Ma-Xi Meeting Puts Unification-Independence Issue Center Stage
Tseng Po-yu, 24, is the youngest female candidate in Taiwan's upcoming general elections. One of the spokespersons for last year's Sunflower student movement Tseng is running for the Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance in New Taipei City. She feels that the Ma-Xi Meeting has put Taiwan at a disadvantage.
Ma-Xi Meeting Puts Unification-Independence Issue Center StageBy Ying-hsi Lee
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 585 )
Over the past weeks we at the Green Party-Social Democratic Party have made efforts to create an election atmosphere that allows for a rational policy discussion of the direction for our future government. The Ma-Xi Meeting has completely destroyed our efforts.
The Ma-Xi Meeting has pulled back public discourse to the traditional blue-green, unification-independence spectrum. Now, when we discuss policy, people will still ask after hearing us out, “So where do you stand within the unification–independence spectrum?”
That Ma Ying-jeou has made such a major decision just before leaving office and without gaining backing through social consensus merely serves Ma’s intention to secure a place in history for himself.
By acting this way, he can trigger a blue-green confrontation so that KMT supporters who were disappointed with the KMT will think that, shortly before leaving office, he has finally done something useful. At least, (KMT Chairman and presidential candidate) Eric Chu can now clearly say that he will continue to meet Chinese leaders in the coming four years. This is a very realistic, practicable policy.
Cross-strait Ties Reduced to Interior Affairs Issue
The Ma-Xi Meeting has created a very tricky international atmosphere. Taiwan is already in a very difficult situation internationally. After the Ma-Xi Meeting, relations between Taiwan and China will be reduced to an interior affairs issue, putting Taiwan in a very disadvantageous position on the international stage.
No matter whether Ma Ying-jeou talks about "one China, different interpretations" or the “1992 Consensus," the emphasis is not on “different interpretations,” but on “one China.” Previously, he was able to grandiosely claim that the one China refers to the Republic of China, but Zhang Zhijun, the director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, has stated very clearly that this “one China” stands for the People’s Republic of China.
The outcome of the March 18 Sunflower movement [in 2014] indicates that a vast majority of people are worried about excessive rapprochement with China or excessive opening [of Taiwan toward China]. Ma Ying-jeou has declared his prerequisites concerning cross-strait relations, but if your major prerequisites and our major prerequisites are not the same, how can we expect to be able to uphold Taiwan's subjectivity and interests amid this process?
Our current constitutional system is very unbalanced because it is completely unable to restrain the president. From the stance of the Green Party–Social Democratic Party Alliance, a meeting between the leaders of two countries is a major event that should be subject to legal procedures. The Legislative Yuan must monitor [this process], and the Democratic Progressive Party should exercise its right to monitor the government. But we should probably expect more from protests from outside the traditional political apparatus, that they will force the Ma government to clean up this mess before leaving office.
Translated from the Chinese by Susanne Ganz
About the “1992 Consensus”
In the early 1990s, Taiwan and China began having contact, but the two sides had to resolve how to define their respective status before engaging in pragmatic negotiations. After several meetings, it was decided in 1992 that “each side use its own oral statements to describe the ‘one-China principle.’” It was the first time common ground had been reached in more than 40 years in facing the core problem of how to define “one China.” After this consensus was reached, talks were held between Koo Chen-fu and Wang Daohan, the heads of quasi-official organizations representing Taiwan and the PRC in bilateral contacts, respectively, in Singapore in 1993. In 2000, then Secretary-General of National Security Council Su Chi described this as the “1992 consensus.” The consensus has never been recognized by the Democratic Progressive Party.
Sources: Mainland Affairs Council press releases, “20 Years of Vacillations in Cross-Strait Relations”