PacNet #13 - March 23, 2010
Thinking about a Future DPP Government
By David G. Brown
Thinking about a Future DPP Government
By David G. Brown
David G. Brown [email@example.com]is adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Brown begins by reviewing the DPP's reviving electoral hopes, and closes with the entirely predictable....
....Pragmatists hope to avoid repeating the mistakes of the Chen Shui-bian era that saw escalating tensions with China and severely strained relations with the US. On the other hand, some DPP activists appeal for support by sticking their fingers in the dragon’s eye or by mobilizing protests against visiting mainland representatives. However, future party policy remains unclear....yes, Mad Chen© lives! No establishment piece would be complete without him, he's unpragmatic! It goes without saying that China's role in creating and sustaining tensions is not mentioned. Indeed, in no Establishment piece is China's role anything but passive. Scary.
The key point of the paper is here, and all flows from it:
Since the key to maintaining good US-Taiwan relations is for Taipei to be seen as pursuing stable cross-Strait relations, there are signs the US would be looking for in DPP policy.You can see that the DPP is already being set up for Mad Chen, v2.0. Since Beijing, not Taiwan, controls the level of tension, Brown is essentially calling for Taipei to subordinate its foreign and domestic policies to the approval of Beijing, or risk the wrath of the US when Beijing starts its familiar whine about the hurt feelings of the 1.3 billion: "Those DPP leaders are provoking China again!" Imagine if CSIS mandated this for everyone:
OBSERVER: India has rejected Chinese claims to Arunachal Pradesh.Of course no mention of the Chinese military build up, threats against Taiwan, etc. It goes without saying that these have no effect on cross-strait tensions, and so there is no need to say that. Or something. Whatever. Wish I could make the missiles disappear as easily....
CSIS ANALYST: I wish New Delhi would quit provoking Beijing.
OBSERVER: Further, Vietnam has protested China's claim to 16,000 islands in the South China Sea, as have the Philippines and Indonesia.
CSIS ANALYST: (snarling) Worst case of provocation I have ever seen.
OBSERVER: Japan's foreign ministry filed a complaint with Beijing over Chinese submarines operating in the Senkakus, which Beijing first claimed in 1969.
CSIS ANALYST: (shouting) Provocation! Provocation! Provocation!
Like all writing, as soon it moves away from abstractions and codewords like stability and pragmatic, it improves greatly. Brown then states that in Washington's view, it is important
....whether a future DPP government would maintain the newly institutionalized arrangements that have been negotiated between Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) – that is the SEF-ARATS agreements and the pattern of regular day-to-day contacts between the two sides that take place under those agreements. A DPP administration would undoubtedly want to change some details, but it would be reassuring to Washington if the existing arrangements were maintained.The DPP should retain these arrangements, especially since the KMT will continue with its multi-track, party-to-party, back room agreements with the CCP. Note what Brown calls for then:
Another relatively easy decision would be for the DPP presidential candidate to provide reassurance to Washington and Beijing on the parameters within which cross-Strait policy will be pursued...It is interesting to imagine how China can be "reassured" when it and the DPP hold diametrically opposed views on the fate of Taiwan.... read closely:
The more difficult challenge for the DPP would be to keep the SEF-ARATS negotiating channels open. To do this, Taipei and Beijing would need to work out a political basis for talks. Inevitably, this will require the DPP to face up to the “one China” issue. The Chen administration, which included current DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen, rejected the “1992 consensus,” which has allowed Beijing and the Ma administration to conduct talks without reaching agreement on the meaning of “one China.” It will not be easy for a future DPP candidate to accept the “1992 consensus,” but finding a way to do so would be very significant for Beijing and Washington. Alternatively, some in the DPP have considered possible approaches to the “one China” issue. Frank Hsieh has talked of a “constitutional one China,” based on the party’s acceptance that the Republic of China constitution assumes “one China.” Coming to grips with this issue would be facilitated if the DPP were to update the 1999 Resolution on Taiwan’s Future to reflect the changed circumstances in cross-Strait relations and reformulating the old resolution’s explicit rejection of “one China.” Party leaders are understandably reluctant to reopen the issues in the 1999 resolution, but doing this would appear necessary to establish a basis for continuing cross-Strait talks.The 1992 consensus does not exist; it is merely a fiction that the KMT invented long afterward as a fig leaf for talks. It can't be accepted because it doesn't mean anything, or if accepted, it won't mean anything anyway. Note that Brown calls on the DPP to "reformulate" the 1999 Resolution's explicit resolution of "One China" -- but a careful reading of the resolution shows that it rejects China's version of One China which includes Taiwan. Brown, in code, is essentially calling upon the DPP to repudiate Taiwan's democracy and sovereignty -- and adopt the very stand that is currently killing Ma in the polls. Thanks, but no thanks.
That humorous disjunction between the Establishment view and reality is also present in the complete lack of recognition in this paragraph that the reason the DPP won't able to keep the communications channels open is Chinese intrasigence. Here the avoidance of reality becomes positively heroic: Brown merely says "it will be difficult" for the DPP to keep the communications channels open. A master of understatement.
Any mention of the KMT's parallel negotiating tracks with China? Naw.
Having established that China is not a problem, Brown can then forthrightly move on to the next paragraph in which he (1) praises China for being "remarkably pragmatic" with Taipei and says that (2) it is possible that China's "China’s risk-averse leaders will look for a way to respond if the DPP moves away from the outright rejection of “one China” and away from its advocacy of de jure independence." Anyone remember when the Establishment sang with one voice that China would take all those missiles down in response to Taipei's becoming more flexible and pragmatic? Yea, verily, China would respond if the DPP kow-towed -- with another five hundred missiles. Because everyone in Beijing would realize that if they pile on the threat, the DPP comes around -- so why would they ever make any change in the situation? Brown's claims have no basic in the actual logic of cross-strait relations.
Regardless of Beijing’s response, if Taipei is seen in Washington as pursuing moderate cross-Strait policies, that would help ensure good US-Taiwan relations. However, if DPP cross-Strait policies cause a rise in tensions, a widening gap between US and Taiwan interests and relations would be inevitable.DPP cross-strait polices will ALWAYS cause a rise in tensions, because
TENSIONS ARE CAUSED BY BEIJING NOT THE DPP.Since Beijing can cause tensions any time it wants over any event it likes, the DPP will always cause tensions. The question is whether the US will take a more realistic view of things, not whether the DPP will "cause" tensions.
The rest of the paper looks to the future and worries that if the DPP continues to pursue de jure independence then Washington and Taipei will have divergent interests. Well, it can be hardly surprising that the class of analysts working for organizations with close links to firms doing business in China could come to any conclusion but that. But I expect that by 2020 when China is the Ultimate Super Power the Asian region will be looking at China in quite a different way.
- China's property bubble is worse than everyone thinks.
- Yet more Asian regret over FTAs with China.
- WaPo on US companies changing attitudes toward China? Article seems a mite one-sided to me.
- TVBS polls has dissatisfaction with Ma at 51%.
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