Reading through all this, I can't help but wonder if I've correctly imagined the "interim solution" which is planned before ultimate unification with a prosperous, democratic China (keep dreaming).
Could it be that the peace agreement would immediately usher in a Jiang Zemin's Eight-point Proposal-like "one country, two systems" reality, where Taiwan formally agrees with the CCP that Taiwan is Chinese, but gets to keep its government organs and under-funded military -- that is, until the international community has lost interest and withdrawn all promises to Taiwan, at which point the CCP gets impatient and starts to ask for increasing degrees of "consultation" and then control over Taiwan's political & policy process, slowly abolishing this shining light of democracy one issue at a time?
After all, the CCP has always held it will not let Taiwan put off unification talks forever. And when would you ratchet up the pressure -- while Taiwan still has some real options, or after the issue is more or less decided?
Ma's biggest slip up (stating things plainly) came in Dec 2005 interview with Newsweek ...
What is your time frame, then, for unification?
For our party, the eventual goal is reunification, but we don't have a timetable. At the moment, we don't believe that either side is prepared to have unification... The conditions are really not ripe yet.
Do you see unification happening in your lifetime?
If you had asked me the question 10 years ago, I would have said no. But things are changing rapidly on the Chinese mainland, and we don't know how far they will go with democratization. Ten years ago, I wouldn't have thought that they were ready to have local elections. But they are doing it now. Of course, the nature of communism is to [hold] power for as long as possible. So it would be very naive to think that they will become as democratic as Taiwan in the near future... I think we may not be able to solve the sovereignty issue in our lifetimes—whether it's one China or two, or whatever.
Can you imagine a future in which Taiwan and China exist side by side as fully independent states, recognized as such by the world?
It would be very unlikely. Some of us here would like to see that happen. But for the mainland, they have similar problems with Xinjiang, with Tibet. So they feel that if they loosen up for Taiwan, they might encounter difficulties elsewhere. On the other hand, Taiwan is very different from the provinces in mainland China that have independence or autonomy [aspirations] because our situation is very much linked with the rest of the world. Any military move against Taiwan would certainly involve the United States.
Let's follow the timeline from there...
Feb 08, 2006 Ma pushes `status quo' in article
Feb 10, 2006 Ma talks of `peace and prosperity' on arrival in Geneva
"The KMT believes that neither unification nor independence is likely for Taiwan in the foreseeable future and that therefore the status quo should be maintained. The island's [sic] future should be determined by its people, rather than the government," [Ma] wrote.
Ma criticized President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) recent Lunar New Year's Day message, in which Chen advocated abolishing the unification guidelines and pushing for another round of constitutional amendments. Ma said that Taiwan should not "rock the boat in regional waters."
"We should instead seek to advance the security and stability of the area," he said. "Taiwan, while it seeks to defuse tensions across the Taiwan Strait, should also demonstrate its determination to protect itself by maintaining adequate defensive capabilities."
Feb 11, 2006 Ma touts unification with `free' China
KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (
賴士葆) said yesterday in Taipei that Ma had raised the unification theory in order to explain the "one China" spirit as stipulated in the ROC Constitution. What Ma is focused on, he said, is maintaining Taiwan's current status quo.
The "eventual unification" that Ma referred to must be based on preconditions of peace and equitable prosperity on both sides of the Strait and with the consent of Taiwan's people, Lai said, [A-gu: notice how here there's no requirement for China to become a democracy for Taiwan to accept annexation; that would be too pesky.] adding that what Ma talked about did not exceed the framework of the National Unification Council or its guidelines.KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) accused the president of playing hardball by saying that he had unfairly interpreted Ma's remarks to the foreign media as a way of shifting the general public's attention from the poor performance of the government.
Feb 13, 2006 Ma tells China to dismantle missles
Ma dismissed DPP criticisms that the KMT supports unification with China, saying that while the KMT does consider "ultimate cross-strait unification" an option in its cross-strait policy, unification can only be achieved after China has evolved into a country of freedom, democracy and prosperity, and on condition that the majority of Taiwanese voters consent to it. [A-gu: If one were generous, this would be read as a well-formed attempt to stall political annexation by China, because the CCP will never transition to a democracy. But that interpretation flies in the face of everything else we know about Ma's position.]
He added that none of these conditions for the implementation of cross-strait unification had been met, and that the KMT had no timetable in this regard.
Feb 14, 2006 Hubbub over Ma's remarks escalates
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
馬英九) has said that China must agree to discuss dismantling its missiles pointed at Taiwan before the country would agree to hold talks.
"No one likes to live under the threat of guns, knives or warheads of missiles," Ma said in comments aired on Saturday by ETTV. "This should be included in the agenda if we hold talks in the future."
Feb 15, 2006 Ma under fire over London party
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said in London yesterday during an interview with Taiwanese and British reporters that engaging in negotiations with China to seek a breakthrough in relations remains the only way for Taiwan to solve thorny cross-strait issues peacefully.
Even in the face of more than 700 missiles targeting Taiwan, the country's leadership should seek to negotiate with China and solve the differences between the two sides to achieve permanent peace across the Taiwan Strait, Ma said.
Ma's comments contrasted with remarks he made on Saturday, as well as with the comments of other KMT officials on Sunday, when he agreed with a student at Cambridge University, who asked whether China must remove its missiles before the Taiwanese people could countenance negotiations.
He gave a speech on cross-strait relations during the reception on Sunday. The reception was organized by the KMT's UK branch, the Sun Yat-sen Association and the Republic of China Women's Association in the UK.Feb 15, 2006 KMT ad defends unification plan
In addition to dozens of overseas Taiwanese residents in London, the attendees included overseas Chinese and Hong Kong residents.
Also present was a former official of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission (OCAC), Rao Gang (
饒剛), who has been charged by the Taipei District Court with corruption but who has failed to return home to stand trial.
Taiwanese Association in the UK director Lee Yi-te (
李奕德), who teaches at a British university, told the Taipei Times in a telephone interview yesterday that the reception organizers had received a ?1,000 (US$1,744) donation from Chan Sheng ( 單聲), a British Taiwanese businessman and a staunch supporter of the Anti-Secession Law. [<-- an earlier paragraph, placed here for convenience]
Feb 16, 2008 Sparks fly over KMT's controversial ad
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday sought to defend itself in the face of criticism that its goal of "eventually" unifying with China had little support among most Taiwanese.
The party published a print ad in a pro-independence newspaper explaining its cross-strait stance, as set out by Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
馬英九) recently when he said that maintaining the status quo is the most pragmatic path for Taiwan.
In an ad titled "Taiwan's Pragmatic Path" that appeared in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper), the KMT stressed the importance of maintaining the status quo as a practical choice for the country, and that Taiwan's future should be determined by its people, rather than the government. [A-gu: but not by referendum?]
"The KMT firmly believes that, in keeping with the spirit of democracy, there are many options for Taiwan's future, be it reunification, independence or the status quo. It is necessary that the choice be made by the people," the ad said.KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
馬英九), who arrived in Dublin early yesterday, defended the print ad, and said it was merely the result of "misreading or misinterpretation" to consider the KMT pro-independence because of an advertisement.
"Unification, independence and maintaining the status quo are all options for Taiwan's future. As citizens of a democratic country, the people of Taiwan are free to choose which option to pursue, [A-gu: except by referendum] so long as the choices are constitutional and do not violate any of the laws of the country," he said yesterday morning in Dublin.
While respecting the choices of the Taiwanese people [A-gu: see that back away from supporting eventual unification?], the KMT advocates maintaining the status quo at present, Ma added.