ROC constitutional order?
The last stop of Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) 12-day, six-city US visit was San Jose, California, where she was welcomed by the San Francisco Bay Area Taiwanese-American community at a party on Saturday last week when she arrived and at a “Light Up Taiwan” dinner and speech party on Sunday. Tsai thanked all attendees, reporters, staff members, volunteers, family members and the community for supporting her presidential campaign and wrapped up expressing her hope to win January’s election.
Now, it is time to review the impact of her trip on the nation’s future. Overall, the visit was constructive, productive and successful. She did not say: “Taiwan is the Republic of China [ROC] and the ROC is Taiwan” once in her speeches. That is a good sign.
However, she did say: “I have articulated and reiterated my position of maintaining the ‘status quo’ in the previous months, as I believe this serves the best interest of all parties concerned. Therefore, if elected president, I will push for the peaceful and stable development of cross-strait relations in accordance with the will of Taiwanese and the existing ROC constitutional order.”
Tying the will of Taiwanese and the existing ROC constitutional order together is a flaw showing great confusion and does not match the “status quo” of Taiwan and the US’ “one China” policy, the three communiques dealing with the China issue and the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).
While the US clearly separated Taiwan and China through the TRA and three communiques, Tsai ties it back together and commits to follow the existing constitutional order that means Taiwan is part of China, and the “1992 consensus” and “one China” remain unchanged. However, as you know, the only “92 consensus” agreed upon by Taiwanese is the reality of a 9.2 percent approval rating for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
In San Jose, Tsai confessed to the audience that all her speeches were drafted by a group of young volunteers and staff members, but after their presentation, the contents became her beliefs and policies. So, Tsai needs to clarify how the ROC constitutional order would match the will of Taiwanese. It sounds more like former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) constitutional “one China,” with territory that covers Mongolia, China and Taiwan. It is just like a magic fairy night believed by an idiot.
Yes, Tsai made a very progressive visit to Washington, entering the White House and the US Department of State. However, there has not been any change in the US’ Taiwan policy. On Friday last week, department spokeswoman Marie Harf said: “We had a constructive exchange on a wide range of issues. Our position in no way has changed. We have developed a strong, unofficial relationship with Taiwan. This is based on the ‘one China’ policy, the three joint communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act — things we have talked about for years and years and years.”
Of course, it was the greatest honor for Tsai, as the DPP’s presidential candidate, to officially visit the White House and the US Department of State, but it is just part of that unofficial relationship.
“I am not sure that we see this as different from other meetings we have had with Taiwanese officials,” Harf added.
In 1979, when then-US president Jimmy Carter decided that the US would maintain unofficial cultural, commercial and other relations with Taiwan, he also made it clear that any relations with authorities on Taiwan would be “non-governmental.”
The branches of the US government have further explicated the nature of the US’ relationship with Taiwan through several executive orders and the TRA. Section 15-2 of the TRA has already clearly “derecognized” the ROC.
So, holding the ROC constitutional order would not be able to build any credit for Taiwan to gain recognition as a sovereign state. Yes, the US government will work closely with those who fully understand the “status quo” and respect the will of Taiwanese and Taiwan’s governing authority, but not the ROC government in exile.
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