倒退。

這次聖多美普林西比與我斷交,外交部刻意強調聖國索求兩億美元之金援未遂,意圖製造民眾對該國「貪得無饜」、「見利忘義」之惡感。事實上,回到國際政治的現實,這個蕞爾小島利用一中一台的矛盾居間槓桿取利,這是小國追逐國家利益之道;要怪只能怪兩岸畸形的外交競逐,提供了該國鑽營的機會。何況,蔡政府親美媚日以抗中的身段,與此有多少差別?

進一步看,所謂「金錢外交」,今天看來固然醜陋無比,但如果善用其光明面進行海外人道援助,協助友邦發展經濟、醫療或教育等建設,其實可以為台灣創造可觀的國際參與成績,也是提升國家能見度的好機會。遺憾的是,在台灣錢「淹腳目」的時代,我們只想用暴發戶手段花錢買外交,卻未能積極經營海外援助的形象;而如今台灣手頭不再寬裕,在經援資金上競爭不過對岸,遂反過來責怪友邦需索無度。這樣的矛盾情結若不設法解開,台灣物質上的競爭條件變弱,外交上的自大心態卻日甚一日,我們的外交困境如何可能有解?

失去聖多美普林西比的邦交,其實並沒有那麼可怕;畢竟,這只是個人口才十五萬、面積僅一千公頃的非洲外海小島。問題是,我們要失去誰,才會真正感到憂心?我們要維持與誰的邦交,才讓台灣感到尊嚴?多年來,在台灣的淺碟政治下,政府對斷交的反應,除了指責中共、謾罵斷交對象作情緒發洩,或者說些處變不驚的空話,很少從基本國家戰略面來反省及調整政府的目標和手段;這次的反應,幾不例外。更令人吃驚的是,李大維說斷交「無關九二共識」,蔡英文說打壓是針對全體國人;這樣東遮西掩的邏輯,又怎麼可能有誠懇面對現實的心?

斷交並不可怕,可怕的是政府漫無目標的盲動,又胡亂號召人民跟隨它走向不知何方。以兩岸關係為例,台灣當然必須極力爭取對等與尊嚴,爭取國家的能見度。但在國際現實環境中,所謂對等尊嚴與能見度,並非僅靠著對抗或激情喊話即能達成,而必須隱微地在關鍵處下工夫,必須靠長期的經營耕耘成果。但是,這些正好是急功近利、貪功躁進的民進黨最不擅長的事。民進黨喜歡的是短線驚奇,擅長的是發動奇襲;然而,這些招術在外交陣線往往卻不管用,就算儌倖贏得一役,也贏不了戰爭。這些,從世衛組織年會、國際民航組織大會,國際刑警組織大會的交鋒落敗,其實已一目了然。

蔡英文只要少一點民進黨自我中心、多一點國家利益考量,外交戰略自然能更清晰。

Washington’s Status Quo Approximates Beijing’s One Country, Two Systems

Washington’s Status Quo Approximates Beijing’s One Country, Two Systems
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
December 20, 2016

Executive Summary: The East Asian and global strategic situation is changing. Relations between Washington, Beijing, and Taipei are sure to become more turbulent. Taiwan has no say in the changes that may be coming. The only thing it can do is clarify its position, drop anchor, and avoid being tossed by the waves. Taiwan must grasp two principles. Principle One. It must continue to issue goodwill gestures toward the Mainland, and improve public understanding. Two. Its diplomacy must be independent. It must not opportunistically cozy up to the United States and Japan. The status quo closely approximates one China, two systems. Therefore it must not lightly depart from the status quo.

Full Text Below:

During a year end White House press conference, President Barack Obama talked about relations between Washington, Beijing, and Taipei. He said Washington’s one China policy has maintained the status quo among Washington, Beijing, and Taipei. Obama stressed that Washington’s one China policy ensured stability in the Taiwan Strait. He hoped to dispel Donald Trump’s doubts about the One China Policy. But Obama also blurted out the “unmentionable secret” in the three-way relationship among Washington, Beijing, and Taipei.

According to Obama, Washington’s one China policy acknowledges that both sides of the Taiwan Strait insist that there is only one China, and as long as people on Taiwan enjoy a certain degree of autonomy, they will not declare independence. Since Washington and Taipei broke off diplomatic ties, Washington has been using the one China policy to control cross-Strait relations. It has urged Beijing to resolve the Taiwan issue peacefully. It has also urged Taipei not to go down the road toward Taiwan independence.

