Posts tagged ‘Taiwan Consensus’

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Tsai Ing-wen: “We do not provoke, but we uphold our Principles”

The following  is my off-the-cuff translation of a statement made by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen this afternoon, in response to remarks made by Chinese State Chairman Xi Jinping earlier today (all local time). This translation may contain errors.

One expression has remained untranslated; it had apparently been used by Xi Jinping earlier, and I don’t know its meaning – 心灵契合.


udn video (聯合影音), Jan 2, 2018

Main Link: President answers to Xi Jinping’s Remarks (full text), published by Radio Taiwan International (RTI)

After Chinese State Chairman Xi Jinping’s remarks on the 40th anniversary of the “Message of Compatriots in Taiwan” [on January 1, 1979], President Tsai Ing-wen answered personally, at the presidential palace, this afternoon (January 2). The wording is as follows:

在中國國家主席習近平發表「告台灣同胞書」40週年的紀念談話後,蔡英文總統今天(2日)下午也親自在總統府做出回應,全文如下:

Compatriots, friends from the media, good afternoon to everyone.

國人同胞,各位媒體朋友,大家午安。

This morning, Chinese State Chairman Xi Jinping made a so-called “Message of Compatriots in Taiwan” 40th-anniversary speech, proposing a one-country-two-systems plan and related content for Taiwan. As President of the Republic of China, I would like to explain our position concerning this matter.

今天上午,中國國家主席習近平,發表了所謂《告台灣同胞書》40 週年的紀念談話,提出了探索一國兩制台灣方案等相關內容,身為中華民國的總統,我要在此說明我們的立場。

First of all, I must seriously point out that we have never accepted a “92 consensus”. The basic reason is that this is a “92 consensus” defined by the authorities in Beijing. In fact, it just means “one China” and “one country, two systems”. What the leader on the other side of the Taiwan Strait said today has confirmed our misgivings. From here, I want to reiterate that Taiwan will not accept “one country, two systems”, and the overwhelming majority of Taiwanese public opinion also resolutely opposes “one country, two systems”, and this is also the “Taiwan consensus”.

首先,我必須要鄭重指出,我們始終未接受「九二共識」,根本的原因就是北京當局所定義的「九二共識」,其實就是「一個中國」、「一國兩制」。今天對岸領導人的談話,證實了我們的疑慮。在這裡,我要重申,台灣絕不會接受「一國兩制」,絕大多數台灣民意也堅決反對「一國兩制」,而這也是「台灣共識」。

Next, we are willing to sit down and talk, but as a democratic country, any political consultations and talks touching upon cross-strait relations must be authorized and supervised by the people of Taiwan, and conducted in a government-to-government mode. Under this principle, there are no people, no organizations who would have the authority to represent the Taiwanese people in political consultations.

其次,我們願意坐下來談,但作為民主國家,凡是涉及兩岸間的政治協商、談判,都必須經過台灣人民的授權與監督,並且經由兩岸以政府對政府的模式來進行。在這個原則之下,沒有任何人、任何團體,有權力代表台灣人民去進行政治協商。

The development of cross-strait relations – I said that very clearly in my new-year remarks yesterday – is that China must face up to the existing facts of the Republic of China on Taiwan rather than deny the democratic state system the people of Taiwan jointly established. Secondly, they must respect the adherence of the people of 23 million to freedom and democracy, and must not intervene in the Taiwanese people’s choices in a splitting and luring manner.

兩岸關係的發展,我在昨天的新年談話,說得很清楚,那就是中國必須正視中華民國台灣存在的事實,而不是否定台灣人民共同建立的民主國家體制;第二,必須尊重兩千三百萬人民對自由民主的堅持,而不是以分化、利誘的方式,介入台灣人民的選擇;

Thirdly, there is a need to handle the differences between the two sides in a peaceful manner among equals, instead of using pressure and threats in attempts to  make the Taiwanese yield. Fourthly, it has to be governments or legal mechanisms authorized by the governments who sit down to talk. Consultations unauthorized and unsupervised by the people cannot be considered “democratic consultations”. This is Taiwan’s position and the democratic position.

