Thursday, August 25, 2016

United Front and Self-Incarceration: Taiwan's Web of Confusion

United Front and Self-Incarceration: Taiwan's Web of Confusion
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
August 26, 2016

Executive Summary: Leaders on Taiwan must understand the global situation. If they frighten themselves to death with "united front" boogeymen, they are merely incarcerating themselves. Sha Hailin cannot form a united front against anyone. But if leaders on Taiwan continue making hairpin turns, they will make prisoners of us all.

Full Text Below:

Sha Hailin, Minister of the Shanghai City United Front, arrived in Taipei to participate in the Twin Cities Forum. The term "united front" is being blown up beyond all proportion. Sha Hailin's arrival on Taiwan is being spun as a conspiracy with Ko Wen-je against their common enemy Tsai Ing-wen. But this reads far too much into it. Viewing the cross-Strait situation in isolation from world events inevitably leads to misinterpretations.

The rise of Mainland China in the 21st century is irreversible. The 2001 collision between Mainland Chinese and US warplanes constituted a microcosmic version of the new global power struggle. To avoid triggering global concern over the coming years,  Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Jintao advanced his "peaceful rise" theory as a theoretical framework for the world's future power structure.

The term "peaceful rise" was later changed to "peaceful development" to underscore the Mainland's lack of hegemonic ambitions. This strategic label was later applied to cross-Strait relations, to highlight the unique history of cross-Strait relations over the past half-century. Divided rule and historic grievances were put into a larger strategic framework. They became local matters not fondly remembered by Zhongnanhai.

Just before Tsai Ing-wen was elected, Xi Jinping reaffirmed the 1992 Consensus. This was why. During last year's Ma Xi summit, Xi Jinping laid out the rules of the game. During Tsai Ing-wen's inauguration, she trotted out the ROC Constitution, and the Regulations Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the People of the Mainland China Area. But Beijing's rules of the game remained exactly the same. Beijing repeatedly demanded that she respond more fully. One reason for this, was fundamental changes in the global strategic picture.

Xi Jinping's opponent is not Tsai Ing-wen, but strategic opponent Barack Obama, or next year's Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Shinzo Abe. The CCP has no need to win over Ko Wen-je. It does not need Ko as leverage over Tsai Ing-wen. The US and Japan are hardly the only ones who can make Tsai Ing-wen flip.


Tsai Ing-wen was Lee Teng-hui's ghost writer. She was the actual author of the previous century's "two states theory”. Seventeen years later, she has become president. During her inauguration she pledged to conduct cross-Strait relations in accordance with the "one China" oriented ROC Constitution. Leave aside the fact that many of her supporters are members of the anti-Mainland, “natural Taiwan independence” oriented Sunflower Student Movement from two years ago. The fact is the Tsai government has been boxed in by the rise of Mainland China.

This is Tsai Ing-wen's dilemma. Changes in the global political and economic order have pushed Taiwan to margins. That was why Tsai confidant James Huang characterized Taiwan as an "ant". Tsai Ing-wen is attempting to cast herself as an anti-China [sic], pro-American, pro-Japan fellow traveler. She is hoping to blaze a new trail. But having been in power 100 days, Tsai Ing-wen and her administration remain trapped on a perilous beachhead, crying out in agony.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Tsai Ing-wen llongs for may be stillborn. Even many in the US oppose it. The New Southern Strategy is a castle in the air. As a result, the government has been forced to extend an olive branch to Beijing, in a gesture of goodwill. All roads to the outside have been blocked or severed. Export figures are not expected to improve. The economy is in a downward spiral. On top of which, Tsai remains a hostage of Taiwan independence forces. She flagrantly rejects the 1992 Consensus, the key to cross-Strait political consensus. Cause and effect are abundantly clear.

Sha Hailin is merely a member of the Shanghai City United Front. When Ma Ying-jeou was in power, such exchanges drew little attention. But Tsai Ing-wen has been in office 100 days. Sha has become the focus of DPP heavyweights. Is this not ironic? The spectre of a "united front" still haunts them. Is this not laughable? It is as if the Berlin Wall has yet to fall, and the Iron Curtain still stands. Taiwan remains trapped in a time warp, and refuses to move forward. Is this not pitiful?

The term "united front" is a term from the previous century. So too is the term "Taiwan independence". The DPP has never leveled with the people. It has never told them that "Taiwan independence" is an outmoded concept, a Cold War era view of the world. Why else would Tsai Ing-wen embrace overlapping sovereignty over the South China Sea and Chinese owned islands?

Leaders on Taiwan must understand the global situation. If they frighten themselves to death with "united front" boogeymen, they are merely incarcerating themselves. Sha Hailin cannot form a united front against anyone. But if leaders on Taiwan continue making hairpin turns, they will make prisoners of us all.

聯合/「統戰」或「自囚」:台灣的政治迷惘
2016-08-26 01:15 聯合報 聯合報社論

上海市委統戰部長沙海林到台北出席「雙城論壇」,「統戰」的頭銜成了巧妙的借喻,恍似沙海林特地來台出席「雙城論壇」,就是為與柯文哲形成所謂「統一戰線」,以對抗共同的敵人蔡英文。但這文章未免作得太大、太遠,彷彿兩岸形勢可以孤空地自世局剝離,當然會失去真貌。

中國崛起自廿一世紀即成為無法逆阻的趨勢,二○○一年的中美撞機事件,即是新世紀全球權力新圖像的一個縮影。為避免引發全球的過度疑慮,隔年接下中共領導班子的胡錦濤提出了「和平崛起」論,為未來的世界權力結構,預為理論部署。

「和平崛起」其後被刻意潤飾成「和平發展」,強調中國並不追求霸權;而這塊全球戰略標籤更進一步被用於兩岸關係上,從而凸顯兩岸關係已從過去半世紀分裂的獨特歷史情仇,被放進全球戰略脈絡之下,成為一個中南海並不十分眷念的局部事務。

這個背景,正是習近平在蔡英文當選以前迄今,不曾從「九二共識」這個前提上退守的底氣所在。他在去年「馬習會」就定下這根「定海神針」,直至蔡英文就職演說搬出中華民國憲法與兩岸人民關係條例,北京的指標尺度依然寸步不移,一再要求蔡英文完成未完成的答卷。其中原因,正是因為全球戰略格局已經產生根本性的改變所致。

亦即,習近平的對弈者,並不是蔡英文,而是歐巴馬、或是明年的川普、希拉蕊,以及安倍等的全球戰略對手。中共其實並不需要刻意籠絡柯文哲,不需要以柯作為槓桿,以求扳動蔡英文。能扳動蔡英文者,豈非只有美、日?

蔡英文作為上世紀末的李登輝「兩國論」幕後的原創者,卻在十七年後自己當上了總統,就職時宣示她將依循其內涵與本質皆為「一個中國」的中華民國憲法處理兩岸關係。且不論她的支持者中,或有相當比例是兩年前太陽花運動中的反中天然獨世代,但就大局而言,蔡政府畢竟受到這一「中國崛起」的現實潮流所框定與制約。

然而,這也正是蔡英文的困境。在全球不斷變動中的政經秩序下,台灣儼然已被世界擠至邊陲,她的親信黃志芳才會把台灣自比為「螞蟻」。蔡英文試圖以她自己編製的遠中、親美、附日的權力路線另闢蹊徑,探索出一片新的海洋,但執政百日將屆,蔡英文團隊卻猶仍深陷惶恐灘頭,大嘆零丁。

如今蔡英文的處境是:她所寄望的跨太平洋夥伴協定(TPP)已有胎死腹中之虞,連美國自己內部都群聲反對;新南向政策亦不過是海市蜃樓,於是被迫要向北京遞出橄欖枝,冀圖對岸的善意。而當外圍的通路與連結都在逐次失效與斷絕的情境之下,出口數字更看不到翻紅的契機,整個經濟已然緩緩陷入緊縮的循環。這些,皆與她受到獨派牽制,悍然推拒兩岸政治最重要支撐即「九二共識」,所造成的後果與效應。

沙海林只是上海市委的一位常委,在馬英九主政時期若來交流可能不會引起太多注意,但在蔡英文主政未及百日的此際,卻成為全台聚焦的一位重量級官員,豈不令人深感反諷?而所謂「統戰」幽靈在台飄盪的指控,又怎不讓人啞然失笑?這樣的視角,彷彿處在柏林圍牆猶未倒塌、冷戰鐵幕依然矗立的時空,那種台灣猶留在歷史隧道裡遲遲不願昂藏前行的畏縮,令人感到深沉的悲哀。

「統戰」已是舊世紀的名詞,「台獨」亦然。民進黨未曾告訴人民的是,「台獨」是以冷戰的舊思維與框架去看待世界,所炮製出來的過時主張;否則,蔡英文面對南海仲裁結果,何必依然擁抱與中國主權重疊的南海諸島?

