Two weeks ago, former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) met with Chinese President and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平).
According to Xi, Beijing will continue with the same working principles regarding Taiwan.
On the surface, it seems Xi’s words indicate that there will be no major changes in what Beijing authorities do about Taiwan in the short term at least.
However, relations between the KMT and the CCP have already progressed to the stage of political talks.
Crucially, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is now attempting to push Taiwan into Beijing’s “one China” framework in order to proceed with these political talks.
He seems to want at the very least to see the emergence of an irreversible situation during his tenure that will mean Taiwan is firmly in China’s grip, continuing even if the KMT loses power in the next presidential election.
The fact that Ma has been engineering this deceit is increasingly obvious. The difference now is he is no longer bothering to conceal it.
It only took China’s new Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) to say: “It might not be that easy to get the Taiwanese to accept the People’s Republic of China [PRC] at this moment in time,” for Ma to offer: “We cannot view the other side of the [Taiwan] Strait as a [separate] country.”
So, Ma is denying the territory he is governing is a country at all.
Over the past several months, he has time and again contended that “cross-strait relations are not a state-to-state relationship.”
Not only is this a huge retreat from former president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) “special state-to-state relations” theory of cross-strait relations, or his successor Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) “one country on each side” policy, it also contradicts his very own idea of “mutual non-denial.”
From “mutual non-denial” to “self denial,” what he is doing is damaging Taiwan with a “denial of self,” and it extends even to the Republic of China (ROC).
The “nations of brotherhood” formula conceptualized by Taiwanese independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) best illustrates a way in which a democratic Taiwan will accept the PRC.
Yet the problem with it lies in Zhang’s next statement: “It is also unlikely that China will ever accept the ROC, from any angle.”
Zhang’s comment echoes the same tone that Beijing has adopted toward Taiwan for many years now and reflects China’s despotic attitude.
Ma’s latest maneuver has nudged Taiwan down the irreversible path to “eventual unification” by stating relations between Taiwan and China are more of a domestic affair.
He has pushed the so-called “1992 consensus” further toward “one China,” throwing out any mention of “each side having its own interpretation” and replaced it with the “denial of self.”
The special legislative session to discuss setting up representative offices either side of the Taiwan Strait will be a major milestone in Ma’s trajectory in cross-strait relations.
Yet, if we apply the doctrine of “mutual non-denial,” the use of national flags, national emblems, the national anthem and the very name of the country within the official offices are all the physical expression of “each side having its own interpretation.”
Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said something to this effect in April, but his comments were soon overturned by Ma.