Taiwan independence elements are indignant. They think Obama disrespected public opinion on Taiwan. But their criticisms selectively ignore Taiwan’s political realities. During the presidential election, candidates from both parties either sent representatives to Washington to explain their cross-Strait policy stance, or went there in person. Had Washington concluded that their stance was contrary to US policy, it would have objected publicly. This could have impacted the election.

Tsai Ing-wen’s defeat in 2012 was a clear example. During the 2016 election, Washington vetted Tsai Ing-wen. That was a clear example of the opposite result. In fact, if a sitting ROC president defies US policy, the US will also “manage” him or her, the way it did when Chen Shui-bian was president. In other words, no political party on Taiwan, advocating any sort of policy, can refuse to “maintain the status quo” in cross-Strait relations. The US government is committed to safeguarding the principle that “Both sides of the Strait are Chinese, both sides of the Strait are one country”. It is also committed to the premise that “The two sides each have their own model of government. Taiwan has its own mode of development”.

Specifically, the US presents two-way guarantees and norms for the two sides of the Strait. For the Mainland, the US acknowledges that both sides of the Strait are part of one country. Washington may not be involved in resolving the Taiwan issue. But it clearly makes every effort to ensure that Taiwan does not move toward independence. The United States is committed to maintaining the status quo on Taiwan, without interference from the Mainland, and to ensuring that Taiwan enjoyes a high degree of autonomy.

To some extent, the One China Policy maintained by the US over the past 40 years amounts to “one country, two systems”. That “both sides of the Taiwan Strait insist that there is only one China” implies “one China”, and “autonomy for Taiwan” implies “two systems”. The real dispute is merely over who represents China? The Mainland has never repudiated one country, two systems. Deng Xiaoping said that under one country, two systems, Taiwan could retain its military. Some worry that one country, two systems would reduce Taiwan to the status of Hong Kong. But Xi Jinping has said that Taiwan’s one country, two systems would differ from Hong Kong and Macao’s. In other words, what sort of entity would Taiwan be? The Mainland has not actually delineated this.

For the Mainland, when it comes to Hong Kong, Macao, or Taiwan, the key issue is sovereignty and national unity. As long these remain under the one China framework, internal differences will be respected. That is the core meaning of one country, two systems. Unfortunately, it has become Politically Incorrect on Taiwan, rendering rational evaluation and debate impossible.

Throw off the shackles of “us vs. them” thinking, and one country, two systems will not be as intolerable as people on Taiwan have imagined. One country, two systems has run into problems in Hong Kong. But it has been in effect nearly 20 years, and maintained freedom and prosperity for Hong Kong society. This shows that the system is sound. Furthermore, the Republic of China exercises sovereignty over the Taiwan Region and its nationals. Any arrangement or change involving sovereignty would require the consent of the entire population. This is entirely different from the transfer of sovereignty from Britain to the Mainland in 1997. Taipei must consider the pros and cons of one country, two systems objectively. It must establish the most favorable conditions under such a system, rather than rejecting it out of hand.

The key is the DPP government and whether it is willing to reach a consensus with the Mainland on the one China principle. According to Obama, cross-Strait relations and the Washington Taipei relationship are based on the one China framework. If the DPP government insists on rejecting the one China framework, it will lose any footing it might have had in cross-Strait relations. More troublesome still, cross-Strait relations are now riddled with uncertainty. President elect Trump has indicated his willingness to make a deal with the Mainland over the one China policy. The Mainland has two choices. One choice is to make a deal with the US. The US would abandon its one China policy. Taiwan would be forced to accept “reunification without dignity”. The other choice is to issue a warning to Taiwan, or even move against Taiwan, and deprive the US of its bargaining chip.

The East Asian and global strategic situation is changing. Relations between Washington, Beijing, and Taipei are sure to become more turbulent. Taiwan has no say in the changes that may be coming. The only thing it can do is clarify its position, drop anchor, and avoid being tossed by the waves. Taiwan must grasp two principles. Principle One. It must continue to issue goodwill gestures toward the Mainland, and improve public understanding. Two. Its diplomacy must be independent. It must not opportunistically cozy up to the United States and Japan. The status quo closely approximates one China, two systems. Therefore it must not lightly depart from the status quo.