第三,必須以和平對等的方式來處理雙方之間的歧異,而不是用打壓、威嚇,企圖讓台灣人屈服;第四,必須是政府或政府所授權的公權力機構,坐下來談,任何沒有經過人民授權、監督的政治協商,都不能稱作是「民主協商」。這就是台灣的立場,就是民主的立場。

We are willing to conduct orderly and healthy cross-strait exchange on the foundations of “democratic consolidation” and “strengthening national security”. I would also like to reiterate that we must urgently establish a three-lane protection network for the safety of people’s livelihood, information security, and institutionalized democratic supervision mechanisms.

我們願意在「鞏固民主」以及「強化國家安全」基礎上,進行有秩序的、健康的兩岸交流,我也要重申,國內亟需要建立兩岸交流的三道防護網,也就是民生安全、資訊安全以及制度化的民主監督機制。

Cross-strait trade should be mutually beneficial, for both sides to prosper. However, we oppose the economic united front with Beijing’s method of “using gain as a lure”, with “benefiting only China” at the center, attracting Taiwanese technology, capital and talent “going to the mainland”. With all our efforts, we will promote the strategies and measures of “strengthening Taiwan”, consolidate Taiwan’s economic development route as the priority.

兩岸經貿應該互惠互利,共榮發展;但我們反對北京以「利中」為核心,以利誘及吸引台灣技術、資本及人才「走進中國大陸」的經濟統戰。我們將全力推動「壯大台灣」的各項策略跟措施,鞏固以台灣為主體、台灣優先的經濟發展路線。

Over the past two years, has carefully met its obligations as a member of the region, and actively contributed to cross-strait and regional peace and stability. We do not provoke, but we uphold our principles. We have endured pressure, but we have never abandoned our basic positions and promises concerning cross-strait relations. I would like to remind the Beijing authorities that big countries must act as big countries, with the responsibility of big countries, and that the international community is watching if there is change in China or not, and if it can turn into a partner who obtains trust. The “four musts” are the most basic and crucial basis on which cross-strait relations [must show if they] will or will not move towards positive development.

過去兩年來,台灣善盡區域成員的義務,積極貢獻於兩岸及區域的和平穩定。我們不挑釁,但堅持原則,我們飽受各種打壓,但我們從未放棄對兩岸關係的基本立場與承諾。我要提醒北京當局,大國必須要有大國的格局,大國的責任,國際社會也正看著中國能不能有所改變,成為受到信任的夥伴。「四個必須」正是兩岸關係能否朝向正面發展,最基本、也最關鍵的基礎。

The so-called 心灵契合 must be established on mutual respect and understanding, and on pragmatic handling on both sides of issues concerning the welfare of the people. For example, the most urgent issue of swine fever. Pressure on international companies to altering Taiwan’s name can’t bring about 心灵契合, buying Taiwan’s diplomatic allies won’t 心灵契合 either, and nor will military aircraft, warships that rotate around.

所謂的心靈契合,應該是建立在彼此的相互尊重與理解,建立在兩岸政府務實處理有關人民福祉的問題上。例如,眼前十萬火急的豬瘟疫情。施壓國際企業塗改台灣的名稱,不會帶來心靈契合;買走台灣的邦交國,也不會帶來心靈契合;軍機、軍艦的繞台,更不會帶來心靈契合。

Finally, I would like to reiterate that the nine-in-one regional elections that Taiwan’s grassroots public opinion would abandon sovereignty, or concessions concerning Taiwan.

最後,我要重申,九合一地方選舉的結果,絕不代表台灣基層的民意要放棄主權,也不代表在台灣主體性上做出退讓。

Democratic values are values and a way of life cherished by the people of Taiwan, and we call on China to bravely enter the democratic road. Only by doing so, they can really understand the Taiwanese peoples’ mindset and perseverance. Thank you.

民主價值是台灣人民所珍惜的價值與生活方式,我們也呼籲中國,勇敢踏出民主的腳步,也唯有如此,才能真正理解台灣人的想法與堅持。謝謝

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Related

New Year Address, ROC Presidential Office, Jan 1, 2019

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Taiwan Election Data, the Changes, and the ROC Convergence

Wrote a bio of sorts in a German blogpost about president-elect Tsai Ing-wen last Saturday, as it seems to me that in the English-language press, there’s lots of coverage about the Taiwan elections, sometimes beyond the mere “conflict with China” issues. In most of Germany’s media, Taiwan would hardly emerge even on election days, if it wasn’t for China’s “claims” on the island.

