Wed, Feb 07, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Democracy, the KMT and reality

By Jerome Keating

When Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) visited Taichung, party members asked him to clarify the party's policy towards China.

In the past, Ma had said that the ultimate goal was unification with China and then in his typical fashion of trying to please everyone, he also said he recognized independence was an option for Taiwan.

Now, fearing he may be forced to take a clear position, Ma is seeking a nebulous middle ground where he can speak pleasant vagaries without any real commitment.

He found it by saying he wanted to maintain the "status quo."

Ma has retreated into mouthing the KMT's "five dos."

The first "do" calls for resuming negotiations between Taiwan and China based on the so-called "1992 consensus."

Ah yes, the ridiculous "1992 consensus," or "agreeing to disagree about the definition of "one China."

One wonders whether Ma is being naive or he considers the public naive.

It is common knowledge that the "1992 consensus" was a KMT fabrication, so why does Ma keep on returning to this subject?

The People's Republic of China (PRC) certainly did not consent to the consensus.

Since it never agreed on the fabrication, how can that be the basis for negotiations?

The second "do" is to agree on a peace accord.

This also stretches the mind. How does one agree on a peace accord with a country whose idea of peace is to demand you submit to its rule and to continually pile up missiles against you?

The number now is near 1,000. What will Ma use as a negotiating and bargaining chip, especially since his party continues to block any arms bill in the Legislative Yuan?

Ma's capability and credibility as a sincere negotiator is in serious doubt since he promised in 2005 to get the arms bill passed.

Who is in charge of the KMT?

The third "do" is to facilitate economic exchanges with the aim of establishing a common market.

This has a "do-able" ring to it since the word facilitate is vague and a simple effort would qualify as working on it.

But how good is a common market? Given the huge difference between the 23 million people of Taiwan and the 1.3 billion people of the PRC, how balanced will this common market be?

Will there be a quid pro quo exchange or will one swallow the other?

The fourth "do" is to work with the PRC to boost Taiwan's presence in international bodies.

Now there is a Herculean task if there ever was one, or would Sisyphus be a better metaphor?

How does one begin to work with another country to boost Taiwan's presence when that country's sole purpose for the past 50 years has been to destroy and eliminate Taiwan's presence in international bodies?

What specific steps does Ma have in mind? What world is he living in?

Finally, we have the fifth "do," which is to expand educational and cultural exchanges.

This is something that is being done and certainly is worth expanding. At last, Ma presents something that has a reasonable ring about it.

Taiwan can start with educational presentations on the benefits and achievements of democracy in Taiwan and show that democracy need not be the antithesis of Chinese culture.

Unfortunately the KMT's five dos carry the all too familiar stamp of the party.

Provide the people with high-sounding platitudes so that it doesn't examine reality.

Remember the famous lines of "The first year preparation, the third year mobilization and the fifth year retaking China."

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