Sunday, October 30, 2011

Joseph Wu: Peace = Unification; Road Maps for Peace

Lots of calls for consensus on cross strait relations, with DPP heavyweight Joseph Wu making a number of good points in a commentary in the TT:

China has clearly expressed its view on the resolution of the “Taiwan problem” in the roadmap laid down by Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in his six-point statement at the end of 2008.

In the roadmap, Hu said that the two sides should, based on the “one China” principle, negotiate the formal end of the civil war and sign a peace agreement. The two sides could then discuss the political framework before unification as well as the issue of mutual military trust.

According to this roadmap, the “one China” principle and a formal end of the civil war become preconditions for a peace agreement. Apparently, the result of the peace agreement will be unidirectional: Taiwan neutralized and on the irreversible road to unification.

Ma has neither repudiated China’s method of resolving the Taiwan issue nor explained his position on the “one China” principle or the ending of the civil war as preconditions for talks on a peace agreement. In fact, he asserted that he saw genuine goodwill in the six-point statement in a video conference in April 2009.
Wu also notes that the peace agreement is a backward step -- President Lee ended the state of emergency, essentially ending the "civil war". To sign a peace agreement is in essence to recognize a state of war, at least on Taiwan's side, that was terminated two decades ago. It's a good example of the way that ideology governs Ma's perception of reality. Wu also emphasizes that no "peace agreement" can be made unless Taipei says Taiwan is part of China and all its people are Chinese. Peace = unification.

A friend of mine steered me toward this paper written two years ago by a pro-China Taiwan academic whose peace proposal is eerily similar to what Ma is putting forth. In this proposal, the KMT government on Taiwan accepts that Taiwan is part of China and everyone on the island is Chinese. After that the threat of force ends. Hahaha. There seems to be a widespread fantasy that after the two parties agree on "peace" Beijing will put up its sword -- but as I have said many times, those missiles are aimed at observers in foreign capitals, especially Washington and Tokyo, as well as at the pro-Taiwan side in local politics. Note that the missile build-up has continued despite Ma's ascension.

If Ma is elected, do you think he will declare "I have a mandate!" and move forward with a peace agreement because his election shows the public supports it? Oy ve.
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Ben Goren said...

What is interesting is that sometime in the previous week I saw that Ma claimed he would not interpret his reelection as a public mandate for a peace agreement.

What strikes me is how unnecessary this pitching of the peace pact is at this time, and especially the so-called timetable of 'within the next ten years'. Since Ma has maximum four more years in office does that mean we can assume the 10 will become four about 3 mins after his win is announced?

In the end analysis I guess we can thank Ma for one thing - his utter transparency. If Taiwanese now go out and vote him in again it will send a very strong signal to the international community.

Ps: I saw Terry Guo came out for the pan-blues the other day. No surprises there.

STOP Ma said...

"...To sign a peace agreement is in essence to recognize a state of war, at least on Taiwan's side, that was terminated two decades ago..."

This could not be shouted loud enough or repeated enough times from now to the election.

It is yet another huge gap in logic that the KMT want the Taiwanese to accept, but what else is new?! The so-called "1992 consensus" isn't actually a consensus -- by definition (even if it wasn't a fabrication by the KMT).

Got that?

1. The KMT want to sign a "peace agreement", even though there is no state of war.

2. The process for negotiating the "peace agreement" is based on a fictitious disagreement which is called a "consensus".

How can pandaMa and the KMT not be laughed at all the way back to opposition status?

I know...I's Taiwan. A place where logic is suspended and the blinders are on -- especially during election season.

Anonymous said...

Relationships between countries are like any relationship, you either move forward or you move apart. Nothing stand still. This is also why different agreements and cooperation continually occur between countries.

To say that "Peace = Unification" plus the context expressed in such a narrow view is misleading. The ideals passed down from 孔孟 to the establishment of the Republic of China has always been 世界大同, which means peace on earth. Does this mean world unification? Certainly not the way the WWII was going, let me remind all, and hopefully Joseph Wu, of this.

Now, I am sure that certainly the majority of people want peace, how would people suggest this goal is accomplished? Let us be more educated, creative, active in pursuing this. On the contrary, let us take the US for example, most States of which, and probably all are bound together by treaty. What if one or more state says they want to not be bound by that treaty anymore? What if they suddenly did not want to renew the treaties that are renewed on an annual basis?

This is another example of either how narrow minded and lack of knowledge the general media has, or deliberate intention to create a mess under the name of "freedom of speech".

If you had a choice between Peace and the "opposite" (any ideas what that opposite can be?) What would you choose?

The skill is how create a good balance that is beneficial to the region. For cross straight relations, "peace" means "we decide to cease war", which basically just brings the reality on to an official paper. Basically, even back in the days when there were actual battles, it turned out that both sides agreed to only fire at each other on certain days but not others.

