In an interview with Chinese media, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) was reminded about China’s insistence on the so-called “1992 consensus” being the political foundation for peaceful cross-strait development.
He was asked to shed some light on the matter, to which he said: “China proposed that the ‘1992 consensus’ is the foundation for peaceful cross-strait development, which I understand and respect. However, I would also like to point out that there is a proactive and positive meaning to my own 2015 new viewpoint.”
Has our political neophyte also stumbled into the trap of the “1992 consensus,” or does he think that he can outsmart the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)?
The “1992 consensus” is not a free lunch, nor is it any of those meaningless political discourses, such as “one China, different interpretations” or “one China, same interpretation.” It is an undisguised weapon from a real enemy.
Ko said he wanted to show his understanding and respect for China’s stance, but what is China’s “stance,” exactly? Is it not that there is only “one China,” that Taiwan is a part of it and that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the only legitimate government representing it? Does such ambition to annex Taiwan still require people’s understanding and respect? If someone announces that he is going to rape you, do you respond by saying you understand and respect their point of view? This cannot possibly be what Ko had in mind.
China’s negotiation strategy, regardless of who they are dealing with, is to stick to their principles unwaveringly, while enticing others to waver and sacrifice their principles, effectively causing them to lean toward Beijing’s principles. The way it is dealing with Ko is a good example: As far as the CCP is concerned, there is no room for compromise, let alone Ko’s “2015 new viewpoint.”
A trip to the Taipei-Shanghai City Forum will be unfeasible unless China sees more goodwill from Ko. If Ko believes that it is politically correct to attend the forum, the communists will see to it that Ko makes the compromises they want. If Ko does not think it is a big deal to throw around words like “understanding” and “respect,” he will be like a frog in boiling water.
Before Ko came along, the CCP already had the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in its trap. The “one China, different interpretations” view, an ingredient of the so-called “1992 consensus,” was never acknowledged by the CCP, but the KMT has been happily doing the salesman’s job of propagating it.
As for the CCP, it was busy propagating internationally that Taiwan accepted the “1992 consensus” as the CCP defined it. Consequently, the international community at large and Taiwan’s allies in particular, have been gradually misled to believe that Taiwanese admit that Taiwan is a part of China. The most dangerous ramification of such an international attitude is that if one day China attacks Taiwan with brute force, the invasion might be regarded as a domestic Chinese affair.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who advocates maintaining the “status quo,” has not given an unequivocal response to the unquenchable CCP’s “1992 consensus.” If “understanding” and “respect” suffice, perhaps the DPP should simply emulate Ko’s method in the future.
When China and the US established diplomatic relations, the US said it “acknowledged” China’s stance, but they were two nations recognizing each other as a sovereign country; recognition of each others’ stance did not harm their own. However, China neither acknowledges Taiwan nor the Republic of China as a sovereign nation.
However, there are many countries supporting China. A politician might consider it some kind of art of language when he expresses publicly that he understands and respects China’s “1992 consensus,” which sees Taiwan as a part of China, but in fact this could easily give the impression that he concurs with the “1992 consensus.”
It is undeniable that the KMT has formed an alliance with the CCP. Ko must not think he can take the bull by the horns, imagining unrealistically that he could tame the communists. Typhoon Soudelor was a real, but temporary threat; the CCP is a real and permanent threat.
There are some DPP members who think they are so smart that they can outsmart the communists by being foxy and proposing something like “one country, two cities,” an idea that downgrades Taiwan’s national status.
Is this not a perfect example of someone being too smart for their own good? If maintaining the “status quo” is a play on words designed to avoid provoking China, the wordplay might possibly end up inducing even more pro-China inclinations.
Taiwan is a democracy. Its sovereignty belongs to its people, who are the masters of the nation. The downfall of the KMT and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is a result of the party’s attempt to appease Beijing instead of Taiwanese.
Whether it is “one China, different interpretations,” “one China, same interpretation” or any of the other variants, it runs against mainstream public opinion. To endorse such ideologies is to be trapped by the communists.
The emergence of the Sunflower movement and the anti-curriculum protest shows that identification with Taiwan has reached deeply into the young generation. It will only reach deeper, irreversibly.
This turn of events has crumbled the pro-China line and given the DPP a chance to stage a comeback. In the light of Taiwan’s new political climate, those who are aiming high should strive to understand and respect the will of the public instead of bowing to the CCP, which continuously bullies Taiwan.
Translated by Ethan Zhan
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