What looks notable to me is the voter turnout in the January 16 elections: 66.27 per cent, compared with 76.04 percent in 1996, 82.7 percent in 2000, 80.28 percent in 2004, 76.33 percent in 2008, and 74.38 percent in 2012, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC), quoted by CNA. Also notable: the general trends in the pan-blue and pan-green shares in the presidential elections.

 

Taiwan's presidential elections, from 1996 to 2016

Taiwan’s presidential elections, from 1996 to 2016. The 1996 numbers for the pan-blue camp include the two independent candidates’ shares. Both of them were close to the KMT, but critical of then president Lee Teng-hui‘s China policies. Numbers taken from Wikipedia.

 

Taiwan presidential elections chart, 1996 - 2016

Usually, I’m surprised to find out how time flies. But in this case, it strikes me as odd how big change can be within “only” two decades, from 1996 to 2016. Also, no DPP candidate has ever drawn as many votes – inabsolute numbers – as Tsai Ing-wen has last Saturday. This would seem to suggest that some of the reasons for the record-low in turnout could lie in the KMT’s performance during the election campaigns. An uncertain number of people who’d normally support the KMT may have seen no sense in voting for Eric Chu, or any KMT candidate, for that matter.

Frozen Garlic, a blogger in Taiwan who has been doing a lot of number crunching during the past week, probed district-level turnout data in “blue” and “green” districts this week, and found some clues there that would support this guess.

There were, however, nearly 1.6 million voters who chose James Soong who is more China-leaning than the average KMT candidate. Soong only fared better in 2000, under what might be carefully described as exceptional circumstances.

Another notable first – in the parliamentary elections, that is – is the emergence of the “New-Power Party” – they’ve actually overtaken James Soong’s People-First Party there  (seats: 5 – 3; votes: 6.1 percent – 5.5 percent).

What does this tell about the KMT? The party remains a force to be reckoned with, for – reportedly – being one of the world’s richest political parties, and for its connections within Taiwan’s elites and civil society, big business, as well as for connections to China, and to America. But how “Chinese” can the KMT remain if it wants to remain competitive? Probably not as Chinese as incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou.

China’s accusation until December (by quoting the KMT, that is) that Tsai Ing-wen rejects the 1992 Consensus has become old news. Literally, she said in an interview with the Liberty Times on Thursday that

In 1992, the two parties [the Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits] from the two sides communicated and negotiated through an approach of mutual understanding and “seeking common ground while shelving differences,” and I understand and respect this historical fact. [The interview in English, Taipei Times]

在一九九二年,兩岸兩會秉持相互諒解、求同存異的政治思維進行溝通協商,達成了若干的共同認知與諒解,我理解和尊重這個歷史事實。[The interview in Chinese, Liberty Times]

Thinking about it, while there have been big changes during the past twenty years, there’s been a remarkable convergence toward what Taiwan and the outside world commonly refer to as the “status quo” – the KMT and the DPP used to be further apart in the past, not only in terms of public support or votes, but in terms of their respective international concepts, too.

One day after Tsai’s election, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office had announced that it would continue to use the 1992 Consensus and oppose any Taiwan independence activities in cross-strait relations, as quoted by Radio Taiwan International (RTI). And on Monday, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, during his stay in Taiwan, met with incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou, the defeated KMT presidential candidate Eric Chu, and Tsai Ing-wen, who reportedly said that [t]he U.S. anticipates seeing a successful political transition.

There is continuity in Taiwan’s foreign policy: Cindy Sui, the BBC‘s (occasional) Taiwan correspondent pointed out on election day that it was Tsai who, in 2003 and in her capacity as the Mainland Affairs Council chairperson during president Chen Shui-bian‘s presidency, made a case for further legalizing trade and communications links with China.

Tsai, as opposition leader, also took a fairly public measure on Taiwan’s (or the Republic of China’s) national day on October 10, 2011, saying that the vast majority of Taiwanese today could acknowledge that “Taiwan simply is the Republic of China”, as the two have merged, for a new life in Taiwan.

