Thu, May 11, 2017 - Page 8 News List

The Liberity Times Editorial: Tsai needs to meet expectations

As the first anniversary of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inauguration approaches, she has given a series of interviews in which her China policy has been especially important.

Generally speaking, in the interviews Tsai has softened her tone and called on Beijing to be open minded and show a willingness to be flexible, as a great country should be capable of doing. She compared the cross-strait relationship to an exam that both sides of the Taiwan Strait must complete.

According to Tsai, the “new situation, new test paper and new model” calls for structured and concerted efforts from both sides.

If Beijing is unwilling to work with Taiwan by abandoning its bureaucratic ways, cross-strait relations cannot move forward, she said.

Tsai is willing and ready to begin a constructive dialogue with Beijing. She has reaffirmed her long-standing views on cross-strait relations — the need to maintain the “status quo” and avoid provocations and surprises.

Despite her earnest and non-provocative message, state-owned Chinese media have said that Tsai is obstinate and have mocked her efforts as trying to sell the same old ideas with a new label.

It has even been said that China is used to having little interaction with Taiwan, so there is a risk that Tsai’s statements have fallen on deaf ears.

China’s response was predictable.

What is surprising is the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) continued support for China at the expense of Taiwanese, despite its sinking popularity.

The KMT has criticized Tsai’s recent remarks as “a contribution to an essay-writing contest” and mere “word play.”

Former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who is running in the KMT chairpersonship election, criticized Tsai’s cross-strait policy, calling it “confusing” and said that if she is unable to resolve the standoff, she should just accept the so-called “1992 consensus” or the “one China, different interpretations” view.

The “1992 consensus” was invented for political reasons. Former Straits Exchange Foundation chairman Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫) has confirmed that Taiwan and China never reached a consensus.

While China uses the “consensus” to support its “one China” principle, the KMT accepts it in the hope of winning favor with Beijing.

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) did not even dare to speak the name “Republic of China” when he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) face to face in Singapore.

The “1992 consensus” and the “one China, different interpretations” view are self-defeating. They have lost all credibility and were dismissed by Taiwanese in last year’s presidential and legislative elections.

However, Wu is playing the card again, and he is demanding that Tsai accept it. Old habits die hard.

The “1992 consensus” shows that the bilateral relations praised by the KMT and Beijing during Ma’s administration was nothing but showmanship, lies and hypocritical cunning.

Beijing’s so-called “peaceful development” is its biggest trick.

Taiwanese are a peace-loving people; China knows this and is going into battle with a smile, opening economic and trade exchanges, making concessions and allowing large numbers of Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan.

It appears to have softened its approach using a carrot-and-stick strategy; but China has never given up the possibility of unification by force.

US Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, told the US Congress last week that any attempt by China to coerce Taiwanese to unite would be unacceptable. This was a simple and unambiguous warning.

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