台灣若不能看穿全球現勢,卻用「統戰」自我恫嚇,其實只是在進行「自囚」。沙海林統戰不了誰,但台灣若只在髮夾彎裡打轉,卻可以把自己活活困死。

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

James Huang's Talk of “Ants" Demeans Taiwan

James Huang's Talk of “Ants" Demeans Taiwan
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
August 24, 2016

Executive Summary: The New Southern Strategy is a new frontier for foreign investment, not a panacea for the phenomenon of businesses “Going West”. It is an opportunity for industrial restructuring, not a weapon to use against the Mainland. James Huang's talk of “ants” misjudges reality and demeans Taiwan.

Full Text Below:

James Huang is the Director of President Tsai's "Office for New Southern Strategy". Recently, during a discussino of external economic strategy, Huang said "The Mainland China market is full of elephants. If an ant enters, what can he possibly get out of it?" His remark was wrong on two counts. First, it was self-demeaning. It reduced Taiwan businessmen to the status of ants. Second, it was an admission of strategic confusion. Expanding southward is about diversification. It is not an either/or proposition. Expanding southward and remaining part of the Mainland market are not mutually exclusive.

As the head of the Office for New Southern Strategy, James Huang's talk of ants was a serious faux pas. It reflected the government's lack of vision, and lack of concrete plans for implementation. Taiwan businessmen have been operating on the Mainland for over 20 years. The Hon Hai Group alone employs nearly one million people. How can James Huang use the term "ants" to describe Taiwan businessmen? One reason of course, is the DPP's hatred and ignorance of “China”, i.e., the Mainland Area. But when push comes to shove, they suddenly become so humble. Besides, if they truly see themselves as mere "ants", how can they possibly muster up the courage to “Go south”?

The New Southern Strategy substitutes wishful thinking for hard reality. This is its a blind spot. The new government is blind to its own self-demeaning assumptions. It cannot define a clear goal. It cannot map out a clear path. Yet is demands that everyone “Go south!” In fact, this very dangerous. One example is enough to make everything clear.

President Tsai has proposed a New Southern Strategy, including 10 Guidelines for Action. Meanwhile, Tamkang University's Southeast Asian Studies Research Institute, which has been around for 20 years, was closed down in August for lack of student interest. Currently only Jinan University still has a Southeast Asian Studies Institute. Lee Teng-hui began urging people to “Go south!” when he was president. But the research institutes established in conjunction with the policy still cannot attract any interest. As we can see, the government has yet to get past mere sloganeering. It cannot induce students to conduct research. Even more ironically, the Tsai government recently sounded a clarion call for its New Southern Strategy. National Chengchi University, the Taipei University of Education, and other schools applied to establish Southeast Asian Studies Institutes. Will they become the academic counterparts of the “egg tart fad”? That is deeply worrying.

Will this external policy succeed? That depends on whether it involves bilateral mutual benefits, or merely unilateral wishful thinking. The DPP has upgraded the status of the New Southern Strategy to "the nation's overall foreign trade strategy". It ignores the close political and economic relations the nations of Southeast Asia have with the Mainland. The government is shrilly egging people on. But all anyone sees is abstract goals with no concrete path. When entrepreneur Dai Sheng-tong “followed in the government's footsteps" and invested in Haiti, he lost his shirt and was eventually forced to close up shop. Does the government intend to bear responsibility for any future losses?

Ten nations in Southeast Asia have 650 million people. They are the world's youngest market. Naturally they have their place. But government policy must be more economics and less politics. Only then will it be consistent with the needs of the domestic economy, domestic employment, and the limitations imposed by international political realities. Japan's Southern Strategy has been the most successful one of its kind. We may be able to learn from their experience.

Japan began promoting its Southern Strategy during the 70s. The strategy was developed by the government's  External Trade Organization and the Asian Institute of Economic Research. Together they established the official "trinity" for economic strategy. First, in the name of economic aid, they helped local businesses enter the domestic market. The Japanese government loaned yen and provided infrastructure, enabling Japanese companies to assist Southeast Asian countries in highway and airport construction. This enabled them to enter the Southeast Asian market. By contrast, Taiwan businesses are merely investors in Southeast Asia. They merely take advantage of cheap labor. They do not find their way into the local domestic market.

Secondly, Japan understood the importance of cultivating talent in Southeast Asia. Japan's External Trade Organization helped businesses cultivate talent within Southeast Asia. It set up Southeast Asian language classes and economic and cultural classes. It provided professional advice for businesses entering the Southeast Asian market. This advice was specifically tailored to the industry's market strategy. By contrast, the government on Taiwan assumes that merely knowing English enables one to communicate with anyone in the world. University students have little interest in Southeast Asian languages. Companies are unable to recruit anyone with Southeast Asian language proficiency. This makes it difficult to lay down local roots.

Finally, Japan conducted in depth research on Southeast Asia. To promote its Southern Strategy, the Japanese government established an "Asian Economic Research Institute" to conduct long term analysis of the 10 nations of Southeast Asia. Each year, it publishes a political and economic white paper on Southeast Asia. By contrast, Taiwan's Southeast Asian Studies are scattered among various universities and research institutions. The lack of integration weakens our studies on Southeast Asia.

The New Southern Strategy is a new frontier for foreign investment, not a panacea for the phenomenon of businesses “Going West”. It is an opportunity for industrial restructuring, not a weapon to use against the Mainland. James Huang's talk of “ants” misjudges reality and demeans Taiwan.

聯合/黃志芳的「螞蟻說」是自我矮化
2016-08-25 03:38 聯合報 聯合報社論

總統府「新南向辦公室」主任黃志芳談到台灣對外經濟戰略說,「中國大陸市場已經站滿了大象,螞蟻進去能爭什麼。」他的說法犯了兩大錯誤:一是自我矮化,把台商小看成「螞蟻」;二是戰略思維錯亂,南向拓展是基於多元、分散之需,而不是和大陸市場互斥。

身為新南向辦公室負責人,黃志芳提出失當的「螞蟻說」,反映這個專案缺乏視野與具體可行的執行計畫。試想,台商在對岸廿多年深耕,僅鴻海集團僱用的人數就將近百萬人,黃志芳怎麼會用「螞蟻」來貶抑台商?其中原因,主要是民進黨因長年反中而昧於事實,到了漸要見真章的時候,卻突然變得如此卑微。更糟的是,若是自視為「螞蟻」,又要拿什麼膽識南進?

以想像混淆事實,正是新南向政策的盲點所在。新政府若自我認知矮化,連目標都說不清楚,又畫不出明確路徑,卻呼喚全民南進,其實是很危險的事。我們試舉一例,即一目了然。

就在蔡總統提出新南向十大行動準則之際,有廿多年歷史的淡江大學「東南亞研究所」卻因長期招生不足,在八月一日吹了熄燈號。至此,全台大學的東南亞研究,僅剩暨南大學獨撐。試想,從李登輝時代台灣就不斷鼓吹南向,但伴隨政策而生的系所,多年來竟仍招生不足,可見政府始終未脫虛浮的口號,根本無法誘發學生起而研究、學習動機。更弔詭的是,蔡政府的新南向號角一響,最近馬上又有政大和台北教育大學等校申請成立東南亞學系;這會不會演成學術市場的「蛋塔現象」,則令人擔憂。

對外政策能否成功,理當構築在雙向互惠的基礎上,而非片面的一廂情願。民進黨把新南向政策提升為「國家總體對外經貿戰略」,卻忽略了東南亞各國與大陸的綿密政經關係;政府大聲呼喚人民前進,卻只見抽象的目標,而不見具體的路徑。當年企業家戴勝通「跟著政府腳步」去海地投資,結果慘賠而歸,終告倒閉,政府又負了什麼責任?