So I say again, the media really needs to do more homework and get more educated. Sure, I know that there are some good ones out there that probably are only 1~2% of the media, show yourselves please.


John S said...

Another example of how convoluted the language becomes in this issue. When every phrase and every bit of terminolgy is intentionally designed to be endlessly malleable and interpreted at will to suit each side and each faction, how can anybody feel confident that anything is improving??

For example, "one china", "1992 consensus" and "harmony" are magical formulae! They mean whatever you want them to mean!

A "peace agreement" sounds great... until someone asks you to explain how it is different from surrendering sovereingty.

Another question that too few are asking is:

What is the real point of a peace agreement or a formal end to civil war... if there is, in reality, only one side that is threatening war, invasion and mass destruction?

Anonymous said...

Even when you are married, you can get divorce. Some time I wonder what the benefit of legally getting married is? At least in Taiwan, certainly there seems not enough tax incentives.

Now let's think about any peace agreement or treaty, whatever you call it.


Danke Schoen said...

Seems like the skeptics might have been right after all. Your Taiwan analysis is top notch. Why spoil it by dabbling into this AGW crap?

D said...

If China voted Palestine into UNESCO, won't they have to vote for Taiwan too? Not that they would, but I wonder if that came up in their internal discussions.

Climate science won't ever be able to "prove" that warming is man-made, not in the same sense that it can proved that temperatures have risen. So don't hold out hope for the hold-outs. Cf the reviews of the new Shakespeare movie, "Anonymous".

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Joseph Wu, and probably other journalists, feel that when Mainland Government expresses a view, Taiwan Government has to address it. Whether in business, politics, or any kind of relationship, this is never the case. You can try to do that for example on a legislator regardless of party, walk up to one and tell them that you can stay in office only if you can do so and so (something that you know they cannot do), how would they respond?

I have received calls from unrecognized numbers with a female on the other end that give small chat, then says "call me" and hangs up. Would you call if you received such a call?

It is amazing what media will do just to get attention. I remember there were a group that were on business trip in the US. Wanting to get a picture of us, they would offer free coffee and donuts on the driveway to get us to roll down the window so that they could get pictures, they would also say that we were there in "unmarked vans". We had a good laugh, what would you expect to be on a rented van?



Michael Turton said...

It seems to me that Joseph Wu, and probably other journalists,

Joseph Wu is a diplomat and analyst, not a journalist.

Anonymous said...

In that case, I question Joseph Wu's true intentions, and or capabilities.


Michael Turton said...

Wu's position is that if we are going to have a peace treaty, we should probably think about the position of the other party, China. What's wrong with that?

Anonymous said...

Well, you can think about the position of the other side, but to say the the "One China Principle" condition had not been addressed seems like of understanding of the ROC constitution and history. Ever since the ROC Government moved to Taiwan, it was always claimed that it is the only elected Government over the territories. Therefore, no further address is really necessary. It would only create regional instability to emphasize it at this point. If Joseph Wu is a diplomat, he should understand this. What would he expect Ma to address at this point? Certainly you cannot ask Ma to personally negotiate any peace agreements as you would not ask Obama to negotiate agreements directly either.


Michael Turton said...

The ROC and China governments can claim what they like; claiming Taiwan is part of China does not make it so.

But the issue Joseph Wu is discussing is that most people in Taiwan don't want to be part of China. They won't support a "peace accord" that makes them part of China. So to such individuals, the "peace accord" looks like a unification agreement.


D said...

@"They won't support a "peace accord" that makes them part of China."

So one concludes either a) the KMT will force something through that most people in Taiwan can't accept, or b) China will accept an accord that does not explicitly say Taiwan is a part of China. B) may seem unlikely, but it's not impossible to envision a document that just says "both sides recognize that there is one China" and leaves it at that, and as for A), is the KMT really that iniquitous?

I mean that the PRC may come to realize that a durable detente could be based on their not pursuing a claim on Taiwan and Taiwan's not pursuing a claim on independence. Ie, continuing the status quo.

Michael Turton said...

D, that's a distinct possibility with the "one China" language you indicate. It would be an outcome I'd support. But we're not going to get that, because Beijing doesn't show that kind of flexibility.

Can you offer some examples of PRC flexibility in similar matters?


Michael Turton said...

I also should ask, D, how such a treaty would have a meaningful effect on the military threat.


D said...

@"Can you offer some examples of PRC flexibility in similar matters?"

Nope, and that's exactly why it's worth pushing for. Did you see the WSJ editorial a few weeks back, about how "international" the early ROC was? The way to deal with China is to push it to become a cooperative member of world nations. There are people there that advocate that, and a "peace agreement" would give them something to latch on to.

