China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 25, 2015
Executive Summary: The rise of Mainland China is a fact. Taiwan cannot indulge in outdated thinking over reunification vs. independence or political mobilization that sets blue against green. Fighting these old battles squanders our energy and resources. The Mainland and neighboring Asian countries will not wait for Taiwan. If Taiwan loses its economic edge, we can forget about "dignity". Reunification will be inescapable. This election is crucial. The debate between the two parties and two candidates will help the public on Taiwan understand how much the world has changed. It will help them leave behind the tragedies of the past and their Cold War mentality. It will help them better understand the Mainland, and Taiwan's relationship to the rest of the world. It will help them make an objective assessment of their own strengths and where opportunities lie. We cannot afford to wallow in the past. Nor can we afford to lose confidence in ourselves and become despondent. We must find the correct path for Taiwan.
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The rise of Mainland China is a fact. Taiwan cannot indulge in outdated thinking over reunification vs. independence or political mobilization that sets blue against green. Fighting these old battles squanders our energy and resources. The Mainland and neighboring Asian countries will not wait for Taiwan. If Taiwan loses its economic edge, we can forget about "dignity". Reunification will be inescapable. This election is crucial. The debate between the two parties and two candidates will help the public on Taiwan understand how much the world has changed. It will help them leave behind the tragedies of the past and their Cold War mentality. It will help them better understand the Mainland, and Taiwan's relationship to the rest of the world. It will help them make an objective assessment of their own strengths and where opportunities lie. We cannot afford to wallow in the past. Nor can we afford to lose confidence in ourselves and become despondent. We must find the correct path for Taiwan.
Consider the economics. According to IMF data, 2014 Mainland GDP was 10.3 trillion USD, second only to the United States. According to WTO 2014 global trade rankings, Mainland exports totalled 2.3 trillion USD. They accounted for 12.4% of global exports, making the Mainland number one in the world. Mainland imports totalled 1.9 trillion USD. They accounted for 10.3% of global imports, making it number two in the world. In total trade since 2013, the United States ranked first in the world. Mainland China's economy is growing both in size and influence. It has become an indispensable component of the global economy. In 2004 Mainland China became a key exporter of capital. It invested a total of 614 billion USD abroad. This fell short of the US, at 6.5 trillion. But Mainland China is growing at a much faster fate than the United States. It is rapidly closing the gap between the two countries.
Faced with the rise of Mainland China, people on Taiwan have reacted differently. Some might be termed "The Blind". These people are willfully blind. They see nothing. Their minds are mired in the past, 20 years ago, when Mainland China was supposedly on the brink of collapse. They seek reassurances in this. Alas, "Reality Bites". The gap between objective reality and their fantasy is too great. Therefore all they can do is remain willfully blind. Tsai Ing-wen says she is willing to accept the status quo. But we see no sign of the DPP changing either its attitude or its policies. Basically it remains willfully blind. Others might be termed "The Defeated". They assume that the rise of Mainland China means Taiwan no longer has a future. They assume the rise of the red supply chain means Taiwan products will be replaced by Mainland products. They assume that any effort is futile, and that all they can do is watch the Mainland become stronger as Taiwan becomes weaker.
Both groups have made a huge mistake. The biggest mistake of The Blind is to ignore facts and see only what they wish to see. They aggressively demand Taiwan's economic isolation. The fewer exchanges with the Mainland, the better. The fewer exports to the Mainland, the better. The fewer cross-Strait investments, the better. They would like nothing better than to sever all relations with the Mainland. This kind sort of blind faith in isolationism is of course absurd, ignorant, stupid, and utterly destructive to Taiwan.
Focus only on the risks and one will be blind to the opportunities. In fact, Taiwan has allowed many opportunities accruing from the rise of the Mainland to go to waste. This has been extremely disadvantageous for Taiwan. No country on earth, including Japan and South Korea, can afford to ignore Mainland China's economic rise. No country on earth can afford to adopt an ostrich "head in the sand" attitude and cut itself off from Mainland China. Needless to say, we of all people, should not adopt such an attitude.
The Mainland now boasts an independent supply chain. But within the East Asian supply chain, Taiwan retains a more advantageous position. The quality of our exports still far exceeds those from the Mainland. Of course, every country and every industry in the East Asian supply chain must cope with rising stars hot on their tail. The only way for Taiwan's manufacturing sector to survive is import substitution, to Japan, Europe and the United States.
To achieve import substitution however, one must raise one's technology and quality to new levels. Many manufacturers are doing this. Taiwan has many "stealth leaders" that many have never heard of. Yet their products are among the best in the world. Ask these companies whether they are afraid of the Mainland catching up to them. The vast majority of them will tell you that the world, including Mainland China, have been attempting to catch up. But so far these companies have managed to stay ahead. Taiwan's way out is simple. It must continue cultivating "stealth leaders" within its manufacturing sector.