東南亞十國擁有六點五億的人口,且是全球最年輕的市場,當然有其重要性。關鍵在,政府在政策操作上,必須要多一點經濟、少一點政治,以符合國內經濟、就業的需求與國際政治的現實。觀察推動南向政策最成功的日本,其經驗或可供我借鏡。

日本從一九七○年代開始推動南向政策,它是由政府開發援助、貿易振興會、亞細亞經濟研究所協力構築的產官學「三位一體」的經濟大戰略。首先,是透過國家的經濟援助為名,協助企業進入當地內需市場。日本政府以日圓貸款、基礎建設等方式提供經援,讓日本企業協助東南亞國家進行交通及機場建設,並藉此打進東南亞市場。反觀台灣企業,目前在東南亞僅扮演單純的投資者角色,無非利用當地的廉價勞工,並無打進當地內需市場的著眼。

其次,是重視東南亞人才的培育。日本「貿易振興會」協助企業培育東南亞人才,它不但開設東南亞語言、經貿及文化等各類課程,也為企業進入東南亞市場提供專業諮詢,針對企業的產業特性量身定做市場策略。反觀台灣,一直以為只用英語即可行遍天下,東南亞語在大學乏人問津,企業也找不到東南亞語言人才,不利於在當地生根。

最後,是深化對東南亞的研究。為推動南向政策,日本政府成立「亞細亞經濟研究」,對東南亞十國進行長期性的系統分析,每年出版東南亞政經白皮書。而台灣目前的東南亞研究則散落大學和研究機構,欠缺統合主導的機構,也因此削弱我對東南亞的研究動能。

新南向是台灣對外投資的新天地,而不是阻擋企業西進的特效藥;是產業轉型的契機,而不是抗衡中國的武器。就這點看,黃志芳的「螞蟻說」,完全是錯估現實的矮化論。

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

President Tsai: Learn from Ko Wen-je's Firmness and Flexibility

President Tsai: Learn from Ko Wen-je's Firmness and Flexibility 
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
August 24, 2016

Executive Summary: Ko's actions provoked  green camp accusations of "selling out", of "spinelessness", of "pandering to China [sic] and cozying up to Communists”. But ignore such emotional outbursts. Scrutinize Ko Wen-je's words. Not one of them was unreasonable. The key question is whether Tsai Ing-wen has the courage to defy green camp sentiment, speak from the heart, reason from the head, restore cross-Strait relations, and break the impass. Ko Wen-je is both firm and flexible. Tsai Ing-wen would do well to learn from his example.

Full Text Below:

Ko Wen-je is a self-proclaimed "deep green". Yet the green camp has accused him of being a "modern day Shi Lang" who aspires to be "Beijing's Governor General for Taiwan”. Taiwan independence groups heckle him wherever he goes. The green media mocks him as "a mere local official with embarrassingly low approval ratings”. Nevertheless Ko Wen-je has successfully renewed the Taipei Shanghai Twin Cities Forum.

Through her spokesman, Tsai Ing-wen wished Ko Wen-je well. The presidential spokesman said that exchanges between the two sides should increase. As long as exchanges increase mutual understanding, then exchanges, including city to city exchanges, are a good thing.

Some green camp people habitually denounce the Twin Cities Forum as “Communist”. Tsai Ing-wen, on the other hand, has expressed approval of the Twin Cities Forum. This highlights the difficulty Tsai Ing-wen faces when promoting cross-Strait relations. Resolving this difficulty is a test of Tsai Ing-wen's wisdom. Ko Wen-je's firmness and flexibility regarding the Twin Cities Forum shows that Tsai Ing-wen can learn from his example.

Green Camp condemnation is a problem not just for Tsai Ing-wen, but even for "deep green" Ko Wen-je. The ideological burden he must bear, is no less than that borne by Tsai Ing-wen. Ko Wen-je recently issued a series of cross-Strait policy statements. He made subtle revisions to the Twin Cities Forum. This invited another round of allegations that he was “soft on Communism”. Ko Wen-je now stands at a political crossroads. Which way will he go?

The Taipei Municipal Government has suffered a major setback. Ko Wen-je's governing ability is being questioned. He clearly realizes that cross-Strait relations offers him an opportunity to reverse his political fortunes. He wants the success of the Twins Cities Forum to show that some people in the green camp are able to deal with cross-Strait affairs. He wants to show that regular exchanges between Taipei and Shanghai need not be interrupted, merely because a new government has come to power.

What holds true for a city mayor, holds true for a national president. The Mayor of Taipei has a clear understanding of the importance of cross-Strait relations. Tsai Ing-wen should have an even clearer understanding. She should realize that the biggest obstacle she faces, and the chief reason her approval ratings are down, is cross-Strait policy. Unless cross-Strait relations are straightened out, Taiwan's economy will not improve. The economy is the first to feel the impact. The economy is the basis of public satisfaction. It is the fountainhead of the ruling regime's prestige.

The truth is simple. Taiwan has a trade-based economy. The more it merges with the world outside, the more vitality it acquires. The Mainland is one of the world's largest economic blocs. Can Taiwan's economy survive if this bloc is eliminated? Can internal order survive if Taiwan's economy collapses? Can Tsai Ing-wen survive politically if both the economy and internal order collapse?

Tsai Ing-wen's swift response to the China Airlines strike and the National Highway toll collectors strike shows how desperate she is to salvage her approval ratings. Leave aside for the moment the price she may pay in the long run. From a larger perspective, she is like a fly without a head, sacrificing long term interests to short term expediency. She is missing the forest for the trees. Former US President Bill Clinton summed up the fundamental principle of national governance in his campaign slogan: "It's the economy, stupid!"

For Taiwan, the two sides of the Strait are the cornerstone of the economy. Apply Clinton's campaign slogan to Taiwan, and it becomes, "It's cross-Strait relations, stupid!"

Cooperation with the Mainland is essential to Taiwan's survival and growth. It affects the complex East Asian strategic picture, and the ROC's diplomatic space. Many non-economic issues stand in the way of cross-Strait relations. Tsai Ing-wen has created an impasse in cross-Strait relations by refusing to recognize the 1992 Consensus. She stubbornly insists that her "inaugural address has already demonstrated the utmost in goodwill toward Beijing". She has throws her hands up in feigned indignation. Her passive aggressive approach will kill cross-Strait exchanges. It will lead Taiwan down a blind alley, and can only be characterized as irresponsible. Ko Wen-je realizes the importance of cross-Strait relations for his political ambitions. But he has also done his homework. He expended the necessary effort, and assumed the necessary humility.

The Mainland was initially no less skeptical of the "deep green” Ko Wen-je than it was of Tsai Ing-wen. But Ko Wen-je's continued efforts on behalf of the Twin Cities Forum prevented the interruption of official exchanges. A series of statements sympathetic to Mainland compatriots, along with changes in his attitude made a dramatic difference. Ko Wen-je did not hesitate to proclaim himself "Chinese".  He boldly echoed Xi Jinping's declaration that "Both sides of the Strait belong to one family". He publicly affirmed the Mainland for ensuring that everyone had enough to eat, a rare feat in China' history. also spoke of "four mutuals" and a "2015 New Perspective". His pronouncements were constructive and low keyed. He succeeded in maintaining uninterrupted communication between the Twin Cities. The Shanghai representative refrained from embarrassing Ko Wen-je over the 1992 Consensus at the Shanghai Twin Cities Forum. This too was a gesture of good faith.

Ko's actions provoked  green camp accusations of "selling out", of "spinelessness", of "pandering to China [sic] and cozying up to Communists”. But ignore such emotional outbursts. Scrutinize Ko Wen-je's words. Not one of them was unreasonable. The key question is whether Tsai Ing-wen has the courage to defy green camp sentiment, speak from the heart, reason from the head, restore cross-Strait relations, and break the impass.

Ko Wen-je is both firm and flexible. Tsai Ing-wen would do well to learn from his example.

柯文哲的堅定與彈性 蔡總統學學
2016/8/24 中國時報

自稱「墨綠」的柯文哲,頂著綠營人士扣上的「現代施琅」、「搶當台灣特首」紅帽子,不在乎獨派團體「如影隨形抗議」的威脅,及親綠媒體「區區一個地方官、民調數字又難看」的嘲弄,柯文哲還是成功地續辦了台北、上海雙城論壇。

倒是蔡英文透過發言人表達了祝福,總統府發言人表示,兩岸之間應該多交流,只要有助增進雙方互相了解,包括城市交流在內,都是好事。

一些綠營人士習慣性對雙城論壇扣紅帽,和蔡英文對雙城論壇釋出的柔軟善意,兩者間的矛盾正凸顯蔡英文推動兩岸事務的難處。這「難處」要如何化解,也正考驗蔡英文智慧,而柯文哲推動雙城論壇所展現的堅定態度與彈性思維,正是蔡英文可以借鑑參考的。

綠營人士的攻詰,這個難處,不是只有蔡英文有,自況「墨綠」的柯文哲,其意識型態的光譜包袱並不比蔡英文輕。柯文哲近來一系列兩岸政策的發言,以及為促成雙城論壇的柔軟修正,都招來了昔日盟友一頂又一頂的紅帽,成為柯文哲政治十字路口上的另類「紅綠燈」。但柯文哲又是如何看待這盞紅綠燈呢?