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Related Tag: Taiwan Consensus

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ma Ying-jeou: “A Considerable Threat Continues to Exist in the Taiwan Strait”

Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou spoke about cross-strait relations in an interview with the BBC‘s Carrie Gracie this month. There is a three-minutes’ video on youtube, and Radio Taiwan International‘s (RTI) Chinese service has a transcript of the interview.

I have based my following translation – not necessarily accurate – on the RTI transcript. Links with in the following Q & A were inserted during translation.

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[Asked what his feelings are about China being both an important trading partner and a cause of security threats]

A: We are only some 100 nautical miles away from mainland China, and to us, China is a big risk risk, and also a big opportunity. Any leader of the Republic of China should learn to reduce risks and to expand opportunities, and what I have done during the past seven years is exactly that.

總統:我們與大陸只有大概100多海浬左右的距離,中國大陸對我們來說是很大的風險,也是很大的機會。任何中華民國的領導人都應該學習把風險減少、把機會擴大,而我過去7年來做的就是這件事。

Our economic relations with mainland China, (language and culture), coincide in fairly many ways, while the developmental stages of both sides aren’t identical. Over the past decades, our trade volume with mainland China has continuously risen, and our trade surplus has been huge. The goods we sell to mainland China can be processed further there, be sold to Europe and North America, and this stage has been of mutual benefit in the past.

我們與大陸間的經濟關係,(語言文化上)有相當多一致的地方,而雙方的經濟發展階段並不一樣。過去幾十年當中,我們與大陸的貿易量一直增加,我方享有的順差也非常龐大。我們銷往大陸的貨品會再經過他們加工,賣到歐洲及北美,這樣的關係在過去的階段是互利的。

Of course, mainland Chinese threats stem from the military and the political field, and some people believe that deepening trade and investment relations with mainland China leads to excessive dependence on mainland China. To consider and weigh political and military threats, the mode our government adopted has been to find some consensus that is acceptable to both sides, and to shelve differences. In terms of the economy and trade, obviously, Taiwan can’t avoid some dependence on mainland China, but since I took office, dependence on mainland China has actually decreased, because the government has started the work of market diversification, leading to Taiwan’s trade dependence on mainland China not increasing further, but rather slightly decreasing.

大陸對我們的威脅當然還是來自軍事與政治方面,有些人認為,與大陸的貿易和投資加深,會造成對大陸過度依賴。考量政治與軍事的風險,我們政府採取的方式,就是找出雙方都可以接受的一些共識、擱置歧見。在經濟及貿易方面,台灣當然不可避免部分依賴大陸,但從我上任後,對大陸的依賴程度反而減少了,因為政府開始做好分散市場的工作,使得台灣對大陸的貿易依賴沒有再增加,反而有少許的減少。

[Asked if he believes that China is moving towards democratization, in a long-term trend]

問:習近平上任後,全世界都在期待中國大陸是否會往民主的方向發展,您認為未來中國大陸走向民主化是一個長久趨勢嗎?

A: During the past few years, I have constantly reminded the mainland Chinese authorities that if you want to narrow the psychological gap between the Taiwanese and the mainland Chinese people, freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, these core values of Taiwan, are important factors.  If mainland China were more active concerning these issues, the distance could be narrowed, but also, if there wouldn’t be more positive activity, the distance could also widen. In the past few years, the trends and changes in the psychological gap have also clearly reflected the actual attitude of mainland Chinese authorities in recent years.

總統:在過去幾年中,我不斷提醒大陸當局,想要拉近台灣與大陸人民心理上的差距,很重要的因素就是自由、民主、人權及法治,這些台灣所擁有的核心價值。如果在這些議題,大陸做得更積極,距離就可以拉近,同樣的,如果他沒有更積極的作為,距離就會拉遠。在過去幾年,心理差距的變化趨勢也清楚反映出大陸當局近幾年實際的態度。

On these issues, mainland China has seen good and bad times, sometimes somewhat better, sometimes worsening somewhat, thus remaining in a state of uncertainty.
中國大陸在這些議題上,他們一直是時好時壞,有時候好一點,有時候惡化一點,因此還處於不確定的狀態。

When I was running for re-election four years ago, mainland Chinese people were able to watch our elections on the internet, which was unprecedented. But recently, we have also seen many arrests of human rights activists, making everyone feel worried about mainland China’s human rights situation. Therefore, the feelings their situation causes us are sometimes good, sometimes bad.

