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Jun 17, 2011

I think this is a tell

The People's Daily reports:
人民网北京6月15日电(记者刘洁妍 李叶) 蔡英文日前表示,民进党将会以更加积极的态度与大陆对话,但是不会接受“一个中国”原则。对此,在今天上午举行的国台办新闻发布会上,发言人杨毅表示,两岸关系和平发展迄今的进展和成果都是在认同体现一中原则的“九二共识”的基础上实现的。没有了这一基础,否认“一中框架”,继续顽固坚持“一边一国”的分裂主张、分裂立场,很难想象两岸关系如何维持与发展。 
Tsai Ing-wen yesterday said that the DPP would engage in dialogue with China with a more energetic attitude, but would not accept the One China principle. In response, at the press conference today held by the Taiwan Affairs Office, Spokesperson Yang Yi expressed that cross straight relations and peaceful development, to date, had  advanced and produced results because they were being realized on the foundation of the common recognition of the One China principle of the '92 consensus.  Without this foundation, and by denying the One China framework & continuing to stubbornly uphold the One Side, One Country 
splittist position, it is difficult to imagine how cross strait relations could maintain or develop.  [emphasis mine]

I think Tsai was clever here, setting herself in opposition not to the ever-undefined and undefinable '92 consensus, but instead to China's "One China" interpretation of it. That means the ball is in China's court to respond, not the KMT's court; and because the KMT wishes to downplay the Chinese interpretation anyway, you won't hear them talking about it. Certainly, a Chinese official could easily create backlash in Taiwan should they repeatedly remind everyone that all agreements signed since 2008 are signed on their understanding that the Taiwan government now recognizes Taiwan and China are part of the same country.

And even worse for pro-"reconciliation" propaganda is the place where Yang Yi explicitly refutes the average Taiwanese's understanding that the "status quo" means One Side, One Country.

And yet I'm struck by the way the statement closes: it's merely difficult to imagine, not impossible, for relations to remain intact with a DPP that denies "One China." That seems to hint to me that the Chinese leadership is at least still debating this question, though unlikely already resolved to maintain current agreements like the ECFA (however, uncertainty on this question would surely assist the KMT come  2012); and the Chinese leadership is doubtlessly eager to see just how "energetic" of an attitude the DPP will display during this time where the Chinese government need concede nothing.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I think this article suggests that all bodes well for the Greens. First, Tsai picking her fight with the CCP position instead of the KMT's version of '92 could and should be the start of a brilliant campaign strategy. Second, repeated and explicit Chinese rejection of the One Side, One Country formula is exactly the sort of thing that would help bolster explicit support in Taiwan for that same formula (so don't expect to see much about it in the blue press).  And finally, maybe there's already hope that a Tsai win and rejection of One China wouldn't mean the end of finding a way to conduct dialogue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think you are reading too much into it. Such statements are very carefully drafted, before they are made.