首先,在台北市政遭到重大挫敗、市政能力備受質疑的柯文哲,顯然知道,兩岸議題對他而言是敗部復活的契機,他要讓雙城論壇順利舉行,以凸顯他在綠營中擁有人所不及的兩岸事務處理能力,讓上海台北的定期交流不會因為新政府上台而中斷。

舉輕明重,如果不是兩岸事務主管首長的台北市長都對兩岸關係的重要性有此清楚認知,蔡英文就更該知道,她治理國政的最大死角、民調重挫的核心原因就是兩岸。兩岸關係不理順,台灣的發展就沒有樂觀空間,直接衝擊的就是經濟,而經濟為人民滿意之本,也是執政者累積民信威望的源水流泉。

這道理很簡單,台灣是外貿導向的經濟體,與世界愈融,則台灣的活力積木堆得愈高,中國大陸是世界經濟體中極大的積木,台灣把這塊積木拿掉,經濟能不垮嗎?經濟垮了,內政又焉能不垮?經濟、內政都垮了,蔡英文陷入死亡交叉的民調如何振起?

從華航、國道收費員等議題的「快刀」,都可以看到蔡團隊「搶救民調大兵」的急切,先不說這中間諸多討好式的速斷,可能會留下的後遺症,從治國大方略來看,也可以說是無頭蒼蠅式的捨近求遠、捨本逐末。因為,治國的道理就是美國前總統柯林頓那句競選名言:「笨蛋,問題在經濟!」

在台灣,兩岸是經濟之本,所以這句柯林頓的競選名言在台灣的實踐,又可以變成:「笨蛋,問題在兩岸!」

和中國大陸合作,是台灣生存發展的絕對必要,更不要說,還牽涉到複雜的東亞戰略、台灣的外交空間,以及諸多經濟以外、卻可能卡住台灣的兩岸事務。蔡英文身為國家元首,對於因九二共識僵局而卡死的兩岸關係,繼續堅持「就職演說已對北京釋出最大善意」,然後兩手一攤,以悉聽尊便的消極強硬任由兩岸關係崩盤、台灣陷入困境,可謂不負責任、失職。其次,柯文哲雖認知兩岸關係對他政治布局的重要,但他也確實在兩岸問題上做足功課、花足功夫、降足身段。

嚴格說來,陸方原來對「墨綠柯文哲」的疑慮,並不亞於蔡英文,但雙城論壇仍能在柯文哲的努力下,不致隨其他官方交流的中斷而停擺,柯文哲一連串對陸友善與同理心的發言和態度調整,當然有極大關係。柯文哲不避諱自稱「中國人」,大方呼應習近平的「兩岸一家親」,公道肯定今天中國大陸做到「人人有飯吃」在歷史上很不容易,加上「四個互相」、「一五新觀點」的建設性柔軟,終能維持雙城的交流不致中斷。同時,上海代表沙海林在雙城論壇也沒有以「九二共識」為難柯文哲,這就是一種善意的努力。

雖然,這些也招致綠營「背叛」、「軟骨」、「傾中媚共」的質疑。但排除這些情緒性扣帽,詳觀細究柯文哲上開發言,無一不入情理。關鍵是,蔡英文願不願不憚於綠營民粹,說出具同理心、合情合理之言,為重建兩岸關係,找出一條突圍之道?

從決心到做法,柯文哲的堅定與彈性,蔡英文應該參考。

Monday, August 22, 2016

Tsai Ing-wen Must Not Allow the Tail to Wag the Dog

Tsai Ing-wen Must Not Allow the Tail to Wag the Dog 
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
August 23, 2016

Executive Summary: Take the president's four-year term. The first 100 days in office is merely the beginning. The coffin lid has yet to be sealed. The government's legacy has yet to be determined. But the first 100 days has been utter chaos. The President and the Premier's poll numbers have plummeted. The public is thoroughly disillusioned. Tsai Ing-wen must wonder how she can possibly stay the course. The DPP will be in power for four years. But the public has not been able to tolerate Tsai Ing-wen's policy path for even 100 days. What will Taiwan do for the next four years?

Full Text Below:

President Tsai has been in power for over three months, but the political atmosphere on Taiwan has not changed one iota. Bureaucratic arrogance persists. Domestic governance, foreign affairs, and national defense have all gone off the rails. Social antagonisms have intensified. Tsai Ing-wen wants to avoid being judged according to her first 100 days in office. We would warn her against allowing the tail to wag the dog. She must deal with this problem as soon as possible. Otherwise during the next 100 days public anger will boil over.

Actually, if one begins counting from January 16, when Tsai Ing-wen was elected, seven months or 200 days have already passed. In other words, Tsai's record has been far from satisfactory. She wasted her four months preparation period. Her administrative team was overconfident. Her cabinet's performance has been hit or miss. Her administration's strategic direction remains a huge question mark. It is overwhelmed. All it can do is put out fires. It cannot offer a new vision for Taiwan. How can people not be dismayed?

For the new government, the tail is wagging the dog. This phenomenon has manifested itself in two ways. Way Number One. The president is confused about her national priorities. She is having difficulty differentiating between what is important and what is not, what is primary and what is secondary. She is having difficulty establishing a convincing value system. Way Number Two. Tsai Ing-wen is attempting to differentiate herself from Chen Shui-bian. She is attempting to take a more rational, middle road. But she is finding it hard to hold her course when confronted by the DPP and various pressure groups. She has been constantly forced to compromise or cave in. Her repeated changes in direction, her constant course corrections, have gradually blurred her policy path.

Take the former. The President has a responsibility to lead the government in a direction that enables the nation to grow. The President must offer a vision able to inspire people. The new government has already been in office 100 days, yet it remains preoccupied with electioneering. It remains mired in its opposition party mindset, preoccupied with political spin doctoring, historical grievances, revenge seeking, political purges, or personnel reshufflings. Such a preoccupation with the past, prevents it from seeing the problems it faces now. How can it possibly offer a vision for the future?

Some of the reforms Tsai has proposed make sense. For example, pension reform has reached a point where it is a matter of extreme urgency. Judicial reform has been the focus of popular resentment. These reforms should be implemented. But the recovery of Kuomintang assets, the promotion of transitional justice, the rewriting of history texts, are merely cut-throat political battles. They are manifestations of political tyranny, because they trample over the rule of law, they lack legitimacy, and they incite social unrest.

The Tsai government has placed so much emphasis on reform, it is completely overlooking what most people care about, their livelihood. Taiwan's economy has shown no improvement for a very long time. But few hear any words of wisdom from President Tsai. Her Minister of Economic Affairs cares olnly about keeping up appearances on the President's "nuclear-free homeland" initiative. He has little time for anything else. The Minister of Finance has become the Invisible Man. On election night, Tsai swore that "The DPP will give priority to bills that the people are concerned about". But all anyone sees today, is the DPP's abuse of its majority in the Legislative Yuan to wage all out war. The bills it has passed have nothing to do with people's livelihood. Even more distressing, the government has no qualms whatsoever about importing US pork containing Clenbuterol or foodstuffs from Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster zone. How are people supposed to feel about such betrayals by the DPP once it was in power?

Now consider the "tail wagging the dog" phenomenon. Tsai Ing-wen initially hoped to free herself from the constraints that bound Chen Shui-bian. She drew clearer boundaries between the party and the government. But the Tsai faction is having difficulty sticking to its path. The distribution of political pork has been met with challenges from within the party. The Lin Chuan cabinet's performance has been poor. This has given rival DPP factions a pretext to engage in extortion. During her election campaign, Tsai Ing-wen viewed pressure groups that attacked the Ma government as “partners”. She has rewarded them handsomely. In some cases, she has even spun their narrow agendas as mainstream values. She has ignored the fact that they are inapplicable to the nation as a whole, and may provoke a backlash. Such decisions have resulted in Tsai Ing-wen's loss of direction. Pandering to a tiny minority may pass for idealism. But it is utterly impractical. After all, a president is supposed lead a majority, and not be led by a minority. Such administrative practices violate the rule of law. They cannot win the approval of the public. They implicitly encourage people to take to the streets in protest. They can only provoke greater dissatisfaction, and make problems harder for the government to solve.