Another even more promising future involves the Internet economy. The communications revolution has brought many such opportunities. Such opportunities, in a market of 1.3 billion people, are golden. Today's Internet economy is already quite mature. Business giants have already been created. Competing with them now is very difficult. Fortunately the Internet economy remains in the developmental stage. Our young people have the ability to seize the opportunity to start new businesses. Taiwan has the opportunity to use innovation and creativity to build its brands. We should go all out.
Hung Hsiu-chu has endorsed "one China, different interpretations". She has helped the two sides take another step forward, toward one China. Most people on Taiwan do not deny their cultural roots in Mainland China. Hung is helping them face the rise of the Mainland in a rational manner. She is helping them leave their phobias about the Mainland behind. She is establishing an alliance of people who reject Sinophobia. This will enable people on Taiwan to use their resources on Mainland China to enhance Taiwan's industrial competitiveness and future growth.
台灣卻不能跳脫統獨藍綠舊思維與政治動員模式， 繼續在舊戰場惡鬥，造成國力虛耗。 中國大陸與周邊國家不會等待台灣，一旦台灣失去經濟優勢， 沒有尊嚴的統一就會成為不可逃避的命運。這場選舉的重要意義， 在如何藉諸兩黨候選人的辯論， 帶領台灣社會了解世界已經改變的事實，擺脫歷史悲情與冷戰思維， 正確解讀中國大陸、台灣與世界的關係， 客觀評估自己的力量與機會，既不能沉醉在美好的過去， 也不懷憂喪志失去自信，才能為台灣找出正確的出路。
3千億美元，僅次於美國為世界第二。在WTO發布2014年全球 貿易排名，大陸出口總額2兆3千億美元，占全球12.4%， 為世界第一；進口總額1兆9千億美元，占全球10.3%， 為世界第二；貿易總額自2013年超越美國以穩居世界第一。 中國大陸經濟規模愈來愈大，影響力日重， 已是世界經濟不可或缺的參與者。2004年中國已成為重要資本輸 出國，對外投資總額達6140億美元，雖不及美國的6.5兆， 但中國增速遠超過美國，兩國的差距正快速縮小。
眼罩派」，這一派替自己戴上眼罩，所以什麼都沒看到， 腦中記憶還停留在20年前，那時有人提出中國即將崩潰， 讓他們找到了寄託，但是因為現實環境與崩潰差別太大， 只好一直帶著眼罩，維持信念。蔡英文願意接受現狀， 但我們看不出來民進黨在政策上與態度上的改變，基本上還是「 眼罩派」。另外一種反應叫做「投降派」， 認為中國大陸崛起是事實，台灣未來沒有前途，紅色供應鏈崛起， 台灣產品一定會被大陸產品取代，現在做什麼都沒有用， 就等著看大陸愈來愈強，台灣愈來愈弱。
只願意看到自己所希望看到的；他們積極鼓動台灣經濟獨立， 和大陸交往愈少愈好，台灣對大陸出口萎縮愈快愈好， 兩岸投資愈少愈好，最好趕快把台灣和大陸的關係切斷。 這種以鎖國為核心的信仰，當然不可取，無知愚蠢，毒害台灣。
讓機會白白從手中流失，對台灣非常不利。包含日、韓， 世界上幾乎沒有一個國家可以罔顧大陸經濟崛起的事實， 而採取鴕鳥式的封閉和切割。我們當然不應當採取這種態度。
在東亞的供應鏈上，台灣還是相對居於比較先進的地位； 我們出口品的平均精緻度仍然遠超過中國大陸。當然， 在東亞供應鏈上每一個國家、每一個產業都面臨後起之秀的追趕， 台灣製造業唯一能夠生存的方法就是要做進口替代，向日本、歐洲、 美國看齊。
很多廠商正在這樣做。所以台灣有很多「隱形冠軍」， 就是這些廠商很多人都沒聽過， 但是他們的產品在世界上卻是名列前茅。 如果去問這些廠商害不害怕大陸追趕，絕大多數會回答說， 他們早已經歷過包括中國大陸在內世界各國的追趕， 但到現在還保持領先。台灣的出路很簡單，以製造業而言， 就是繼續培養「隱形冠軍」。
而開始布局通路革命所帶來的商機。這個商機放在13億人的市場， 是一個千載難逢的機會。如果今天網路經濟已經非常成熟， 龍頭企業都已經產生，此時要加入競爭就非常困難； 幸好網路經濟還在發展階段， 我們年輕人絕對有能力把握這個機會去創業。以台灣創新、 創意及塑造品牌的能力，應當很有機會，我們應該全力以赴。
為兩岸共同構成一個中國跨前一步， 多數人並不否認自己在文化上與中國的聯結， 現在是她帶領台灣理性面對中國大陸的崛起， 跳脫對中國大陸的恐懼，建立一個「拒絕反中」大聯盟的契機， 讓台灣可以利用中國大陸的資源，提升產業競爭力， 幫台灣未來的發展立下堅實的基礎。