Wed, Mar 25, 2015 - Page 8 News List

National interests trump ideology

By Chao Chien-min 趙建民

If cross-strait confrontations were to reappear after a KMT loss next year, Taiwan might slide back for another eight years. How should one calculate such a major issue? The only solution is for Ma to once again focus on administrative affairs, giving priority to regaining the support of KMT legislators to improve the relationship between the executive and legislative branches.

Before Ma took office, the KMT used to attach great importance to the relationship between the executive and legislative branches. In the past, the KMT’s Central Policy Committee was powerful; organization of the legislative caucus was complete; caucus whips held frequent breakfast meetings; and the conveners of the legislative committees were responsible for communication with relevant government agencies. For major issues, then-president and KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) always gathered party legislators to give orders and exhortations in person.

Ma abolished most of these procedures, and pro-Ma legislators left him long ago. His neglect of the legislature is the cause of the government’s poor performance.

The government must promptly plan which representatives to send to the Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Culture Forum between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party, and the Boao Forum for Asia, so top officials on the two sides can resolve problems through dialogue.

The DPP has kept its focus on the presidential election. In the DPP 2014 China Policy Review: Summary Report (二○一四對中政策檢討紀要), the party proposed core concepts such as Taiwanese sovereignty, democratic values and a “Taiwan consensus,” but these were designed for domestic consumption only. It seems to believe that if it wins the presidency, Beijing would inevitably approach it.

In response, Xi has said that he would not compromise, saying that the “1992 consensus” has played an irreplaceable role in cross-strait dialogue and consultations and that “without a solid foundation, the earth will shake.”

If the DPP continues to deny the “1992 consensus,” it will be unable to build a new relationship with China even if it regains power, and the old “one China” framework is likely to collapse.

The cross-strait issue has consumed too much of the nation’s time, resources and competitiveness. Faced by a powerful rival with flexible policies, the pan-blue and pan-green camps must make national interests their top priority.

Chao Chien-min is chair professor and director of the Graduate Institute for Sun Yat-sen Thought and Mainland China Studies at Chinese Culture University.

Translated by Eddy Chang

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