在我4年前競選連任時,大陸人民可以透過網路看我們的選舉情況,這是過去都沒有的。但另外我們也看到,最近有很多維權人士被逮捕,使得大家對大陸人權情況惡化感到憂心,所以他們的情況給我的感覺是時好時壞。

[Asked if he feels angry about not having had an opportunity to met Xi Jinping after his efforts to improve relations]

A: Since I assumed office, one can say that cross-strait relations have improved, no matter if we look at economic aspects, cultural aspects, etc.. Therefore, a meeting between the leaders of the two sides would be a natural thing.  During the last two years, we have thought about the APEC summits as an opportunity to meet, but always without success, and of course, that’s a pity. Our current position is to neither rule a meeting out, nor to insist.

從我上任後,兩岸不論在經濟、文化等各方面的關係,都可以說有很大的進展,因此雙方領導人碰面應該是很自然的事情。過去兩年中,我們本來想利用亞太經合會(APEC)的機會碰面,但始終沒有成功,這當然是非常可惜的事情。我們目前的態度還是不排除、但也不會強求。

[Asked if he thinks that not to meet is Xi Jinping’s personal decision, taken from a too arbitrary  (過於獨斷) position]

A: We don’t know their decision-making process, of course, but certainly, the final decision lies with Mr. Xi. Maybe some of our views just differ, because we feel that in the process of developing cross-strait relations, some encounters on international occasions are unavoidable, but mainland Chinese leaders may try their best not to appear with us on international occasions, as they worry this could be against the so-called “One-China policy”. But what I would like to emphasize is that we have said clearly on many occasions that when we reached the “1992 consensus”, it just meant that the two parties both maintain the “One-China principle”, but the meaning we give to it is not identical. Only with this flexibility, the two parties can establish better relations. However, once it comes to international occasions, mainland China remains very unflexible in this regard.

我們當然不知道他們的決策過程如何,但是最後一定是由習先生拍板確定。我們可能跟他採取一些不同的看法,因為我們覺得在兩岸關係的發展過程中,不可避免地會在國際場合碰到,但是中國大陸儘可能避免在國際場合與我們同時出現,因為擔心這樣會違反所謂的「一個中國」原則。不過,我要強調的是,我們在許多場合都曾清楚說明,當初達成「九二共識」就是指雙方都堅持「一個中國」的原則,但是所賦予的涵義並不相同;有此彈性,雙方才能建立更友好的關係。然而一旦到了國際場合,中國大陸在這方面非常僵硬。

[Asked if Xi Jinping’s statement that the cross-strait issue couldn’t be dragged from generation to generation constitutes a threat to Taiwan]

A: I believe that this way of putting it, makes things look as if they had been delayed for a long time. In fact, the two sides having relatively close and friendly relations has only been going on for these seven years. I often say that seven years can’t count as a generation. Patient handling is required. The two sides have been apart for more than sixty years. The atmosphere can’t be changed over night. We believe that cross-strait relations should be promoted patiently and diligently, to let the fruits gradually emerge.

總統:我覺得他這個說法好像我們已經延誤很久了,實際上兩岸之間有比較密切友好的關係也才不過這7年而已,我常說7年不能算是一代,需要耐心來處理,畢竟雙方隔海分治已經60多年了,不可能一個晚上就改變氣氛。我們覺得應該以耐心且很用心地來推動兩岸關係,讓成果逐漸展現。

In fact, the fruits brought about by the cross-strait relations’ development during the past seven years have already surpassed those of the previous fifty years which is very fast, but in the view of the Taiwanese people, they do not wish to move too quickly but to gradually achieve the goal of improved relations.

