l'll talk to this Humungus! He's a reasonable man, open to negotiation.
Well, it's all over but the commentary. Lots of good stuff all over, but I'd like to highlight this piece from Gwenyth Wang at Ketagalan Media:
As the world watches today’s “Ma-Xi Meeting,” I expect to see the results reinforce the significance of the 1992 Consensus. However, by holding such an unprecedented meeting under the international spotlight, Ma has opened up a Pandora’s Box, and unleashed Taiwan’s dynamic and strong civil society, which has taken root in a democratic soil. They will demand democratic scrutiny of the meeting and will not tolerate any unilateral decision to define the “status quo.” Welcome to democracy, Xi Dada.A lot of people were wrong about the 1992 Consensus, thinking it would be front and center. This was a case of media stupidity -- there is no other word -- because most of the major media and internet outlets incorrectly asserted that the 1992 Consensus is an agreement between Taiwan and China. Wrong! China has never accepted it, and that was never made clearer than at "LegacyWhore in Singapore 2015", when Ma repeatedly raised the 1992C, and was repeatedly ignored by Xi Dada. Naturally all that was deleted from the official transcript. Naturally you won't see any corrections in the Establishment media, either.
Chieh-ting Yeh rammed this point home:
Right now, the attention is on the fact that Ma’s opening statement neglected to mention the second part of the 1992 Consensus that Taiwan had insisted on—that Taiwan can interpret “China” to mean the government in Taiwan. For Taiwan, that is the only part of the 1992 Consensus that keeps it palatable, that the government in Taiwan still has any leverage to claim its existence. Since the Chinese side made no comment on this line whatsoever, in effect China had just denied Taiwan’s political existence to Taiwan’s face.I think Yeh underestimates the plodding insistence of the KMT, which will simply ignore the fact that China was silent, and continue to insist the 1992C governs relations.
As a tool of diplomatic ambiguity, the 1992 Consensus is now dead to the Taiwanese people. There is nothing ambiguous about it anymore. We have officially ended the era of the 1992 Consensus, and entered a new era—where China thinks there is no more room left for Taiwan.
Wang put her sharp, elegant finger on the most important point, the ghost in the machination: Taiwan's democracy. Even as the 馬習團 was launching from the MaXipad at the Shangri-La in Singapore, Taiwan's democracy was already clutching Ma in its eagle-clawed grip: he couldn't do anything because his party has to get elected, and Taiwan's civil society won't stand for his Big Man style of rule and secrecy. Lots of people didn't have faith in Taiwan's democracy, while I was wishing Ma and Xi could meet every day. In the end it was the party not present, our robust democracy, that won that meeting. Hands down. UPDATE: Don't miss Sullivan's remarks.
As DPP Presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen observed....
"A president should represent and execute the will of the people. However, President Ma’s handling of yesterday’s Ma-Xi meeting left many disappointed, if not furious. In the eyes of the Taiwanese people, the only “historic record” set on the international arena by the Ma-Xi meeting was President Ma’s giddy handshake. Left out of the entire process were Taiwan’s democracy and any sign of the Republic of China’s existence.Frozen Garlic tried to be positive for Ma:
I think Ma will probably experience a small bump in his popularity, but any positive effects in the legislative races will be offset by the negative effects of nationalizing the race. Ma and the KMT are still overwhelmingly unpopular, and the election has now been reframed in terms of high politics. Given that the KMT’s best chance of surviving January is the local popularity (based on things like intensive constituency service) of their 40 incumbents, forcing voters to think about national issues (ie: vote for the party, not the individual) is perhaps not the wisest strategy. In the presidential polls, Tsai is so far ahead that there is almost no chance that the Ma-Xi meeting will affect the outcome. (Before this all broke, most polls had her ahead by around 20%, and the gap was widening. Historically, a 20% gap in polls has usually meant something around a 20% margin in the final vote. So I wouldn’t be shocked if the roughly 45-23% gap ends up as a 58-36% victory.) Ma has tried to argue to voters that Tsai can’t conduct relations with China since she won’t accept the 92 Consensus. According to hundreds of polls, the voters haven’t bought that message so far. I didn’t see anything this weekend that would make them change their minds en masse.Many of us observed that Ma's 1992 Consensus statements lacked the "two interpretations" part that KMT True Believers have always insisted on, which made them more or less equal to Hung's "One China, One interpretation" craziness. Hung herself treated the meeting as a vindication of her ideas.
There's really not much more to say. Ma said that Xi said the hundreds of missiles facing us aren't targeted at Taiwan. Of course that is absurd, and everyone will laugh. Everyone knows that Ma did this only for himself and for his personal legacy in history. The meeting was completely vapid, as I expected, and nothing concrete came out of it. If this does not hurt Ma and the KMT, it is only because their standing can't sink any lower.
There's lots of commentary out there... good luck hunting it down. This event will quickly pass into history, with KMT candidate Eric Chu off to the US to assure the US that the KMT isn't actually a party in rapid decline, and the election should move back to front and center here.
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