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Oct 25, 2008

ARATS deputy chair calls peace agreement "next step"

Yesterday, Wang Zaixi (王在希), deputy chairman of China's Association on Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), said that after Chen Yunlin's visit to Taiwan, the next step in relations would be to negotiate a peace agreement on the foundation of the 92 concensus with the aim of establishing a framework for peaceful cross-strait development.

If this is the case, it represents even faster movement by the Chinese side in welcoming Ma's overtures than most US and Taiwan analysts have been anticipating.

My guess is that there were a couple camps of thinking in China on this topic; the first was a group that wanted to wait and see how sincere Ma was, see how likely he'd be to stay in power for a second term, and see just how much he'd give away for free before negotiating.

If Wang's statements represent establishment view, which seems likely given his rank, it means another viewpoint won out, namely that China should work while it still can to consolidate, formalize and solidify the 92 concensus and a framework that would tightly constrain any future DPP administration and help lock Taiwan into a path ultimately directed at unification.

Mind you, I'm largely speculating here, but this is a big statement from a high-ranking Chinese official. As far as I know, this is their first statement on signing a peace agreement. Previously it was just Ma talking to himself. To make such an agreement the "next step," as well, is even more surprising and I think shows a sense of urgency on the Chinese side. They know any agreement would take some time to negotiate and they are probably worried about excessive legislative oversight (LY is trying to gain 'treaty review authority' on cross-strait agreements) and about losing a window of opportunity to lock things in.

If you were hoping to ensure Taiwan's future would be decided by the Taiwanese people alone directly through referendum, I think its time to be afraid.

3 comments:

D. Corey Sanderson said...

A-gu,

Make sure you are noting that there was no actually '92 consensus...it was an idea and a fallacy, something that was made up to give the movement leverage. The 1992 meeting did not come up with a consensus...so China and the current KMT administration basically want to give legitimacy to the consensus that they've never had [formally].

STOP Ma said...

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dcs,

Not only did they not have a consensus, the main principle of the consensus (what IS China?) -- BY DEFINITION -- is NOT a consensus.

The 1992 so-called "consensus" make Taiwan look internationally ridiculous because it claims that China = R.O.C.

Who's the world going to stand-by on this definition of China? Hmm?

I wonder how the protest is going today? Wish I was there!
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Raj said...

I'm still unsure how a peace agreement can lock the DPP and Taiwan into unification. I suppose theoretically it could, but it would really depend on the provisions. If they were that crazy then Ma can say goodbye to a second term, and the DPP would probably have the support to reject the "agreement" and demand a new starting point.

China could only sulk for another four years.