事實上,在過去7年間,兩岸關係發展所帶來的成果已超過前面的50幾年,這已經算非常快了,但是對台灣民眾而言,他們也不希望走得太快,而是希望逐步達成關係改善的目標。

[Asked if recent mainland Chinese military exercises and their use of the Republic of China’s presidential palace as an imaginary target made him feel uneasy]

A: According to intelligence we’ve collected in the past, they have used mock objects for simulated attacks for a long time. When we conduct military exercises, we also put out defense against such designs. [Mainland Chinese] action of this kind just reminds us that in the Taiwan Strait, in the military field, a considerable threat continues to exist, against which we must prepare.

根據我們過去所蒐集到的情資,他們以台灣做為模擬攻擊的對象已有很長的時間。我方進行軍事演習時,也會針對他們這種設計做出防衛。這個動作只是提醒我們,兩岸之間在軍事領域仍有相當大的威脅存在,我們必須做好防備。

[Asked if the threat against Taiwan doesn’t rise with mainland Chinese military and economic strength]

A: In fact, the balance across the Taiwan Strait, in military terms, has tilted in favor of mainland China, beginning in 2005. Because very year, at a pace of double-digit numbers, and even at a pace of twenty per cent, they increase their national defense budget. It would be difficult for us to engage in an arms race with the mainland in this regard. Therefore, our principle in defense combat is to create a bilateral situation in which any party that wants to use one-sided, non-peaceful means to change the status quo must pay a price it doesn’t want to pay. That’s the only feasible major principle to prevent a cross-strait military conflict. Peace and prosperity have always been the goals of our efforts.

實際上從2005年開始,台灣海峽在軍事方面的均衡是朝大陸傾斜的,因為他們每一年皆以將近兩位數、甚至於將近百分之20的速度在增加國防預算,我們很難在這方面與大陸從事軍備競爭。因此,我方現在所採取的防衛作戰原則就是要造成一種雙邊情勢,使得任何一方要用片面、非和平方式改變現狀時,會付出其不想付的代價,這是唯一能夠阻止兩岸發生軍事衝突的重要原則。和平與繁榮一向都是我們努力的目標。

What I mean is that cross-strait relations exist into all kinds of directions. As for military threats, we must think about ways to reduce them, but in non-military fields, we also want to think about ways to increase them. Therefore, in our dealings with mainland China, we will always see these different directions.

我剛剛的意思是,兩岸之間各種面向的關係都存在,軍事的威脅我們要想辦法減少,而非軍事方面的合作,我們要想辦法增加,所以我們與大陸打交道,永遠有這些不同的面向。

What we prepare for our annual Han Kuang military exercises is just that kind of defense operations, and we have exactly these points in the Han Kuang military exercises. I’m sorry that we can’t disclose these to you. I can’t disclose related details, but we do prepare for conflict scenarios.

而我們每一年漢光演習準備的就是這些防禦作戰,至於我們漢光演習做了哪些科目,很抱歉我們沒有辦法向您透露。我不能透露這些相關細節,但是兩岸之間可能發生衝突的情況,我們要預先做準備。

[Asked if he feels unsatisfied with this.]

A: Of course.

當然。

[Asked if given mainland Chinese military budget increases, and American strategic ambiguity concerning Taiwan, America shouldn’t be more clear about its attitude towards Taiwan, or guarantee support for Taiwan under certain circumstances – and if Obama would be in a position to do this]

A: As for America, the “Taiwan Relations Act” regulations are plain. Of course, we cannot rely on American law and regulations, but on our own preparedness. And our preparations aren’t just about adopting defense measures, but we should, by means of politics and cross-strait relations, eliminate chances for this situation [of military conflict] to occur. Therefore, as for the Taiwanese defense lines against mainland China that I’ve just mentioned, the first line is not about aircraft and artillery, but about reconciliation [or amicable settlement], and thus reducing the risk of conflict erupting, and only this is one of the highest strategies. This is also exactly what Sunzi’s “Art of War” means when saying that  the highest form of generalship is to balk [or counter-attack] the enemy’s plans”.

