Fri, Oct 02, 2015 - Page 8 News List

What does ‘status quo’ stand for?

By Chen Lung-chu 陳隆志

Taiwan is a nation that places great importance on democracy, freedom, diversity, transparency and basic human rights. When it comes to the nation’s future, people have different views due to their different political beliefs, but when it comes to the relationship with China, opinion polls — whether they are conducted by the government, media outlets or a polling company — frequently show that “maintaining the ‘status quo’” is the mainstream public opinion.

What is the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait, who interprets it and how should it be understood? The different conclusions that can be drawn from these questions will not only affect present and future generations, they will also affect the strategic deployment in the Asia-Pacific region of two great powers — the US and China.

Based on the Taiwan Relations Act, the US basically supports maintaining Taiwan’s security, economy, democracy, freedom, human rights and freedom from foreign threats, while stressing that Taiwan’s future must be decided through peaceful and legal means.

When it comes to the understanding of maintaining the “status quo,” Washington opposes any unilateral change to the peaceful “status quo” as defined by the US.

Beijing is of another opinion: it insists on the “one China” principle — the idea that there is only “one China,” that Taiwan is part of it and that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is its only legal government — as well as stressing that the “status quo” refers to the peaceful development that has taken place in cross-strait relations since 2008 based on the so-called “1992 consensus.”

The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) keeps repeating that Taiwan is maintaining the peaceful and prosperous “status quo” created by the cross-strait insistence against unification, independence or military action, which in turn is built on the foundation of the “1992 consensus” and “one China, different interpretations” framework.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) proposal to maintain the “status quo” emphasizes a setting that includes interaction between governments, and maintaining peace, dialogue and exchanges across the Taiwan Strait. It also stresses that cross-strait relations should not be seen as relations between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but that equal and friendly treatment should be maintained regardless of which party holds the presidency in Taiwan, so that the two sides can maintain the “status quo” of peaceful development, dialogue and exchanges.

Four different views emerge from an analysis of how Taiwan’s, the US’ and China’s ruling and opposition camps promote the maintenance of the “status quo.” Although they all differ in their definition of the “status quo” and how it should be maintained, they all converge on maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. This is the shared idea that joins the four parties.

What does “the peaceful ‘status quo’ in the Taiwan Strait” mean? It means that each side is a separate state and that neither side has jurisdiction over, represents or administers the other. Each side has its own national title, people, territory, government and international policy. Taiwan is one nation and China is another nation. They should promote equality and mutual benefits, respect each other, work together, exist and develop together in peace. This is a profound understanding of the “status quo,” which Taiwanese agree upon.

This story has been viewed 2961 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top