China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 1, 2015
Executive Summary: The US and the Mainland are undergoing a clash of strategic interests in the South China Sea. This however will not affect overall Sino-US relations. Tsai Ing-wen will not be able to take advantage of friction between the the United States and the Mainland. She must adopt a new definition of the cross-Strait status quo. She must respond also to concerns expressed by Lin Chong-pin.
Full Text Below:
When Tsai Ing-wen was Chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council, Lin Chong-pin was her special deputy. On the eve of Tsai Ing-wen's visit to the US, Lin told Want Daily reporters that if her former boss became president, but refused to change her cross-Strait policy, she would face an "avalanche of severed diplomatic relations." Lin Chong-pin was in quiet retirement. He was not deliberately poor-mouthing his former boss. He was merely reminding Tsai Ing-wen that maintaining the status quo may win one applause. But one cannot just talk the talk. One must also walk the walk. Otherwise the situation is likely to spiral out of control. Lin Chong-pin's warning was not alarmism. But Tsai Ing-wen is not about to listen. She is convinced that if she becomes president, external circumstances will change to accommodate her.
The DPP may not be willing to listen to Lin Chong-pin's warning. But the public on Taiwan is aware of the problem. If Tsai Ing-wen's cross-Strait policy remains fuzzy, if she persists in covertly fanning the flames of Taiwan independence, Lin Chong-pin's avalanche may not be confined to severed diplomatic relations. Washington may go so far as to state explicitly, before the election, that it rejects her argument.
Consider the diplomatic repercussions. People may take current conveniences and benefits for granted. They may have forgotten just how hard-won these conveniences and benefits were. The ROC has few diplomatic ties. It must rely on diplomatic allies to gain international community attention and to defend its rights and dignity. But with Mainland China's rise, these nations are moving closer to Beijing. ROC diplomatic allies continue to defect.
During the DPP's eight years in power, it adopted "checkbook diplomacy". It used massive bribes to retain diplomatic allies. Yet the number of diplomatic allies shrank from 29 nations to 23 nations. These allies were lured away by the Mainland. The tide was stemmed and the bleeding stopped only when President Ma Ying-jeou took office. One nation, Gambia, was lost during Ma's seven years in office. The number of allies shrank from 23 nations to 22. But Gambia unilaterally severed diplomatic relations with us. The Mainland did not lure Gambia away.
When the ROC left the United Nations, many nations severed diplomatic relations. Why could Ma Ying-jeou stop the bleeding? The difference was that the DPP adopted the path of confrontation. It used large sums of money to battle the Mainland. Eight years of checkbook diplomacy and scorched earth diplomacy later, the ROC lured away three of the Mainland's diplomatic allies. The Mainland by contrast, lured away nine of Taiwan's diplomatic allies. The result was a major loss of diplomatic ties and national wealth. The transfer of funds was opaque. The result was the Papua New Guinea diplomatic brokerage scandal. Worse, controversy erupted over our corruption of other nations' governments. We alienated Australia and other geopolitically sensitive nations. This was a miserable lose/lose scenario.
By contrast, the KMT and the CCP reached an implicit diplomatic truce. They ended checkbook diplomacy, a policy that was both fiscally exorbitant and harmful to the national image. They eventually established a stable cross-Strait diplomatic truce, stabilized diplomatic allies, reduced their financial burdens, and preserved the image of the Chinese nation. The result was a win for both sides. The strategy was successful for one reason. The Kuomintang recognized that the main obstacle to Taiwan's participation in international activities was the Mainland. It chose to improve relations with the CCP, establish trust, and soften Mainland opposition. This opened the door to Taiwan's participation in the activities of the international community. The Democratic Progressive Party, by contrast, upon seeing the boulder blocking its way. , chose to butt heads with the boulder. The boulder did not break. But its own head did.
The effectiveness of the KMT strategy extended to other areas of diplomacy. When the DPP was in power, it desperately sought to gain entry to the World Health Assembly (WHA) and the ICAO. Eight years of struggle later, both doors remained tightly shut. As soon as Ma Ying-jeou took office however, we gained immediate entry. The Taiwan-Japan investment agreement, the Taiwan-Japan fisheries agreement, the Taiwan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement (ASTEP), and the Taiwan-New Zealand Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA) all followed. When the DPP was in power, these were all considered "Mission Impossible". But as soon as the Kuomintang took office, they were all achieved in short order. The most emotionally moving was visa-free treatment for ROC citizens visiting other countries and regions. Eight years of DPP rule yielded nothing, added nothing. By contrast, once the KMT returned to power in 2008, the number of nations ROC citizens could visit increased from 54 nations to 142 nations. This included nations and regions such as the USA, Europe and others that people most hope to visit.
Cross-Strait peace makes international links possible. Clearly the KMT approach is effective. Tsai Ing-wen poo-poos Ma Ying-jeou's achievements. But when all is said and done, who achieved these foreign policy results? Tsai Ing-wen is currently running around in circles, offering absolutely nothing of substance. She brims over with hostility toward the Mainland. Never mind preserving Ma's diplomatic achievements. Can Tsai Ing-wen prevent an avalanche from inundating Ma Ying-jeou's foundation for diplomacy? Even that is in doubt.
Lin Chong-pin's warning of avalanches was confined to diplomatic ties. He did not touch upon the more worrisome economic avalanche. That is something sure to follow any deterioration in cross-Strait relations. That security avalanche is the most worrisome of all.
