United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
September 26, 2015
Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen has announced that if the DPP returns to power, it will promote a "New Southern Strategy" , improving relations with ASEAN and India. In principle, the pursuit of diplomatic, economic and trade pluralism and decentralization is correct. But Tsai trumpets a New Southern Strategy while saying nothing about how to modify the increasingly important Western Strategy. She is clearly being evasive and not seeing the forest for the trees.
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Tsai Ing-wen has announced that if the DPP returns to power, it will promote a "New Southern Strategy" , improving relations with ASEAN and India. In principle, the pursuit of diplomatic, economic and trade pluralism and decentralization is correct. But Tsai trumpets a New Southern Strategy while saying nothing about how to modify the increasingly important Western Strategy. She is clearly being evasive and not seeing the forest for the trees.
Tsai either does not want to deal with the Mainland, or does not know how to deal with the Mainland. So she turns a blind eye to it and talks instead about a New Southern Strategy, a Lee Teng-hui era "be patient, avoid haste" strategy, and a Chen Shui-bian era "one country on each side" strategy. The only difference is that Tsai Ing-wen has extended the Lee and Chen era strategies further south, to India. This is the sum total of her self-proclaimed New Southern Strategy. Its underlying thinking differs little from the Old Southern Strategy. Both pretend that globalization does not require going west to the Mainland, but only going south to South East Asia and India.
Since the 1990s, the ROC government has attempted to avoid excessive investment on the Mainland. Three times its has promoted a Southern Strategy, encouraging businesses to move to South East Asia. The first time was between 1994 and 1996. The list of destinations Included Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Timor. The second time was between 1997 and 1999, when Australia, New Zealand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia were added to the list. The third time was between 2000 and 2003, when the ROC became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and ASEAN plus Three (Mainland China, Japan and Korea).
The outcome of these three Southern Strategies was clear. They all ended in failure. The first two strategies were implemented during the Lee Teng-hui era. Between 1995 and 1996, small gains were achieved. Taiwan investments in Thailand, Indonesia and Viet Nam increased significantly. Unfortunately, the 1997 Asian financial crisis and anti-Chinese riots in Indonesia resulted in many investors "flying home with broken wings". Taiwan business people now consider the Southern Strategy one rife with hazards.
The third Southern Strategy was a continuation of Lee Teng-hui's policies during the early years of the Chen Shui-bian era. It was part of Chen's hard line "one country on each side", "scorched earth diplomacy". Eventually it lost when the Mainland offered more generous concessions to foreign investors. As a result, Taiwan businesses flocked westward. During Chen's eight years in office, Taiwan's export dependence on the Mainland and Hong Kong increased to 40% from under 20%. This was clear evidence that the Southern Strategy was a dismal failure. In 2002, former Vice President Annette Lu took part in "secret diplomacy". She travelled to Indonesia to purchase natural gas, but encountered one obstacle after another along the way, and could not continue. She even found herself trapped in the Jakarta Airport VIP Lounge, and forbidden to enter the country. Her troubled journey undermined our national image. A former deputy head of state may have set foot in Indonesia. But in the end it amounted to failed diplomacy. The Southern Strategy has led to one fiasco after another. What chance does it have to succeed today?
We have taken the time to recall the Southern Strategy, a three time losing strategy. Our intent is not to pour cold water on the DPP. It is to remind Tsai Ing-wen and any other future leader, not to repeat the same mistake. Taiwan's over-reliance on trade and economic relations with the Mainland must be corrected as soon as possible. We must avoid excessive reliance on others. But correcting current excesses requires more than merely trumpeting a New Southern Strategy. Proper lines must be drawn between diplomacy and trade, ideals and reality, objectives and means. An overall strategy, phased implementation, and cautious execution are essential. Otherwise success is unlikely.
We have three suggestions for Tsai Ing-wen regarding her New Southern Strategy. One. The level of development, size of market, degree of convenience, and degree of safety required for a Southern Strategy and a Western Strategy differ. The two complement rather than compete with each other. Exclusive reliance on a Southern Strategy is inadequate for Taiwan's economic development. Two. Trade and diplomacy are two interlocking matters. The former relies on bold creativity. The latter relies on judicious execution. When implementing a Southern Strategy, both are indispensable. The scorched earth diplomacy and head-butting that characterized the Chen era is certain to fail in South Eeast Asia and India. Taiwan is no match for the Mainland when it comes to diplomatic offensives. Consider the embarrassment endured by Annette Lu in Indonesia. Three. Over the past several years, Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP have been inciting anti-Mainland hatred. They must cool such sentiment before they reaching a proper compromise between a Western Strategy and a Southern Strategy. Only then can Taiwan businesses participate in Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank activities and the construction of the One Belt, One Road, These are intimately related to any Southern Strategy.