Take the president's four-year term. The first 100 days in office is merely the beginning. The coffin lid has yet to be sealed. The government's legacy has yet to be determined. But the first 100 days has been utter chaos. The President and the Premier's poll numbers have plummeted. The public is thoroughly disillusioned. Tsai Ing-wen must wonder how she can possibly stay the course. The DPP will be in power for four years. But the public has not been able to tolerate Tsai Ing-wen's policy path for even 100 days. What will Taiwan do for the next four years?

蔡英文要小心「尾巴搖狗」現象
2016-08-23 聯合報

蔡總統執政三個多月,並未給台灣帶來新的氣象,官僚顢頇依舊,內政、外交、國防脫軌事件頻傳,社會對立焦躁氣氛則隱隱發作。蔡英文希望外界不要僅以百日來評斷她執政的成敗,但我們也要提醒她:政府的「尾巴搖狗」現象若不能儘快消除,再下一個百日恐將民怨滔天。

說準確些,如果從一月十六日蔡英文當選時起算,迄今已超過七個月,計兩百多天。換言之,蔡政府今天的表現難如人意,和她在四個多月執政準備期的蹉跎有關,而這當然也和政府團隊的過度自信有關。如今,內閣表現離離落落,整個政府執政的方向和戰略不明,一再淪為消極的危機處理,終至無力為台灣形塑新的願景,能不讓人遺憾?

新政府的「尾巴搖狗」現象,表現在兩方面:在主觀面,是總統面對國政優先次序的混亂,重枝節而輕根本、重表象而輕制度,難以建立有說服力的價值信念。在客觀面,蔡英文原企圖走一條有別於陳水扁的中間理性路線,但面對民進黨及社運團體的掣肘似乎難以自持,不斷作出妥協或迎合。一再轉彎、修正的結果,路線特質和目標也逐漸消損、模糊。

先談前者。總統的責任,在帶領政府部門對國家發展作全方位的擘劃執行,並提出可堪想像的願景召喚人民前進。但新政府就位百日以來,似乎還未擺脫「競選」和「在野」心態,一心只想著政治上的扳回或扭轉,想著各項歷史問題的抹平或追剿,乃至於政策及人馬的更汰和重置。既充滿這類思維,所有心思即專注在計較「過去」,看不到「現在」的問題,遑論未來願景。

當然,蔡英文提出的某些改革主張是有意義的。例如,年金改革已到極其迫切的地步,司法改革則一直是人民怨懟所在,應該推動。然而,諸如追討國民黨黨產、推動轉型正義、修改課綱等作法,則落入了政治惡鬥和割喉之戰;甚至因為手段霸道,以政治踰越法制,而顯得正當性不足,卻攪得社會不寧。

問題在,蔡政府把改革議題打得虎虎生風,多數民眾關注的民生施政卻受到嚴重漠視。例如,台灣經濟久無起色,人們幾未聞蔡總統有何高見,而經濟部長展現的則似乎只是在幫總統的「非核家園」撐場面,別無關注,遑論財政部長幾已變成隱形人。在當選之夜,蔡英文承諾「民進黨會優先處理人民關心的法案」,但今天人們看到的,卻是民進黨濫用國會優勢擴大鬥爭,臨時會優先通過的法案均與民生無關。更讓人扼腕的是,連瘦肉精美豬、日本核區食品等食安事項,政府都輕易想要髮夾彎放水。如此本末倒置偏離主軸的施政,如何教人民有感?

再談第二種「尾巴搖狗」現象。蔡英文原企圖跳脫陳水扁的窠臼,在黨、政之間劃出更清楚的界線,但英派路線似乎難獨撐大局,隨即因執政大餅的利益分配受到黨內挑戰;而林全內閣表現不佳,更成為民進黨各派系指責及勒索的藉口。不僅如此,蔡英文把各色社運團體在她競選期間對馬政府的抗爭都視為「夥伴關係」,除大肆犒賞,甚至將這些特殊案例的主張當成主流價值宣揚,而不顧其適用之局限性,及可能引致的反挫力。這樣的選擇,也導致蔡英文的思路和作為每每走向偏鋒。一味迎合少數的作法,或可宣稱是在表達某些理想,但其反義就是不務實;畢竟,總統是要領導多數而不是被少數領導。就行政和法治而言,這不利爭取多數民眾的認同,且其間隱含鼓勵抗爭的意味只會誘發更多不滿,使政府窮於處理。

就總統的四年任期而言,百日執政只是起步,尚不足蓋棺論定。然而,看這百日的紛紛擾擾,總統和閣揆民調支持度的急墜,民眾不滿之聲四起,蔡英文不能不警惕她的路線將何以為繼。民眾對四年政黨輪替的期待若撐不過百日,台灣要怎麼辦?


Sunday, August 21, 2016

President Tsai Must Do More to End Cross-Strait Confrontation

President Tsai Must Do More to End Cross-Strait Confrontation 
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
August 22, 2016

Executive Summary: Does President Tsai want to avoid Chen Shui-bian's old mistakes? If she does, she must make a genuine effort to improve cross-Strait relations. Trust between the CCP and the DPP is in short supply. Endless pro forma lip service will not reassure the Mainland. In fact, the Tsai government no longer even bothers with that. The Tsai government has restrained only internal de-Sinicization. Externally, it is using the US and Japan to counter the Mainland. Just what is the nature of cross-Strait relations? The Tsai government must respond to Mainland concerns in a clearer manner. Only then can she narrow the distance between the two sides and enable the resumption of official cross-Strait interaction.

Full Text Below:

President Tsai recently reiterated her intention to maintain the status quo and to conduct cross-Strait relations based on the existing constitutional framework. She volunteered the opinion that both sides share responsibility for cross-Strait dialogue and exchanges. She appeared to be challenging the Mainland's claim that Taiwan alone was responsible for the breakdown in cross-Strait communication. But when a reporter asked her whether there was a 1992 Consensus, President Tsai invoked her 5/20 speech, and implied that she had done everything in her power to bring the two sides closer.

This is the heart of the problem. The Mainland has never stopped working toward cross-Strait peace. It considers President Tsai's inaugural address an improvement, because it made reference to "on the basis of the Constitution's Regulations Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the People of the Mainland China Area”. But the Mainland also noted that President Tsai equivocated on the core meaning of the 1992 Consensus. Therefore her response to the Mainland was incomplete. It hoped that President Tsai would continue to move forward, until both sides met in the middle.

The Mainland refrained from taking tough measures immediately following Tsai's 5/20 address. Feeling responsible, it was reluctant to set back bilateral goodwill. Anyone who pays attention to public opinion on the Mainland, will find more and more people advocating reunification by means of military force. Mainland netizens are increasingly hostile toward Taiwan. They are increasingly filled with resentment. This was not the case a few years ago. Taiwan's ruling and opposition parties, as well as the general public, must pay attention. In spite of this negative atmosphere, the Mainland government has yet to take hostile action against Taiwan in the name of "public opinion". The Mainland response has been restrained, even to the Hsiung Feng III missile launch fiasco and the tour bus fire tragedy. It has done everything in its power to minimize public hostility toward Taiwan. The Tsai government ought to acknowledge this, and respond with goodwill.

Alas, it clearly has not. President Tsai's actions since taking office have provoked deep concern. The Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Education have taken giant steps backwards. They have "de-Sinicized" Taiwan repeatedly. The new government has used "transitional justice" as a pretext to liquidate Kuomintang Party assets. The public has witnessed DPP hatred for the KMT in action. Even more, it has seen the DPP's underlying motive – de-Sinicization. Everything the KMT did in the past to promote cross-Strait peace, is now being stigmatized as “pandering to China [sic], and selling out Taiwan”. The peace dividend the KMT painstakingly created for Taiwan, has been obliterated by the new government. Internationally, the Tsai government has cozied up to United States and Japan. It even prosecuted Taiwan fishermen who sailed to Taiping Island to reaffirm our sovereignty, then claimed it was “merely enforcing the law”. In fact, it has been struggling to prove to the United States and Japan that it is not working with the Mainland to defend Chinese sovereignty over the South China Sea. This has sent a chill through patriots within Taiwan. Mainland compatriates consider this as an even more hostile act.