Tsai Ing-wen says she advocates maintaining the status quo. She says her cross-Strait policy is the same as that of the United States. But her declarations are riddled with deceit. Tsai Ing-wen visited Washington in September 2011. She gave a speech on "Challenges and Strategies for National Security over the Coming Decade" at the American Enterprise Institute. She defined the cross-Strait status quo in the following manner. She said "Taiwan is already an independent nation. The people of Taiwan are frustrated with discrimination by the international community. But it wants political separation from [Mainland] China." She said "The ultimate goal is to ensure the rights of the people of Taiwan to make decisions regarding the future of Taiwan. Any change in the status quo must be made through democratic means. The Taiwan people must decide." Three days later the UK Financial Times expressed doubts about Tsai Ing-wen's ability to maintain stability in the Strait. This led to Tsai Ing-wen's defeat during the final mile of her election campaign.
The US and the Mainland are undergoing a clash of strategic interests in the South China Sea. This however will not affect overall Sino-US relations. Tsai Ing-wen will not be able to take advantage of friction between the the United States and the Mainland. She must adopt a new definition of the cross-Strait status quo. She must respond also to concerns expressed by Lin Chong-pin.
旺報》專訪時對前長官發出警訊， 認為她執政後如不調整兩岸政策說法，可能得面對「雪崩式斷交」。 退居山林的林中斌並非故意唱衰前長官，而是提醒蔡英文， 維持現狀固然討喜，但不能只是宣示，還必須有方法， 否則情勢發展很可能失控。林中斌的警訊並非辟言， 但蔡英文不會把警告聽進去，因為她深信勝券在握， 外在環境會跟著改變。
如果蔡英文對兩岸政策持續保持明裡模糊、暗裡煽火的態度， 林中斌的「雪崩警告」，從外交面言，可能不只發生在斷交潮上， 這場雪崩，更不只發生在「外交場域」；甚至， 美國也可能在選前就明確表態，不接受她的說法。
常會以理所當然的態度看待，忘了這些便利與好處得來是多麼不易。 以邦交國來說，台灣國際處境困難， 必須依靠邦交國代為發聲來爭取國際社會注意， 並捍衛國家的權利與尊嚴，但隨著中國大陸崛起，各國向大陸靠攏， 中華民國邦交國持續流失。
以大量金援留住邦交國，邦交國數仍從29國減為23國， 這些流失的邦交國，全被大陸挖走。 斷交潮直到馬英九總統上任才止血，7年間雖然丟了一個甘比亞， 邦交國數從23國減為22國，但甘比亞是片面與我斷交， 並非大陸挖走。
和民進黨不同的是，民進黨採取的是對抗路徑， 以巨額金錢為代價和大陸進行拉鋸式外交戰，8年銀彈烽火挖來了3 個邦交國，卻被大陸挖走了9個。結果是邦交國大減、 財政重度失血，在不透明金援手段掩蓋下， 不但被外交掮客利用釀成巴紐建交醜聞案， 更引起許多敗壞他國政風的爭議， 因此讓澳洲等地緣利害關係國不滿。可謂處在多輸、慘輸局面。
終止勞民傷財又害形象的支票簿外交政策。 終能穩定形成兩岸外交休兵、穩住邦交國、減輕財政負擔、 保全國家形象的多贏局面。策略的成功處無它， 國民黨承認中共是擋住台灣參與國際空間最大的石頭， 選擇改善和中共的關係、建立雙方互信，柔化了這顆石頭， 也就敲開了台灣參與國際社會的大門。民進黨則相反， 看到巨石擋路，選擇用頭猛烈地撞擊巨石，不但沒把巨石撞開， 還讓自己頭破血流。
民進黨執政想方設法要參與的世界衛生大會（WHA） 與國際民航組織（ICAO），8年努力仍然大門緊密， 馬英九上任就取得了門票；台日投資協議、台日漁業協議、 台星經濟夥伴協定（ASTEP）、台紐經濟合作協定（ECA）， 民進黨執政時都被視為不可能的任務，均由國民黨達陣；而其中「 最有感的」就是給台灣免簽的國家與地區，民進黨執政8年交出了鴨 蛋，增加數為0，而2008年國民黨重新執政後，則從54國增加 為142國，還包括美國、歐洲等國人最常前往的國家與地區。
蔡英文對馬英九的政績不屑一顧， 但到底要拿出什麼樣具體的外交政策牛肉？以蔡英文目前空心繞圈、 甚至對大陸充滿敵意的兩岸態度，不要說超越馬英九的外交成績， 要保住馬英九打下的外交基礎不「雪崩」，都成奢求。
她這句話實有欺瞞之嫌。2011年9月蔡英文訪問華府時， 在美國企業研究所發表「未來十年台灣的國家安全挑戰與戰略」 演講時，曾經定義兩岸現狀：「台灣已是一個獨立的國家， 雖然台灣人民因為國際社會的歧視感到挫折， 但普遍仍渴望和中國維持政治上的分離。」「最終目標則是， 希望能確保台灣人民享有決定台灣前途的權利，任何對現狀的改變， 都必須透過民主方式由台灣人民來決定。」她的演講剛結束才3天， 英國《金融時報》就對蔡英文能否維護台海穩定表達懷疑， 最終造成蔡英文在選戰最後一哩路摔跤。