When the public on Taiwan hears someone blowing the horn a fourth time for a Southern Strategy, it is likely to react with scepticism. We can only hope that a few years from now, the Western Strategy and Southern Strategy have not both failed.
強化對東協及印度的多元夥伴關係。理論上，外交、 經貿追求多元與分散，當然是正確的作法；然而， 就國家整體戰略和實務看，高談新「南向」支線的開展， 卻避談積重日深的「西向」主軸要如何因應調整， 則顯然是避重就輕，察秋毫而不見輿薪。
南向」，「戒急用忍」時代的李登輝如此，「一邊一國」 的陳水扁如此，今天的蔡英文也只能跟進。唯一不同的是， 蔡英文把原來李、扁時代僅南望東南亞的「南向」， 又推向更遠一點的印度；因此，她自命這就是「新南向」政策。 但就思維本質而論，新南向和舊南向其實沒有太大差別， 因為他們都假裝自己的全球化地圖上沒有西邊的中國大陸， 只有南邊的亞洲。
我國政府為了防止台商對外投資過度集中在大陸，先後推動過三次「 南向政策」，鼓勵企業前進東南亞。第一次是在一九九四到九六年， 將泰、馬、印、菲、星、越、汶等七國列為對象； 第二次在一九九七至九九年，加入了澳、紐、寮、緬、柬五國； 第三次則在二○○○到二○○三年，因應我國加入世貿組織（ ＷＴＯ）及「東協加三（中日韓）」的形成，再度強調南向。
其中前兩次在李登輝任內，在九五到九六年間曾經略有斬獲， 台商投資泰國、印尼、越南三國的比重明顯增加；遺憾的是， 遇到九七年亞洲金融風暴及九八年印尼排華事件的摧折， 許多投資人鎩羽而歸，台商自此便視南向為畏途。
旨在支撐其「一邊一國」、「烽火外交」的強硬外交路線。然而， 這也終於不敵中國大陸加速開放及提高外資優惠的磁吸效應， 台商遂絡繹踏上了西進之路。陳水扁任內八年， 台灣對陸港的出口依存度從原先的不到兩成提高到四成， 正是南向失敗的鐵證。其間，前副總統呂秀蓮二○○ 二年還上演了一次出入印尼的「祕密外交」， 以購買印尼天然氣為由出訪，但沿途一路受阻，不知何以為繼， 甚至一度受困於雅加達機場貴賓室內不得入境。 如此犧牲形象的困頓之旅，儘管副元首踏上了印尼， 終究不過是一場失敗的外交衝撞，「南向」 政策演成這樣的奇襲戲碼，如何能有所成？
目的不是在潑民進黨的冷水， 而是要提醒蔡英文或其他未來的國家領導人不要再重蹈類似覆轍。 目前，台灣的經貿過度依賴中國大陸市場的現象， 必須儘快設法調整矯正，以免越陷越深以致生存命脈操之於人。 然而，要調整及矯治目前的偏倚，若只是天馬行空地喊出「新南向」 ，卻不能在外交與經貿、理想與現實、目標與手段之間妥善拿捏， 進行有謀略、有步驟的落子布局，並謹慎據以執行， 恐怕很難達到預期的效果。
基於發展程度、市場規模、便利性及安全性的差異，「南向」和「 西進」是兩條互補的路線，而不是平行或彼此替代的政策；畢竟， 光靠南向，無法填補台灣經濟發展所需的動力。第二， 經貿和外交是兩個環環相扣的工作，前者靠的是勇敢開創， 後者靠的謹慎從事；在南向拓展中，兩者均不可或缺。 如果仍存有扁政府時代的烽火或衝撞心態， 在東南亞及印度勢必碰壁，因為你敵不過中共的外交攻勢。 看呂秀蓮在印尼碰壁的窘狀即可想知。第三， 蔡英文和民進黨這兩年挑起的「反中」、「仇中」 氛圍必須先設法降溫，才有可能在「西進」和「南向」 之間取得更佳的戰略平衡。包括如何參與「亞投行」的活動， 如何設法在「一帶一路」的建設中爭取到台灣企業可以參與的機會， 其實都和「南向」息息相關，無可逃避。