Former SEF Vice Chairman Ma Shao-chang referred to this approach in his new book. He characterized Chen era cross-Strait policy as a two pronged strategy of "stabilization plus differentiation". The stabilization part proved Chen's ability to manage cross-Strait relations. The differentiation part included a wide range of policies. Initial stabilization enabled the creation of increasingly prominent differentiations. The important point was that the stabilization part was mere show. Only the differentiation part was real. The guise of stabilization provided cover for actual differentiation. President Tsai's approach is similar. She uses misleading appearances to hide her true intent. Her show of sensitivity toward Mainland concerns is merely a delaying tactic. Meanwhile, her real world actions move Taiwan farther and farther away from the Mainland. Hung Chi-chang recently expressed concern about President Tsai going down Chen Shui-bian's old path. People who follow cross-Strait relations are clearly concerned about this problem.

President Tsai said both sides share responsibility for cross-Strait communication and interaction. In fact, only the Mainland has acted in a responsible manner. President Tsai has evaded all responsibility. She has not as she alleges, done everything within her ability. The fact is cross-Strait problems cannot be postponed indefinitely. Public opinion on the Mainland is boiling over. It could easily affect Mainland government decision-making. The Mainland's current restraint could yield to public sentiment. That would not be a blessing for cross-Strait relations. President Tsai has been deliberately equivocal and ambiguous. But she may be painting herself into a corner. Refusal to make clear her cross-Strait policy intentions, enables Taiwan independence extremists to force her to openly adopt a Taiwan independence path. The Taiwan Solidarity Union or New Power Party may oppose her merely out of sheer spite. Pressure groups may renew pressure to “Join the United Nations under the name of Taiwan”. If President Tsai fails to make a decision, she will face greater pressures from within, and lose any room to maneuver.

Does President Tsai want to avoid Chen Shui-bian's old mistakes? If she does, she must make a genuine effort to improve cross-Strait relations. Trust between the CCP and the DPP is in short supply. Endless pro forma lip service will not reassure the Mainland. In fact, the Tsai government no longer even bothers with that. The Tsai government has restrained only internal de-Sinicization. Externally, it is using the US and Japan to counter the Mainland. Just what is the nature of cross-Strait relations? The Tsai government must respond to Mainland concerns in a clearer manner. Only then can she narrow the distance between the two sides and enable the resumption of official cross-Strait interaction.

解兩岸冷對抗 蔡總統並未盡其所能
2016/8/22 中國時報

蔡總統在記者節茶敘上主動提及兩岸關係,除了重申維持現狀和在當前憲政體制下發展兩岸關係以外,也再度強調推進兩岸對話交流需要兩岸雙方共同努力,是雙方共同的責任,似乎是針對大陸所稱兩岸溝通停擺責任完全在台灣一方的說法。不過當記者問到沒有九二共識怎麼辦時,蔡總統卻又回到520講話,指其已經盡其所能把雙方立場拉近。

問題的癥結就在這裡,大陸從未放棄推動兩岸關係和平發展的努力,也部分認同蔡總統的就職演講,認為增加了「依據憲法和《兩岸人民關係條例》」的用詞是一種進步。但大陸也注意到,蔡總統還是在九二共識的核心意涵問題上採取模糊態度,因此大陸的回應指這是一份未完成的答卷,希望蔡總統可以繼續向前走,讓雙方產生交集。

大陸並沒有在520講話之後立即採取強硬措施,正是不願雙方關係倒退的善意之舉,也是一種負責任的表現。民眾如果關心大陸網路輿論,會發現愈來愈多的武統言論甚囂塵上,而大陸網民對台灣的態度也愈來愈不友善,愈來愈充滿反感,這是幾年前還不存在的現象,台灣朝野及社會大眾應生警惕。但即便在這種輿論氛圍下,大陸官方也沒有藉「民意」之名對台灣採取敵對行動,甚至在發生雄三飛彈誤射及火燒車事件,我方應對荒腔走板,大陸卻選擇克制,盡可能避免輿論朝敵視台灣的方向發展。蔡政府應該正視、接受並回應這份善意。

結果顯然不是如此,蔡總統上任以來的種種作為讓人深感憂慮,文化部和教育部大開歷史倒車,「去中國化」的行動此起彼落,新政府對「轉型正義」和清算國民黨黨產全力以赴,讓人不僅看到民進黨對國民黨的仇視,更讓人注意到背後的去中國化邏輯。事實上,國民黨過去推動兩岸關係和平發展的種種能力,現在都被汙名化為親中賣台,國民黨為台灣創造的和平紅利,也被新政府逐步消滅殆盡。不僅如此,在對外關係上,蔡政府一再向美、日靠攏,甚至連前往太平島宣示主權的漁船都要假行政執法名義處罰之,與其說是依法行政,不如說是向美、日交心,證明自己無意與大陸聯手共同捍衛南海主權,這無疑讓台灣內部的愛國者心寒,看在大陸眼裡,更是十分不友好的舉動。

前海基會副董事長馬紹章在其新著,將扁時代的兩岸策略總結為「穩定」與「區別」兩手策略。「穩定」是為了證明其有處理兩岸關係的能力,「區別」則是創造多數的策略,執政初期以「穩定」為主,隨著時間的推移則愈來愈凸顯「區別」,更重要的是,「穩定」策略是虛是表,表現為不作為,「區別」則是實,表現在作為,是以虛掩實,以表蓋裡。檢視蔡總統現階段的做法,也可發現其有類似的發展趨勢,對大陸的核心關切都在虛與委蛇、以拖待變,實質行動則與大陸漸行漸遠。洪奇昌最近表達其對蔡總統走陳水扁老路的擔心,可見關心兩岸前途的人們都已注意到這個嚴峻問題。

雖然蔡總統言必稱兩岸溝通互動是兩岸共同的責任,但事實上大陸一直在盡責,反而是蔡總統一直在迴避,更未如其所言那般已盡其所能。但兩岸之間的問題終究不可能一直久拖不決,大陸的民意沸騰也很容易傳導至政府決策層,讓暫時的克制不得不退卻,轉而對民意做出回應,這絕非兩岸關係之福。蔡總統的曖昧模糊,也會讓自己陷入進退失據,遲遲不確定兩岸政策意向,其內部的激進派也有心推她一把,讓其走向公開台獨路線,無論是台聯與時代力量為反對而反對,還是民間團體的入聯倡議皆是新一輪的施壓。若蔡總統再不做出決斷,她將面對更大的內部壓力,反而讓自己失去迴旋空間。

蔡總統若想避免重蹈阿扁的老路,就應該採取實際行動為兩岸關係的改善做出努力,民、共互信嚴重不足,不斷的口頭論述不會讓大陸感到放心,更何況現在蔡政府連口頭的善意都鮮少出現。蔡政府只有在內部施政層面克制去中國化的衝動,在對外政策上做好美、日外交和兩岸關係的平衡,在兩岸究竟是什麼關係的問題上,以更清晰的態度回應大陸的關切,才能讓兩岸之間的距離拉近,從而為兩岸官方互動的重啟創造有利條件。


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Can Law-Abiding Citizens Tolerate Such a System?

Can Law-Abiding Citizens Tolerate Such a System?
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
August 19, 2016

Executive Summary: Last month President Tsai Ing-wen met with representatives of the Chinese National Federation of Industries. She said, "My job is not to please people one after the other". Recent events show what she really meant was that the Tsai government will treat ordinary, law-abiding citizens with bureaucratic contempt. Only those able to raise a huge stink, will gain the president's ear. That being the case, expect taxi drivers to follow suit. After all, isn't Uber the result of the government's “regime change”?

Full Text Below:

Toll collectors for the national highway system have been protesting for the past two years. The new government has announced a "special subsidy" in hopes of bringing the protests to an end. The Lin Chuan Cabinet appears to be “adept at martial arts”. But the reality is far simpler than that. Government officials are forcing private companies to throw public money at the problem, hoping it will go away. No particular aptitude is involved. What is particulary objectionable is the government's indifference to the negative impression this is leaving on law-abiding citizens.

The moment Lin Chuan took office, he dropped all charges against the Sunflower Student Movement. Ho Nuan-hsuan caved in to all of the China Airlines flight attendants' demands. As a result, the major concessions Lin Wan-yi and Kuo Fang-yu made to toll collectors came as no surprise. People were initially willing to believe that the government sincerely sought to embody "progressive values". But when it enacted the same script again and again, progressive values became indistinguishable from throwing money at problems and vote buying via public policy. Meanwhile, the government continued to persecute Taiwan fishermen who sailed to Taiping Island to reassert our national sovereignty. The government's alleged “compassion for ordinary folk” and “respect for the working man” have been exposed for what they are -- hypocritical lies.

