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Dec 18, 2007

Why Ma's election means surrender and no hope of independence

I know that the blue fans out there really hate when the greens say that Ma would sell out Taiwan. But I just I don't buy that Ma's a safe choice.

Ma wishes to end any chance of future Taiwanese independence within his first term, and if he is elected he would try to pull it off without any sort of referendum.

From the KMT's website. Translation mine.


Based on the above ideals, Ying-jeou's position is as follows:

(1) Fundamental position: (a) On the foundation of the Republic of China's constitution and the "92 consensus", and on the preconditions of equality and respect, with the principle of "no independence, no attack--" encourage peaceful cross-strait exchanges and cooperation; (b) use the five point consensus agreed on with the mainland by Chairman Lien in Beijing, develop cross-strait relations; (c) use this party's think tank as a platform, encourage party-to-party agreements and cooperation.

(2) Four principles: (a) Do not change the status quo; (b) Taiwan first; (c) Peaceful co-existence (d) equal agreements

(3) Five positions: (a) end the state of hostility with a peace agreement; (b) strengthen economic exchange and implementing protections on investment; (c) struggle for international space and fully open up cross-strait flights; (d) open up tourism, recognize degrees [from China], and encourage agricultural cooperation; work together to fight crime and protect social harmony.

Now. There are a lot of issues with this proposal of course; any agreement China enters into, no matter how Taiwan wants to spin it, will not be equal because China considers itself the only legal government and will never recognize the ROC (Ma only says "we'll find a way to work it out" at this point). There's also the complaint about total economic integration. In any case, I think the more important point is laid out in bold.

Ma Ying-jeou will sign a peace agreement with China that will no doubt include his own most fundamental principal for resuming talks, which is "no independence, no attack." This will formalize that Taiwan is a part of China and if Taiwan ever seeks to say otherwise, effectively agrees to a Chinese attack. It is, in essence, a surrender agreement that would also allow Taiwan to pretty much continue ruling itself for a while as long as it doesn't change the status quo.

Problem is, the current status quo is that Taiwan is effectively independence (though the KMT prefers to ignore that). The status quo after such an agreement is that Taiwan is a part of China. And changing that would authorize war.

In any case, that's how China and the rest of the world is going to take it. It will be game, set, and match. It will be a formal agreement that Taiwan is a part of China and permanently end any chance anyone would fight on Taiwan's behalf. It would, in the long run (and probably within a few short years), mean that "one China" thinking would permeate education in Taiwan. It would very likely mean a serious blow to the independence movement that would virtually guarantee Taiwan fight a war if it ever wanted to be independent.


Raj said...

The thing is that the chances of formal independence for Taiwan are actually astronomically low. China would never agree to it and would certainly go to war if Taiwan declared it/formalised it. The US would not intervene in such a case.

Yes, Taiwan could "keep its options open" but even if it did so for a century nothing would change - China's advantage over the island would only grow. Even if China became a democracy it is highly unlikely any governing party would accept Taiwanese independence. The important countries of the world, nor a majority, will ever recognise Taiwan as independent over China's objections. China will not change its mind over time.

The "one China" path is the only one available - that's something that a very senior "neutral" politician told me. That does not mean giving Beijing control or authority over Taiwan. Chinese don't care that much how unification occurs so long as it does. A face-saving deal for China that allows Taiwan to carry on as it does now is quite possible - membership of the UN might even be possible. Do Taiwanese want actual independence like they have now in a reliable form, or risk losing it all for a piece of paper they can wave around, which other countries may not give a damn about?

I don't agree that signing a deal as you describe (assuming it would happen) would give China the right in the world's eyes to invade Taiwan. The countries that count and have ever cared about Taiwan aren't stupid - they know Taiwanese don't want full unification under terms imposed by China. If anything they would see the signing of an agreement as a strong effort by Taiwan to avoid conflict. If China then said "ok, now we can screw you over on unification and force you to be like Hong Kong" I doubt that the US would side with China. If it did then I can promise you it would have never helped Taiwan prior to such an agreement.

阿牛 said...

Well, I suppose it's fair to suggest that I could be overstating the case both for Taiwan's future independence option and on the negative impact this treaty would have on those options.

I have also heard from very neutral people that they feel there is no choice but to eventually unify, and that all Taiwan can do is get the best deal out of it possible.

Unknown said...

the longer the separation, the harder it will be for both countries to unify together
dragging and seeing what cards might came up might not be a bad option for Taiwan.
maybe one day the chinese communist pary will be overthrown and a new democratic republican govt be set up in the mainland.
I don't see any future mainland leaders wanting to lose Taiwan but who know??