對美國來講,「台灣關係法」已明文規定。當然我們不能靠美國法律的規定,我們要靠自己的準備,而我們的準備不只是從軍事上做好防禦的措施,更應該從政治上、兩岸關係上,消除這種情況出現的機會,所以我剛提及台灣對大陸的防線,第一道防線不是飛機、大砲,而是兩岸的和解,透過兩岸的和解,使得兩岸發生衝突的機會減少,這才是一個最高的謀略,也就是「孫子兵法」所說的「上兵伐謀」。

[Pressed on whether he would hope for a clear American presidential defense statement in favor of Taiwan if attacked by mainland China]

A: In fact, this problem has always existed during the past sixty years. But during the past seven years, America didn’t need to issue these statements, but could also make the Taiwan Strait maintain peace. The most important key is that this risk is reduced after improving relations with mainland China. The official in charge of cross-strait relations in the U.S. State Department has repeatedly reiterated that stable development of cross-strait relations is an important factor of maintaining constructive relations with Taiwan. In other words, simply relying on America to come to our help to fight this battle. Rather, by lowering this risk to the lowest possible level, by reducing the risk of conflict to a minimum, that’s the highest strategy, and also exactly about “balking the enemy’s plans”.

事實上,在過去60年當中,這個問題一直存在,可是在過去的7年當中,美國已經不需要做這些聲明,但是一樣可以讓台海維持和平,最重要的關鍵是我們與大陸改善關係之後,使得這種風險變少了。美國國務院主管兩岸事務的官員一再重申,兩岸關係的穩定發展,是他們與台灣維持建設性關係的重要因素,換言之,我們不能光靠美國來幫我們打這個仗,而是我們把這種可能的風險降到最低、可能的衝突減少到最少,這才是最高的戰略,也就是「上兵伐謀」。

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What is Tsai Ing-wen’s “Grand Coalition” About?

In her speech in her home county Pingtung last Saturday, DPP chairwoman and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)

reiterated that her administration would do its best to advance consociational democracy and a grand coalition government — which would mean that “the premier would not necessarily be a DPP member” — by launching party-to-party talks.

Tsai had first mentioned the idea of either a conociational democracy or a coalition government last Friday, in the third and last televised debates between president Ma Ying-jeou, Tsai Ing-wen, and James Soong.

Tsai told the rally in Pingtung that the DPP would form a grand coalition (大联合政府), and choose the best people to lead Taiwan, regardless of their party affiliations.

Radio Taiwan International (RTI) refers to the concept as a consultative (or negotiated) and democratic grand coalition (走向一个协商、民主,走向一个「大联合政府」).

I’m not sure if that exactly spells a consociational democracy, but that’s the translation chosen by the Taipei Times from either the terms RTI quoted, too, or from any other Tsai quote elsewhere. A paper written for Soochow University in 2009/2010, about Germany’s grand coalition of 2005 – 2009, suggests that 協商民主 – in one word, rather than a comma in between, would stand for kooperative Verhandlungsdemokratie in German,  合作協商民主 in Chinese, or cooperatively negotiated democracy (my personal translation of it). The paper includes the name of a certain Lijphart, and a publication of his in 1999 – apparently referring to Arend Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy.

I’m not going to make myself familiar with the concept now. I’m not particularly thrilled about the concept because it may well be that it will only matter beyond election day under very specific circumstances and conditions anyway – as A-Gu suspected in his blog post on Saturday. But if the different patterns of democracy interest you, Frozen Garlic‘s post of today may provide a short introduction to the topic. He also discusses the topic’s relevance, or its non-relevance, for Taiwan. The only reason as to why I seem to perceive links between the Soochow University paper and Frozen Garlic’s post is that the paper resembles Tsai’s words as quoted by RTI, that Frozen Garlic discusses Tsai’s remarks, and that Garlic,mentions Lijphart in this context.

Personally, I can see Tsai’s point for some cross-party consensus-building when it comes to Taiwan’s basic identity. It isn’t helpful when alternating Taiwanese political parties in government are available for negotiations with China with alternating sets of fundamentals. But if a Taiwan Consensus could be successfully built between the two main political parties – the DPP and the KMT -, that would be a great achievement already – and a sufficient achievement at that.

If the two parties can’t agree to a common negotiation position vis-a-vis China, a “grand coalition”, overarching basically every Taiwanese political issue, would only leave to a governing period void of any major political decisions.

I’m inclined to wait for the election results, and to watch if and how Tsai’s ideas will or won’t evolve further – depending on who will win the presidency, and on what the Legislative Yuan will look like.