The general public is mostly sympathetic to the plight of toll collectors for the national highway system. They believe the government should attempt to resolve the problem. Since the toll collectors' chief concern is unemployment, the government should help them find jobs, and not merely provide subsidies. The toll collectors are still of working age. Yet the government claims they are unable to work, and reduced them to the status of recipients of unemployment. This reveals the Ministry of Labour's incompetence.

If we look closer, electronic highway toll collection has led to job losses. For two years, the government has been doling out either subsidies or severance pay. It has also provided job training. Out of 947 toll collectors, 795 have already changed their line of work. The government has provided the 795 toll collectors with 200 million NT in subsidies or severance pay. That is even more incomprehensible. When just over 100 toll collectors protested recently, the government agreed to provide 590 million NT in special subsidies, and promised to provide them to everyone. Such irresponsible scattering of public funds, merely digs the government into a deeper and deeper hole. How can this possibly be considered a reasonable solution?

Providing protesters with generous subsidies is like giving candy to children who throw the loudest tantrum. It penalizes law-abiding citizens who behave reasonably. What fate awaits a nation that penalizes the law-abiding, while rewarding the trouble-makers? What fate awaits the rule of law and public morality?

Consider the Lin Chuan cabinet's logic. The Ma era Ministry of Transportation could not resolve the problem. The new government bypassed the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. It put Lin Wan-yi, a political appointee who heads up health and welfare, and Minister of Labour Kuo Fang-yu, in charge of negotiations. It clearly wanted health and welfare to throw money at the problem until it want away. Lin Wan-yi argued that toll collectors were out of work because of "regime change". Therefore the state must provide them with subsidies. But lest we forget, Lin Wan-yi is charged with pension reform. He used government authority to change the pension system. Based on his logic, military personnel, civil servants, and public school teachers can also cite “regime change” in response to their pension cuts. They too can stage mass protests, and demand that the government compensate them for the loss of their pensions. If so, Taiwan will never know peace.

The government's handling of the toll collectors' protest appears successful. But its flawed logic penalizes law-abiding workers. Negative consequences are inevitable. The government is attempting to showcase its compassion for grass-roots workers. But what people are seeing is officials mercilessly persecuting fishermen who are attempting to reaffirm our nation's sovereignty over Taiping Island. From the fishermens' departure to return, these officials have shown the public the ugly face of bureaucratic indifference. The government claims that out of work toll collectors are suffering. Therefore the government must treat them with compassion, and provide them with special subsidies. But the government refuses to give patriotic fishermen similar subsidies. So be it. But why is the government intimidating down? Why is it hunting them down? Why is it mercilessly punishing them? The contrast reveals the government's hypocrisy, and rips the mask off the government's purported "love for the people".

Last month President Tsai Ing-wen met with representatives of the Chinese National Federation of Industries. She said, "My job is not to please people one after the other". Recent events show what she really meant was that the Tsai government will treat ordinary, law-abiding citizens with bureaucratic contempt. Only those able to raise a huge stink, will gain the president's ear. That being the case, expect taxi drivers to follow suit. After all, isn't Uber the result of the government's “regime change”?

這種治理哲學,如何說服守分公民?
2016-08-19 聯合報

延燒兩年的國道收費員抗爭事件,新政府宣布以「專案補貼」方式使事件落幕。林全內閣看似武功高超,但說穿了一點都不稀奇:官員是拿公帑並逼著企業一起撒錢了事,毫無技巧可言;更可議的是,政府似乎毫不在意此舉會對守本分的公民造成什麼負面影響。

從林全一上任即撤銷對太陽花學運的告訴,及何煖軒對華航空服員罷工的照單全收,林萬億和郭芳煜這次對收費員的大讓步其實在意料之中。第一次,民眾也許願意相信政府確實想表達什麼「進步價值」,但一而再、再而三的雷同演出,所謂進步價值和「花錢消災」或「政策買票」其實已水乳交融,難分難解。倘若再與政府不斷打壓登太平島漁民對照,所有體恤民情、勞工至上的說詞,顯然都變成虛偽的謊言。

一般社會大眾對於國道收費員的處境,多半抱持同情的態度,也認為政府應該積極設法解決。然而,既然「失業」是他們的主要訴求,政府應該做的當然是協助他們找到適合的工作,而不只是消極地發錢或加碼年資以補貼其生活。這些收費員都還在勞動年齡,政府卻否定他們的工作能力,把他們變成失業補助對象;從這點看,勞動部的處理完全難謂稱職。

進一步看,高速公路因電子化而導致收費員失業,兩年多來政府除了發放慰助金或資遣費,也設計了輔導轉業機制;在九四七名收費員中,有七九五人稍早已接受了轉置的安排。更令人費解的是,完成轉置的七九五人,先前政府發放的總慰助經費是二.二億元;而這次政府為滿足最後一百多名抗爭者,竟同意增加五.九億元的專案補貼,還承諾擴及全員。這種作法,除了亂慷全民之慨,也把窟窿越挖越大,能說是合理的解決嗎?

試想,對於抗爭者給予優渥的補貼獎勵,如同「會鬧的孩子有糖吃」,更形同是對沉默守分勞工的變相懲罰。在一個國家中,如果是安分守己的人受到輕蔑及懲罰,而喧騰鬧事的人則受到獎賞,這個社會的法治和倫理要如何建立?

同樣值得討論的,是林全內閣處理這次事件的政策邏輯。或許是鑑於馬政府時代交通部無法解決抗爭問題,這次新政府直接拋開交通部,改由主管社福的政務委員林萬億和勞動部長郭芳煜共同主持協商,這即擺明要用社福的撒錢手段解決此事。林萬億更論證說,國道收費員失業,主要是由於政府「制度改變」,因此國家有必要提供他們補貼。但別忘了,林萬億正在主持「年金改革」,就是企圖用政府的力量來改變年金給付制度。如果他上述邏輯成立的話,那麼軍公教年金一旦遭到縮減,未來是否也可援用「制度改變」的邏輯發動抗爭,要求國家補償他們的年金損失?若然,台灣社會恐將永無寧日了。

無論如何,這次政府處理收費員抗爭,表面上結局圓滿,邏輯卻漏洞百出,處理手法則打擊了安分勞工,留下諸多後遺症。更矛盾的是,政府企圖藉此展現「體恤基層勞工」的姿態,但在另一方面人們看到的卻是,官員對於主動前往太平島宣示主權的漁民百般刁難,從啟程前到返航後,日復一日不斷示以官僚嘴臉壓逼。如果說失業收費員處境困窘,因此政府要特別給予專案補貼照顧,以示憐恤;那麼,政府對愛國漁民不給與油耗補貼也就算了,為何卻一路威逼追懲。兩相對照,所謂「愛民」之說,完全道盡政府兩張臉孔的虛偽。

蔡英文總統上月會晤工總代表時,曾說:「我的工作不是輪流討好誰。」這句話從最近的案例來解讀是:蔡政府對一般百姓是不假詞色的,尤其是守法、守分的公民;除非誰有本事鬧到不可開交,總統才會討好你。那麼,馬上可以跟進效法的就是計程車司機,因為Uber的衝擊湧至,正是政府「制度改變」所致。


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

From the Philippines to Korea: Diplomacy Must Be Flexible

From the Philippines to Korea: Diplomacy Must Be Flexible 
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) 
A Translation 
August 18, 2016

Executive Summary: To appease public outrage, Minister of the Interior Yeh Chun-jung landed on Taiping Island yesterday and reaffirmed out sovereignty. President Tsai has approved her New Southern Strategy. But she did not rule out cooperation with the Mainland. Is this the first of the new government's policy changes? If so, we look forward to more such changes.

Full Text Below:

The Philippines emerged victorious in the South China Sea arbitration dispute. But its victory did not raise tensions in the region. Instead the Philippines stressed its willingness to share South China Sea resources with Mainland China. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte sent former President Fidel Ramos to Hong Kong to “break the ice” and restart talks with Mainland China. Ramos fulfilled his mission. The Mainland invited the special envoy from the Philippines to Beijing.