@"how such a treaty would have a meaningful effect on the military threat."

Of course a piece of paper won't mean much. Nor would removal of the missiles, as you've noted, since they can always put them back. What you're looking for is a long term shift from the authoritarian system they've had for 50 years into something that can recognize differences of opinion. This is a transition that hasn't even begun to begin there, and it will be a long one.

Like Arthur Waldron said, time is on Taiwan's side. If a peace agreement can kick the can down the road a few decades and provide a bone for both good and dark sides of the CCP to chew on, all the better. And Ma's "this is 10 years down the road" schtick just adds time to the status quo.

Michael Turton said...


a peace treaty might also increase the chance of international intervention, as the PRC would be breaking a treaty if it intervened.

Anonymous said...

Actually, KMT is in a better position to maintain a good relationship with the PRC simply because both recognize similar regions belonging to China as a whole. While DPP ignores the past claims and Constitution, and how ROC was established. Throughout the years, change in ROC government followed procedures very carefully to as to maintain the it valid legal status according to the constitution. Now DPP will not be able to do much negotiations if they do not give up insistence for what they call independence.

KMT has the advantage to negotiating terms that do not effect the current sovereignty. One example I have originally mentioned before: "Joint efforts in maintaining stability and peace in the southeastern region." Of course there will be a sensitive issue where in the even Taiwan needs support, will the US provide it or will PRC provide it? This is where the detail wording in the agreement will be critical. However, it is doable, it will show that both side made a step forward giving credit to the negotiators on both sides, and also maintaining the status quo.

Then the issue will be what will the US think if this happens? Since the US had always been the dominant power in the world, how would they respond to such a growing power with increasing influence in politically, economically, and military? Surely the US and the world have lots of concern. Rather have such concern, I think better understanding of how the educational system in China is changing will reveal where China is headed. If they start bringing the traditional Chinese values back into the system, then you can be sure that things will get better.


John S said...

"..a peace treaty might also increase the chance of international intervention, as the PRC would be breaking a treaty if it intervened..."

Doubtful.. because the PRC is not going to agree to any wording that will restrict their ability to re-interpret key phrases if necessary at a later date. So, the PRC can try to justify an invasion if the ROC fails to comply with the steps of the treaty, as interpreted by the current PRC leadership.

George, re. the difference in the negotiating positions and abilities of the KMT and the DPP—

The biggest difference I see is in the fact that the KMT agrees with the CCP—that the fate of all Taiwanese (along with all of China) is quite simply a function of the "5000 years of history" of Yellow-ish emporers/ Han Chinese, with the legitimacy having been handed down as a heavenly mandate in a neat and unbroken chain from dynasty to dynasty, from the ROC directly to the PRC. Modern notions like democracy do not enter into this mythology in any way, because all little yellow han people love their nation and their emporer (or party chairman).

The difference in the DPP's basis for negotiation lies in the fact that they have an infinitely greater degree of legitimacy to negotiate, because they are representing a DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY.

They are not representing citizens because they are Yellow, Han, Mongol, etc., or because of where their ancestors are from, because of some over-simplified notions of language or culture, or because ownership of the people was passed down from this or that feudal dynasty to the next.

This is also why the PRC has such difficulty dealing with the DPP—because they refuse to deal with people who don't drink the (yellow) kool-aid.

Anonymous said...

John S,

I think you forget that the revolution 100 years ago made a significant change. Perhaps you are not experienced in handling transitions like that on a large scale, but certainly the changes made through these 100 years are considered quite well done even though there and continue to have flaws and room for improvement. You'd have to have studied all that 5000 years plus some foreign history to be able to appreciate and learn from it. This is where Taiwan Education probably differs most significantly from most western education which pretty much ignore history of other regions.

The way PRC act it not unusual, very much like when the western civilization came east with those raving cannons etc. We see this because most of China had not been educated with the Chinese traditions, and are now trying to gradually fill that gap. Only when we can fill that gap with culture can the situation be improved. So it is more likely that it will be probably at least a decade or two till we arrive at that point. To impose pressure in the US style with attempts to speed things up really does not help.

DPP has some ideas, but their thoughts are not as well as when Dr. Sun had documented during his preparation for the revolution. Because DPP does not have this plan, they are really a step backward. I think if you study Dr. Sun's work you will appreciate that he spent much more effort and self education than what DPP is doing. In reality, PRC has implemented many of the plans laid out by Dr. Sun in order for them to advance to this stage. The future depends on whether both sides can work together in a mature manner.

Bare in mind why this economy situation occurred and what kind of culture had most influence in causing this. Because of this, PRC government has more power in their hands. Can't blame them, but just have to create a more influential relationship.