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Jan 16, 2009

Legislative wranglings

As the Legislative Yuan finally gets around to passing the budget, another set of resolutions was mentioned in a Liberty Times article today. (CNA article here.)

The first is a DPP resolution that reads as follows and was passed on Tuesday by the KMT-controlled legislature:


The Republic of China (Taiwan) is a sovereign and independent country, governed separately from the People's Republic of China, and neither [the PRC or ROC] has jurisdiction over the other. During country-to-country negotiations and meetings between officials of the two countries at both official and unofficial forums, representatives from all levels of our government should without exception participate in their capacity as formal government representatives, and should neither lower our status nor damage our national dignity.
Seems like a pretty good resolution. It had bipartisan support, defines cross-strait relations as country-to-country, and calls for real officials to be involved in all negotations.

Last night, a similar KMT measure passed. The content is as follows:

During cross-strait negotiations and meetings at official and unofficial forums, our government officials from all levels of government
should without exception participate on equal footing and in a respectful manner. If the other side official representatives, our side ought also to send official representatives, and should neither lower our status nor damage our national dignity.
This resolution basically gives the administration room to send unofficial representatives when China does the same, which seems practical enough to me and is likely intended to leave an opening for party-to-party negotiations and unofficial meetings.

The resolutions are not in contradiction and, if I'm not mistaken, carry the power of law. So does this mean that we now have a law on the books that says ROC = Taiwan and that the PRC and ROC both exist as separate, equal entities which are not subordinate to each other? I think so. Correct me if I'm wrong. Update: Maddog corrects this by pointing out the resolutions do not have the force of law.

And in Ma's reading of the constitution, is the DPP resolution unconstitutional?


Carlos said...

That's interesting, to say the least!

I don't really see the point to a second, almost identical resolution instead of amending the first, but I'm no lawmaker. They sound like they might put Ma in the uncomfortable position of having to call himself President...

And as for the first sentence of the DPP's resolution, it sounds like the sort of thing that the PRC would get very mad at. How'd that sneak through?

Thomas said...

I think it is all words miself. What the KMT negotiators do and what is on the books doesn't have to be in sync. The party-to-party negotiations are opaque already, and Ma seems to have been talking about the sovereignty issue out of both sides of his mouth anyways... harming sovereignty while saying he hasn't.

STOP Ma said...

I'd have to side with Thomas on this one. I'm very skeptical. But then again, I wouldn't trust the KMT more than a stone's throw.

Tim Maddog said...

A-gu, you wrote:
- - -
The resolutions are not in contradiction [...]
- - -

There's a huge difference between those two resolutions (which aren't laws, but rather bills, or expressions of opinion/statements of intent), and that difference is this: the DPP's explicitly states that Taiwan and China are two separate countries, while the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) allows the "region-to-region" framing.

Now the KMT could be just trying to counter Ma Ying-jeou's latest crappy surveys, but anyway (as Thomas and Stop Ma both imply), laws don't seem to matter to that party.

BTW, run that CNA article through Google translation, and watch 中央社 get translated as "Xinhua" in the dateline. I kid you not.

Tim Maddog