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Oct 26, 2008

What might a peace agreement look like?

Due to the likelihood that a peace agreement will be passed in the next two years or so, I spent a few hours considering this question and also how I should organize the blog post. I've decided to write it and not just make a table. I think we should examine, from both a KMT and CCP perspective, what the requirements and incentives of such an agreement are. Finally we should look at the realistic scope of any such agreement.

Updated question for discussion: would such an agreement be framed as a formal truce to the KMT/CCP civil war?

Minimum requirements

For China, any peace treaty must institutionalize One China; cannot recognize Taiwan/the ROC as a country; and must be sellable as an intermediate step toward unification, not a final status agreement.

For Taiwan, the treaty must be politically viable at home. That means it must to some degree recognize the "One China, two interpretations" formulation, or at the very least define China in a non-political way; at best (from a green perspective), it would recognize two political entities within One China. Second, the treaty cannot explicitly lock Taiwan into future unification, and it is probably best to not mention that word at all. Third, it will require China to renounce attacking Taiwan (it is a peace agreement after all).

Incentives

A Taiwan that's signed a peace treaty might stand to gain greater international investor confidence and more fully normalize relations with China. And from the KMT perspective, solidifying China-related policy for the foreseeable future is a Good Thing.TM But really, that's about it.

For China there's even less incentive unless they get to set a few terms. For example, China would only be willing to renounce attacking Taiwan if "splittist" activities are defined and renouncing violence is conditioned on Taiwan not doing anything "splittist." In other words, expect something vague that more or less institutionalizes the "anti-succession law." It would severely constrain any future DPP administration.

Further, China would want a specific mention or direction for future discussions, which they would want to lead to unification. Whatever the text says, it will not mention Taiwan having a choice in that matter, even though it will also not bind Taiwan to future unification.

Realistic scope

You know, maybe all of this is going way too far. Perhaps the scope I've outlined here is unrealistically broad and really, all controversial topics will be put aside as much as possible. What does everyone else think an agreement between the CCP and KMT government would look like?

5 comments:

Raj said...

In other words, expect something vague that more or less institutionalizes the "anti-succession law." It would severely constrain any future DPP administration.

I don't think that would be the case. If the KMT made an agreement with the CCP demonising a third party like the DPP, the DPP wouldn't be bound by it unless they agreed to it.

All this would do is mean the KMT recognised the status-quo re the anti-secession law. If China would act after the peace agreement it would have acted before the peace agreement. If the US did nothing to help after the peace agreement it would have not acted before the peace agreement.

STOP Ma said...

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Any so-called "Peace Agreement"TM drawn up now would be meaningless. Just as the so-called "1992 Consensus" is meaningless.

I cannot imagine a peace agreement where:

1. The true status-quo is maintained. That is, China governs itself without threatening annexation and Taiwan governs itself without any political interference from China.

2. Agreeing to a true status-quo and eliminating the anti-secession law which is a contradiction to the status-quo -- thereby withdrawing 1400+ missiles pointed at Taiwan.

3. A true political consensus is met within Taiwan without 1 and 2.

This will not happen because China does not want a status-quo. The KMT and CCP can call this agreement whatever they want (just like the so-called 1992 consensus), but unless it has political viability in Taiwan (or the China elite, for that matter) -- it will be dead before it is even signed.

Now, my analysis only holds true if ...

1. The democratic process continues in Taiwan.

OR

2. The people revolt over the democratic process being taken away from them.

In other words, the KMT and CCP would have to launch a successful crackdown against democracy and the majority of Taiwanese (probably a violent crackdown) in order to have a so-called "Peace Agreement"TM be meaningful and longstanding. Ironic, 'aint it?

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阿牛 said...

I'm just noting that now that both administrations (KMT and CCP) seem bent on passing a peace agreement that would have the force of law, we'd better get ready to make some realistic assessments of what it might look like and what we can do to either kill it/ make its terms acceptable.

Haitien said...

How would a peace agreement that imposes constraints on China (assuming it does) be enforced? Maybe it's just a failure of my imagination, but I have a hard time visualizing Beijing making any concessions that couldn't be easily reversed or negated when convenient. If they really wanted to make a move on Taiwan, I doubt they'd have much difficulty manufacturing some type of justification to create just enough uncertainty to dissuade outside intervention.

As other posters have pointed out, it is likely that China will try to use a peace agreement to cement mutual adherence to a "92 Consensus", with heavy emphasis on the One China part, but leaving enough space for supporters in Taiwan to fill in the "mutual interpretations" part, in order to satisfy the sort of cognitive dissonance required to believe that the whole "Republic of China as the rightful ruler of China" charade is a sustainable condition.

If there was one place to fight back against this, I'd say it would be on the prior point. The KMT makes a lot of noise during election time about "defending the Republic of China". I'd like to see the pan-green bloc call their bluff on that point (eg. bringing in more ROC flags to rallies alongside Taiwan flags.... after all, it is just a symbol). For better or for worse, the ROC is functionally Taiwan these days. If the DPP can illustrate to enough people that the PRC does not in fact find Taiwan ruled independently under any capacity or title to be acceptable (ROC or otherwise), then some real inroads can be made on getting the public to have a serious dialogue of where we want to go from here.

阿牛 said...

As other posters have pointed out, it is likely that China will try to use a peace agreement to cement mutual adherence to a "92 Consensus", with heavy emphasis on the One China part, but leaving enough space for supporters in Taiwan to fill in the "mutual interpretations" part, in order to satisfy the sort of cognitive dissonance required to believe that the whole "Republic of China as the rightful ruler of China" charade is a sustainable condition.

This is, I think, something I've tried to point out in terms of minimal requirements. And I too am very skeptical of what kind of scope can really be achieved. I think the basic question for such an agreement is: will it merely be a written version of a "92 consensus," will it define and/or accept the status quo, or will it push for some real compromises from one side or the other?