Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ma claims US supports 1992 consensus, saying:

The president also reaffirmed that the “1992 consensus” is the foundation for progress made in cross-strait relations since he took office in May 2008.

“Three out of the four sides involved in cross-strait relations, the ROC, mainland China and the U.S., have acknowledged this consensus, Ma said. “It plays an important role in maintaining the right direction.”

“But if the fourth side, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, does not accept the consensus, uncertainty may arise,” he said. “Without the consensus, peaceful development across the strait could be called into question.”

Ma's stance is interesting. (1) the US has made no public acknowledgment of the 1992 Consensus. All it has done is made happy noises about the CCP-KMT talks. (2) China has never accepted the 1992 Consensus either (not that it matters to China, so long as the KMT serves its interests). Did I forget to mention that the 1992 Consensus doesn't exist (so why should the DPP accept it)? This is just the President's way of dressing up party-to-party negotiations in a little diplomatic dignity.

More interesting is that even as the President acknowledges the presence and necessity of the DPP, he is attempting to marginalize it by painting it as the one out of step with history (note also the subtle appeal to "inevitability"). This is a common strategy opponents of the DPP use. One wonders how Ma sees the DPP here -- as representing the Taiwanese? Because it is obvious that he is including it out of the ROC in this very revealing remark, while making the KMT and the ROC mean essentially the same thing. Party-state ideology of the kind that gave us five decades of martial law apparently still colors Ma's view of things.

As a piece in the Taipei Times noted today:
Another thing worthy of note is that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) made was less critical of cross-strait affairs during the recent special municipality election campaigns than it has been in the past, and once they were over the DPP announced its intention to establish a think tank aimed at initiating exchanges with China. This implies an acceptance that regardless of which party holds power, cross-strait exchange is now an unstoppable trend.
The exchanges will go on no matter who is in power. The article also noted another point about the non-governmental exchanges between retired military officers:
Both the retired Chinese and Taiwanese officers had things that they insisted on, but the Taiwanese side rejected the currently optimistic Chinese view, stressing Taiwanese democracy and identity.
The reason that the 1992 Consensus isn't "accepted" by the DPP is that it is not rooted in this vision of Taiwan as a democratic and independent state with its own identity, but rather, in the KMT's Return to Zion theology of One China in which Taiwan is annexed to Beijing. The 1992 Consensus is a rejection of Taiwan's separate and independent identity. Nor does the "1992 Consensus" have any democratic legitimacy -- it was negotiated by a government that got to power by silencing its opposition.
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Marc said...

Michael, doesn't the KMT theology see TAIWAN annexing Beijing? (and Tibet, Xianjiang and the rest of China?). I think you've got it backward.

Michael Turton said...

No, the ROC is China, so Taiwan can't annex anything it being a mere province.

Okami said...

I'm actually surprised Wapo published a piece slandering the logistic and manufacturing capability of the PLA. I wonder what they will do when they try to run their first aircraft carrier.

I don't actually believe they will ever run an aircraft carrier.

Dixteel said...

Marc is not the first one that is still confused on what KMT theology is. I have met some others that have the same confusion. Michael clarifies it really nicely.

Marc said...

That's what I mean. I refer to Taipei/Taiwan as the metonym for the KMT/ROC. I

Roy Berman said...

In a fantasy ROC restoration scenario, would the capital remain in Beijing, or would they go back to Nanjing and make Beijing Beiping again? (As I half-jokingly suggested in another comment.)

I think if Taiwan were a province of China, the central government would laugh at the scale of the Taiwanese "Special Municipalities." Maybe a merged Taipei/Xinbei could get away with it, but the rest of them would probably have to go back to being mere municipalities under Taiwan Province...