Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) on Sunday said that “peace by procrastination” is not what people should be aspiring to.
“What should be achieved across the Taiwan Strait is a stable and enduring peace,” she said.
She might be hoping for a “peace agreement” — which is based on a strange “we are in trouble now so we might as well deepen the trouble” reasoning — but Hung is actually the child crying out the ugly truth in The Emperor’s New Clothes.
The “status quo” touted by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was, according to him, founded upon the so-called “1992 consensus,” which claims that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait agree there is only “one China,” but have different interpretations of what “China” means.
For the KMT, the key lies in the “different interpretations,” with which the legitimacy of the Republic of China (ROC) could be upheld. However, it remains a question whether Taipei and Beijing are on the same page, or if the latter has simply been looking the other way for its convenience.
At least from historical records, China from the beginning has not clearly endorsed the ROC version of China; merely that the two parties are to uphold the principle of “one China.”
Since he took office, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has deliberately left behind the ambiguous “1992 consensus” and emphasized the “one China” framework, substantiating the up-until-now vagueness with specifics: ie, that “Taiwan and the mainland belong to one and the same China.”
Hung has been championing the idea that the “consensus” hit a bottleneck after failing to advance cross-strait relations, but the truth is there was never a bottleneck to hit. The KMT has always been dependent on Beijing’s unilateral decisions.
That is why peace founded on the “consensus” can never be stable.
The KMT’s “procrastination” was a ploy by which Taiwan could follow Beijing’s agenda for cross-strait dealings.
What has procrastination accomplished? The economy — which KMT rhetoric has used to convince people to sacrifice their assertiveness over a national identity — has slumped, while real wages have declined. In exchange for a sagging economy, the nation faces a world more alienated than ever from the idea of a separate and de facto Taiwan.
The KMT’s passive adherence to the “one China” principle lurking in the “1992 consensus” is the main factor behind the fading memory internationally of the nation as a political entity and a state that has forged a conspicuous identity — despite or exactly because of China’s aggressiveness — while the government has downplayed the results domestically.
A Taiwanese tourist was reported to have been denied entry into UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this month because she presented a Republic of China passport. The official dealing with her said the tourist should have presented identification issued by China.
A New York Times report on Cloud Gate Dance Theatre had to issue a “correction” and apologize for “referring [to Taiwan] imprecisely [as a nation].”
However, the New York Times’ disclaimer did not stop there: It added that “neither Taiwan nor China claims that it is a separate nation.”
This shocking statement is a perfect embodiment of the “1992 consensus,” but moreover, it was humiliating for Taiwanese, who clearly think the opposite.
The “consensus” has made it easy for the world to align with the bully, and with the KMT gladly falling victim to the Stockholm syndrome, it is difficult for outsiders to distinguish between the truth and falsehoods forced down the world’s throat by a rising superpower.
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