President Duterte may be a populist. But when it comes to diplomacy, he is a pragmatist. He has no desire to butt heads with the Mainland in the South China Sea. The 88-year-old Ramos is a capable ambassador. He has used his image, experience, and contacts to defuse diplomatic crises. Three years ago, a Philippines government vessel fired upon the Kuang Ta Hsing, a fishing vessel from Taiwan, and killed one of its crew. Ramos enabled the two sides to investigate the case together. He was neither overbearing nor servile. His performance was impressive. Taiwan does not men of his caliber. But blue vs. green distrust means that ideology trumps all. Therefore the talents of such individuals can seldom be put to use.

Ramos hopes to mend relations with the Mainland over the South China Sea. That will not be easy. The two sides will communicate in two stages. The first will be exploratory contacts in Hong Kong, that will create a climate conducive to reconciliation. According to Ramos, his job in Hong Kong is not to negotiate, but to restore the traditional friendship between the two nations. Therefore Ramos visited a number of old friends in Hong Kong, all high ranking CCP officials, including Wu Sichun, President of the South China Sea Institute. His visit lasted five days. Ramos and Fu Ying, Chairman of the National Peoples Congress Foreign Affairs Committee, announced that the two nations would discuss "maritime conservation" and "avoid tensions while promoting fisheries cooperation". The Mainland then invited the Ramos to visit Beijing.

Leaders of the Philippines did not allow themselves to be carried away by their arbitration victory. Instead, they realized that their national interests lie in smooth foreign relationships. They noted that Aquino, who demanded arbitration, was already out of the picture. Duterte was in charge. The heads of state could now modify Philippines-Mainland relations to meet with the best interests of their respective nations.

Also worth noting is the relationship between the Mainland and South Korea. In May, South Korean President Park Geun-hye agreed to deploy the THAAD missile system. This triggering tensions in Mainland-ROK relations. The Mainland issued “limits on Koreans", forcing Korean entertainers to cancel scheduled performances on the Mainland. The Mainland tightened requirements for Korean entrepreneur visas. It threatened to remove South Korea from its list of approved parts suppliers.

In fact, the Mainland did not actually implement the so-called "limit on Koreans" policy. So far only South Korean entertainers and talent agents have been affected. The impact has yet to extend to the economic and trade levels. The South Korean public has accused the Mainland of lacking the tolerance befitting a great nation. But the South Korean government is cautious. It sent six members of parliament to the Mainland. They stressed that the THAAD missile system was not directed against the Mainland. Cheong Wa Dae will be using the Hangzhou G20 meeting in early September to melt the ice. South Korea's deployment of the THAAD missile system has undermined its relations with the Mainland. Nevertheless the two sides continue to talk, allowing for eventual reconciliation.

Mainland relations with the Philippines, and Mainland relations with South Korea, offer a valuable lesson for cross-Strait relations. The DPP government has been in office three months. Cross-Strait channels of communication have already been severed. STA negotiations have essentially been abandoned. Neither side trusts the other. The number of Mainland tourists and Mainland students arriving on Taiwan has steadly been reduced. The impact on the private sector is increasingly evident. In the absence of channels of communication with the Mainland, Beijing has repeatedly extradited scam artists from Taiwan to the Mainland for trial. The Mainland is gradually reducing Taiwan's international wriggle space. Yet the Tsai government is doing nothing to defuse the situation.

Taiwan's current diplomatic difficulties are the result of the Tsai government's cross-Strait policy. It is overly rigid and has failed to keep up with the times. In the long run, this will leave Taiwan increasingly isolated and incapable of determining its own fate. The DPP has chosen to be part of the United States' Asia rebalancing policy. It seeks to reduce economic dependence on the Mainland with its New Southern Strategy. From a strategic perspective, this seems reasonable. Alas, dependence on the US means forfeiting Taiwan's primacy. To wit, the downgrading of Taiping Island in the South China Sea arbitration case to the status of a “reef”. To wit, the unsustainable nature of the New Southern Strategy. Formosa Plastics steel mills have been repeatedly subjected to extortion by foreign governments. Is the Tsai government really too obstinate to make the necessary changes?

To appease public outrage, Minister of the Interior Yeh Chun-jung landed on Taiping Island yesterday and reaffirmed out sovereignty. President Tsai has approved her New Southern Strategy. But she did not rule out cooperation with the Mainland. Is this the first of the new government's policy changes? If so, we look forward to more such changes.

從菲韓作法談外交靈活之必要
2016-08-18 聯合報

菲律賓在南海仲裁案大獲全勝後,非但未乘勝挑起區域的緊張,反而強調願意與中國大陸分享南海資源。菲國總統杜特蒂並派前總統羅慕斯為特使,赴港進行「破冰之旅」,謀求重新開啟中菲兩國對話管道。羅慕斯不辱使命,中方已表示歡迎菲國特使訪問北京。

杜特蒂總統行事雖頗具民粹風格,但面對外交工作,卻充分表現出務實的一面,不願為南海問題與中共鬧僵。八十八歲的羅慕斯則是幹練的親善大使,屢屢運用自己從政時累積的形象、經驗和人脈,為菲國化解外交危機。三年前,他為台灣漁船廣大興遭菲公務船射殺案來台,促成雙方共同調查該案,不卑不亢的態度令人印象深刻。台灣其實並不缺乏這類人才,但因為藍綠政府彼此猜忌,加上意識形態作祟,鮮少被用上。

羅慕斯要修補中菲的南海齟齬,並不是輕鬆的任務;雙方設定為兩階段的溝通,先在香港進行試探性接觸,以營造和解氣氛。羅慕斯的定位是:香港行之任務不在談判,而在幫中菲「恢復歷史的傳統友誼」;也因此,他在港拜訪多位與中共高層有聯繫的老友,包括中國南海研究院院長吳士存。五天的訪問中,他最後與人大外事委員會主委傅瑩發表共同新聞稿,宣布兩國將探討「海洋生態保護」與「避免局勢緊張及促進漁業合作」的可能性;中方同時表示,歡迎菲國特使訪問北京。

由此可見,菲律賓沒有被仲裁的勝利沖昏頭,反而意識到對外關係的平順才是國家利益之所在。而提出仲裁的艾奎諾下台,杜特蒂執政,讓菲國元首有調整中菲關係的機會,以追求最佳的國家利益。

同樣值得注意的,是中韓的關係變化。五月間,韓國總統朴槿惠同意美國在韓國部署薩德飛彈系統,引發中韓關係的緊張。為此,中國大陸最近祭出「限韓令」,首先取消了韓國演藝人員在大陸的一些演出以為施壓,同時縮緊韓國企業家的赴大陸簽證,並揚言考慮將排除韓國某些零件製造商於中國供應商的名單之外。

事實上,中共並未全面推動所謂的「限韓令」,迄今為止,僅對韓國演藝人員及經紀公司造成較大的衝擊,尚未擴大至經貿層面。韓國社會雖有批評中國缺乏大國氣度的聲音,但韓國政府則小心翼翼,派出六名國會議員前往大陸溝通,強調薩德系統並非針對大陸而來。此外,青瓦台也把九月初將在杭州召開的G20會議,當成兩國融冰對話的機會。亦即,薩德飛彈部署雖影響中韓友善關係,但雙方鬥而不破,為彼此的和解預留空間。

由中菲、中韓的外交作法對應,對我國處理兩岸關係或許可以有一些提示作用。民進黨政府上台三個月,兩岸對話機制處於斷線狀態,服貨貿的簽署談判已形同放棄進度,在彼此猜忌下,來台陸客及陸生人數逐漸減少,對民間的衝擊日益明顯。在欠缺對話管道的情況下,中共屢屢逕將台灣詐欺犯押解到大陸受審,大陸對於台灣國際空間的打壓也日益增強。然而,人們卻看不到蔡政府在這方面作出試圖化解的努力。

當前台灣的外交困境,主要是蔡政府的兩岸政策過於僵化,無法隨形勢的轉變而調整;長此以往,這將使台灣陷入愈發孤立而難以自主的困境。民進黨選擇積極配合美國的亞洲再平衡政策,並推動新南向政策以化解對大陸的經濟依賴,從戰略觀點似無可厚非。問題是,當對美的依附角色損及台灣的主體性(例如太平島在南海仲裁案被貶為礁),當新南向政策缺乏主客觀的支撐(例如台塑越鋼廠頻遭當地政府剝削),我們的政策要不要作出相應的調整?

為撫平民怨,內政部長葉俊榮日昨赴太平島宣示主權,蔡總統拍板「南向政策」綱領,也聲稱不排除與大陸合作。如果這是政府路線調整的第一步,我們希望能看到更具體的作為。