美國的維持現狀 大陸的一國兩制
2016/12/21 中國時報

歐巴馬在白宮年終記者會罕見談到美中台關係,強調是在美國一個中國政策原則下,維持了美中台之間的「不改變現狀」默契。歐巴馬的用意在強調,美國一中政策是維繫台海穩定的基礎,希望平衡川普對一中政策的質疑。不過,歐巴馬也說出了美中台三邊關係「不能說的祕密」。

依據歐巴馬的敘述,美國一中政策的核心在「認知海峽兩岸中國人均堅持一個中國」,同時「台灣人民同意,只要能在某種程度自主下持續運作,就不會宣布獨立」。自美台斷交後,美國一直藉此管控兩岸關係,不光敦促大陸應和平解決,也要求台灣不能走台獨之路。

台灣獨派對歐巴馬的說法不以為然,認為沒有尊重台灣民意,但這種批評是選擇性忽略台灣的政治現實。歷次總統大選期間,兩黨候選人都親自或派代表赴美說明兩岸政策立場,美國若認為違反美國政策,就會以某種形式表達立場,就會對選情造成一定的影響。

2012年蔡英文落選就是鮮明例子,2016年大選美國表態支持蔡英文,又是鮮明的反向例子。甚至在職總統若違反美國政策,美國也會出手「管理」,陳水扁時代事蹟昭昭。亦即台灣無論哪一黨,無論他們主張何種政策,在兩岸關係真實作為上,不會跳脫「維持現狀」框架。可以說,美國政府致力維護的是「兩岸都是中國人、兩岸一國」及「兩岸採行不同運作方式,台灣是自有發展方式的實體」。

具體而言,美國對兩岸提出雙向保證與規範,對大陸而言,美國認知兩岸同屬一國,美國雖不介入台灣問題的解決,但明確反對並極力確保台灣不會走向獨立。對台灣而言,美國致力維持台灣政治運作現狀不受大陸干預,保障台灣的高度自治。

其實,某種程度而言,美國過去40年來致力的「美國版一中政策」,某種程度就是「一國兩制」,「兩岸均堅持一個中國」就是「一國」,「獨立運作實體」就是「兩制」,爭議只是誰代表中國?大陸從未否定一國兩制台灣的實體地位,鄧小平曾經說過,台灣若施行「一國兩制」將可以保有自己的軍隊。有的人擔心實施「一國兩制」,台灣會變成香港,但習近平也說過,台灣實施的「一國兩制」,有別於香港、澳門,台灣有自己的模式,換句話說,台灣是一個什麼樣的實體,大陸並沒有劃出界線。

就大陸而言,無論是港澳問題還是台灣問題,最重要是主權完整和國家統一,只要是在一中框架之下,內部運作都會予以尊重。這是「一國兩制」的核心意涵,可惜在台灣早已成為政治不正確,失去理性評估、討論的意願與能力。

若拋開敵我意識的桎梏,應該會發現「一國兩制」並不像台灣社會想像的那麼不堪。「一國兩制」在香港的運作雖然遭遇了一些問題,但也持續運行接近20年,並延續了香港社會的生活自由與經濟繁榮,足以說明這一制度的合理性。何況台灣主權屬於中華民國及其國民,任何涉及主權的安排與改變,都須經全體國民同意,這與香港主權屬於英國,97年由英國政府移交中國完全不同。台灣應該客觀思考一國兩制的利弊得失,創造最有利的條件,而非對抗性全盤否定。

現在的關鍵在於,民進黨政府是否願意與大陸就一中原則達成共識。依據歐巴馬的陳述,兩岸關係及美台關係基礎在一中框架,民進黨政府若堅持拒絕接受一中框架,不但兩岸關係失去依附,美台關係也可能地動山搖。更麻煩的是,兩岸關係已陷入高度不確定性與一定的危險性,即將就任美國總統的川普卻表明願與大陸交易一個中國政策。大陸可能有兩個選擇,一是與美國交易,美國放棄一中政策,台灣接受「沒有尊嚴的統一」命運,一是對台灣殺雞儆猴,甚至直取台灣,讓美國失去交易籌碼。

東亞及全球戰略格局正在重新調整,美中台關係勢必劇烈動盪,台灣在這場可能地動山搖的變動中完全沒有發言權,唯一可以做的是明確自己的定位,放下船錨,不隨海潮波濤擺盪。台灣應把握兩個原則,一、持續對大陸發出善意訊號,發展民共共識,二、獨立外交,切勿趁勢倒向美日。對大陸而言,現狀距離一國兩制最近,不可輕言打破。