Fri, Mar 04, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Chen-Soong consensus revives civil war rivalry

By Chin Heng-wei 金恆煒

An interesting thing has come about. In 2000, Beijing announced in a white paper entitled One China Principle and the Taiwan Question that the Republic of China (ROC) had already been replaced by the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. Since, in Beijing's understanding, the ROC no longer exists, why would it choose to resort to force rather than allow Taiwan to "negate" the existence of the ROC?

Beijing considers the ROC to be a remnant of the civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and thus the cause for "re-unification" with Taiwan is a sacred mission for all Chinese. Once Taiwan is "liberated," the ROC will be history.

Beijing's intention in enacting an "anti-secession" law is simply to cover up its inability to "liberate" and "re-unify" Taiwan. However, so long as Taiwan continues to retain the name "ROC," the old framework of the civil war between the CCP and the KMT remains in place.

Following the transition of power in 2000, Taiwan absolutely had an opportunity to reverse this historical process and distance itself further from China to resolve what China calls the continuation of the civil war. After the KMT's defeat in the presidential elections in 2000 and last year, the antagonistic situation between the KMT and the CCP no longer exists. What remains is this phoney name: the ROC. Therefore, the ultimate goal of Taiwan's democratization is very obvious.

To deliver a goodwill gesture to the People First Party (PFP), President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) announced in a summit with PFP leader James Soong (宋楚瑜) last week that the ROC is the common denominator for both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Politically, the announcement recognized that the civil war between the KMT and the CCP has yet to end.

In addition, Chen did not say if he was forced into making this announcement because the opposition parties hold a legislative majority or because he was under pressure from the US. The moment the 10-point agreement reached between Chen and Soong was released, it provoked a backlash within both the green and blue camps. The agreement has shown how terrifying it is to have the "ROC" as a national title.

First, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) proposed reconciliation between the KMT and the CCP. What does that mean? Negotiations between the KMT and the CCP are just a continuation of the civil war. When interviewed by the media, Soong even spoke of "one China" under the framework of a confederation. Who authorized the chairman of a small opposition party to make such an impetuous remark?

What the Chen-Soong summit has generated is legitimacy for "re-unification" with China. I predict that more confrontation and polarization will occur if this trend facilitates reconciliation between the DPP and the PFP.

Nonetheless, the biggest threat is posed not by the pan-blue camp, but by Beijing. The details of China's proposed anti-secession law have yet to be released, nor have they been discussed. This has forced the DPP to return to the meaningless talk of civil war.

However, Beijing will not be satisfied with simply the continuation of the civil war between the KMT and the CCP. Rather, it would like to end the civil war. No wonder Beijing has arbitrarily and unilaterally confirmed that the "one China" principle is based on the 1992 consensus. Let us mull over chairman Mao Zedong's (毛澤東) sarcastic logic: if peace is our sole end, we can achieve that simple peace at any time by surrendering ourselves.

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