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Related

» Consociationalism, Wikipedia, accessed 20120110

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Ma’s, Tsai’s Double-Ten speeches: one ROC, two Interpretations

The following is a translaton of the last six paragraphs from a Liberty Times (自由時報) article of October 10 (local time). Links within blockquotes added during translation.

[…] Ma Ying-jeou and Hu Jintao both claimed the legitimate right to themselves yesterday to speak for Sun Yat-sen. In his commemorative speech, Hu Jintao linked the Xinhai Revolution’s legitimacy to the CCP, saying that the Chinese communists were the strongest supporters of what Sun Yat-sen had started, his closest cooperators, his most faithful successors, who continuously implemented and developed the great aspirations pioneered by Mr. Sun Yat-sen and the Xinhai Revolution.

Ma Ying-jeou also addressed the Xinhai Revolution and Sun Yat-sen yesterday, in a three-dimensional way, emphasizing that after the government had moved to Taiwan, it had made Sun Yat-sen’s ideals work there, after it hadn’t been able to achieve them in China (强调政府迁台后,在中国无法实现的孙中山理想,在台湾都实现了).  He also said that “we are gladly and also very proudly reporting to everyone that the system of freedom, democracy and fair distribution of wealth (均富) is worthy (對得起) of our country father Sun Yat-sen and his revolution, our people’s revolution, their sacrifices, their dedication, the efforts of many million people.

Addressing the CCP’s own celebration of “100 years of founding the state”, or “100 years of Xinhai Revolution”, Tsai Ingwen yesterday made a speech titled “tolerance will unite us, democracy will make Taiwan last forever”. She pointed out that when the Republic of China was established in 1912, Taiwan wasn’t part of its territory, and that the ROC, having lost all its territory in 1949, found shelter on Taiwan. When the historical narrative and the territory were cut apart, the link with the peoples’ feelings was also lost, and touched peoples’ hearts only with difficulty (當歷史論述和土地割裂, 失去與人民情感的聯結,就難以觸動人心).

This doesn’t negate the Republic of China’s significance for Taiwan, but I would like to remind the KMT that Taiwan has its own history, Tsai said. Several thousands of years ago, the aboriginees (原住民族) lived here, and four-hundred years ago, immigrants cultivated the land, political power took turns, that is what has been passed on from generation to generation of Taiwanese people, and what has left its mark in the blood and their memories. This belongs in the history of the people.

Tsai Ing-wen pointed out that even though the ROC government’s arrival on Taiwan had come with a very long period of authoritarian rule, after the termination of the mobilization for the supression of communist rebellion period, comprehensive parliamentary elections, direct presidential elections, the vast majority of Taiwanese today could acknowledge that “Taiwan simply is the Republic of China”, as the two have merged, for a new life in Taiwan. She emphasized that the next president’s task wasn’t to take the country back to 1912, but to lead it into a democratic future.

Tsai Ing-wen made her speech at the Kaohsiung World Games stadium. “The KMT under Ma and the DPP under Tsai both agree that the ROC exists, but they each maintain different interpretations as to what that entails”, the Taipei Times subtitled last night, and added that Tsai’s acknowledgment of the ROC prompted some soul-searching in the green camp:

“The DPP can say what it wants and we’ll say what we want, as long as we get enough votes to win the election,”

the Taipei Times quoted the Taiwanese Society of International Law (TSIL) secretary-general Lee Ming-chun (李明峻) –

“We are absolutely against the ROC, but it doesn’t matter that Tsai says that Taiwan is the ROC. We believe in her and we can change that after we win the election.”

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Related

» “The staunchest supporters”, Global Times, Oct 10, 2011
» A Lucky Year, MKL cmt, October 9, 2011
» Jiang Zemin attends ceremony, October 9, 2011
» Sun Granddaughter: Chinese distortions, CNA, Oct 2, 2011
» Hong Kong’s (2008) delegation, October 9, 2008

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Taiwan Consensus: Tsai Ing-wen’s Harvard Speech in Full

“Taiwan: Policy Challenges, Choices and Democratic Governance”: Tsai Ing-wen‘s Speech at Harvard University, Sept. 15, 2011, on the    DPP blog.

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