Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
During the trip, Ma gave a number of speeches outlining his cross-strait policy, and all Taiwanese should review what he said. Ma's policy can be summarized as an attempt to use gradual unification to mitigate his statement about "eventual unification" using the maintenance of the status quo as a pretext to push for unification.
Small wonder the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been critical of Ma's trip, for what he said further belittled Taiwan in the international community. Gleeful over the current political scene in Taiwan, Beijing is now taking a "let's talk" attitude toward Taiwan. It should not be very difficult for Taiwanese to grasp the real meaning of Ma's trip to the US.
In a past interview, Ma inadvertently revealed his intention to pursue eventual unification with China, thereby drawing fierce criticism. Ma has not responded by denying his idea about eventual unification, but has instead tried to use political deception to mitigate the negative impact of the statement about eventual unification.
In other words, Ma's strategic goal of eventual unification has not changed, but he has made some tactical adjustments to eliminate obstacles to that goal. During his trip to the US, Ma gave full play to this tactic to deceive the international community and Taiwanese. These tactical adjustments include the idea that "one China" refers to the Republic of China, arranging a modus vivendi with China, the proposal of the "five don'ts and five dos," using the "1992 Consensus," and saying that the People's Republic of China (PRC)should regard any Taiwan Republic as the primary enemy and the Republic of China (ROC) as the secondary enemy. All these statements aim to market his idea about eventual unification.
A handful of pro-unification diehards are probably the only ones who can accept the idea of eventual unification with China. A majority of Taiwanese hope to maintain the status quo. In view of this, Ma dare not reiterate his idea of eventual unification, but has proposed an interim framework and maintaining the status quo to dupe the public.
Ma's definition of the cross-strait status quo is not that Taiwan is an independent and sovereign state, but that it means "one China, with each side having its own interpretation." Ma's argument is tantamount to acknowledging that there is only one China, the PRC according to China, and the ROC according to Ma. Under these circumstances, the status quo simply becomes a transition towards the realization of one China and the final goal is still unification. How long this status quo is supposed to remain is written in the stars, or dependent on China's benevolence.
The current status quo is the "one country on either side" dictum -- China is China and Taiwan is Taiwan. This is the actual status quo, and it is also this status quo that best tallies with the interests of the people of Taiwan. The history of Taiwan shows that as long as it moves toward "one country on each side," then prospects will be bright. However, if Taiwan falls into the hands of a foreign regime, its history will be filled with suffering.
Over the past decades, the localization movement and democratic reform have transformed Taiwan into a sovereign and independent democracy. Taiwan, once a nation filled with sorrow, has now become a nation filled with joy.
Ma's version of maintaining the status quo means seeing the status quo as a temporary transitory situation. This is why he has suggested that the two sides resume dialogue under the "1992 consensus" framework, and that they sign an agreement on a modus vivendi that lets Taiwan participate in international activities.
The "1992 consensus" has already been proven to be a lie. However, its premise is the recognition of one China, and the premise for the modus vivendi is the hope that a benevolent China will allow Taiwan to participate in the international community. It is easy to see that this will also be predicated on the recognition of "one China."
More worrying, Ma has publicly called on China to choose between its primary enemy, the Taiwan Republic, and its secondary enemy, the Republic of China. Separating the primary from the secondary enemy and then joining up with the secondary enemy to attack the primary is the trick on which China's "united front" strategy is built.
Inconceivably, Ma has not learnt his history lesson, but instead helps China by specifying Taiwanese independence as the main enemy. When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the KMT cooperated in the past, the CCP never cared who the primary or secondary enemy was, since both were to be eliminated in the end. The only difference was which of them was to be eliminated first.
In other words, Ma also knows that both a Taiwan Republic and the Republic of China are the CCP's enemies, but still he wants the CCP to choose between the two.
This is the worst of all choices. Ma's talk about primary and secondary enemies is the product of contradictory thinking and confused identification, as was the case with his comment that he hoped the KMT's Youth Corps could produce another Chinese President Hu Jin-tao (湖錦濤).
The pro-unification media affirm Ma's US visit and praise him for building good relations between Taiwan and the US through friendly and relaxed conversations. However, it was precisely during these conversations that Taiwan was put in a dangerous position, and Taiwan now risks falling into the abyss at the slightest mistake.
The "Ma Ying-jeou phenomenon" is a variable that is interpreted differently by different parties. The DPP is concerned about losing power, while another concern is the fate of all Taiwanese people.
It has resulted in the poisonous idea of "eventual unification" which places Taiwan in mortal danger, but is wrapped up in sugar-coated talk about one China being the Republic of China, a modus vivendi and maintaining the status quo in an attempt to entice voters.
Ma's individual prestige is reaching new heights while pro-unification media laud his cross-strait proposals and discourse. This implies that Taiwan's situation is becoming increasingly perilous. Therefore, people should examine Ma's words and actions during his US visit as a way to maintain their vigilance in response to crisis.
translated by Daniel Cheng, Lin Ya-ti and Perry Svensson
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