Although the DPP and the CCP have failed to reach a consensus on Hsieh’s proposal of “two constitutions, different interpretations,” at least substantive dialogue has taken place.
As Taiwan Research Institute director Yu Keli (余克禮) said, it would be unrealistic for China to accept the proposal in public before any cross-strait negotiations. Huang Jiashu (黃嘉樹), a professor at China’s Renmin University, also said that both “one China, different interpretations” and “two constitutions, different interpretations” imply “two countries” or “two sovereignties,” which would be unacceptable for Beijing to recognize or accept.
However, he added that perhaps Taiwan and China could discuss the new proposal further to seek a common ground.
Hsieh displayed yet more creativity later when he proposed “three commons,” to reduce the implication of “two countries,” suggesting that people on either side of the Taiwan Strait create shared memories, face the world together and build a shared cross-strait entity.
Despite their different histories, the two sides can have a shared future, Hsieh said. Thus, the two sides should create mutual interests instead of confrontation, and they should also create the feeling of a shared cross-strait community.
Finally, accompanied by Taiwan Affairs Office officials, Hsieh visited Taiwanese businesspeople in China and talked to their associations. This shows that China recognizes the Taiwan Reform Foundation as a platform for cross-strait exchange.
In future, the foundation will continue to make Chinese government and Taiwanese businesspeople contacts, which is likely to end the KMT’s monopoly on cross-strait exchanges, starting a new phase of a three-party relationship.
Hsieh’s approach is providing a basis for dialogue between the DPP and the CCP, and his creative proposal is a crucial breakthrough in cross-strait relations.
Some Chinese officials repeatedly said in private that they were deeply inspired by his discourse and were willing to discuss feasible interpretations to seek consensus.
Successes this time will create energy for diverse and multiplayer interactions between the DPP and the CCP in the future.
Tung Chen-yuan is a professor at National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Development Studies.
Translated by Eddy Chang