United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 25, 2015
Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen must not delude herself. She must not imagine that vague language can gloss over substantive differences. Confidence in a person can only be established through personal integrity, within and without. Tsai Ing-wen's refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus implies outer toughness. Her three principles betray inner weakness. Tsai Ing-wen must acknowledge the contradiction between her character and policy. Do not allow others to paint you into a corner, where Beijing can get a handle on you. Do not allow the defects in your character to determine your destiny.
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Tsai Ing-wen has vowed that when talking to business leaders, she will abide by “three principles”. She will “communicate, avoid provocation, and avoid surprises". She will maintain stable cross-Strait relations, with and emphasis on "maintaining the status quo". But she refuses to mention the 1992 Consensus. She refuses to say whether she recognizes the 1992 Consensus.
This will probably be Tsai's final word on cross-Strait policy before election day. Nevertheless it contains a major contradiction. Tsai Ing-wen has promised to “communicate, avoid provocations, and avoid surprises". Her tone has been soft. Her profile has been low key. Her promises ooze “good faith”. They hold out great hope. But if she refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus, how can she communicate? How can her obstinacy not be construed as provocation? How can she avoid surprises? How will her stance not be construed as “undermining the status quo"? Tsai Ing-wen offers no explanations.
Tsai Ing-wen's three principles are self-contradictory in terms of policy. Closer examination reveals them to be self-contradictory at rhetorically as well. Her three principles are soft line rhetorical cover for hard line rejection of the 1992 Consensus. Is this a case of carrot and stick? Or is this a case of tough on the outside, weak on the inside? Will soft prevail over hard? Or will hard prevail over soft? Better yet, why is she engaged in high stakes gambling with national policy? Is she truly oblivious to the dangerous?
Tsai Ing-wen is waffling on the 1992 Consensus. Flip-flopping and evasion for her is a habit. She began by categorically denying the existence of the 1992 Consensus. She later "objected to the 1992 Consensus being turned into a label". In doing so, she essentially conceded the existence of the 1992 Consensus. Later she avoided mention of the 1992 Consensus altogether. Actually the 1992 Consensus is merely a corollary of "constitutional one China”, “one country, two regions”, and “one country, different interpretations”. Tsai Ing-wen has vowed to “conduct cross-Strait exchanges under the current Republic of China constitutional framework”. If so, what justification can she possibly offer for refusing to recognize the 1992 Consensus?
Tsai Ing-wen's stance on the 1992 Consensus is riddled with contradictions. One. She has yet to comment on the 1992 Consensus. She has yet to say whether the 1992 Consensus is consistent with the “ROC constitutional framework".
Two. She has yet to specify the content of the 1992 Consensus, as she understands the term. She has yet to say whether she supports the "one China, different interpretations" provision within the 1992 Consensus. She has yet to provide any justification for her refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus.
Her refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus is undoubtedly Tsai Ing-wen's most important and controversial political stance. It is a stance that affects the fate of the nation. Recognizing the 1992 Consensus enables one to maintain the cross-Strait status quo. Refusing to recognize the 1992 Consensus undermines the cross-Strait status quo. Can Tsai Ing-wen explain why she refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus? Tsai Ing-wen, what are you hiding from us?
Tsai Ing-wen announced her three principles in a low keyed, ever so humble manner, in order to peddle her “communicate, avoid provocations, and avoid surprises" line. Tsai Ing-wen sees the conflict over the 1992 Consensus as a battle between two sock puppets, one on her right hand, and one on her left hand. Her self-contradictory character is about to determine her political destiny.
Compare and contrast Tsai Ing-wen's approach to cross-Strait power struggle, against that of three other Taiwan independence leaders: Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian and Ko Wen-je. Lee is brazen. Chen is corrupt. Ko is smarmy. All three have sprung unwelcome political surprises. Their record is clear for all to see. It is not in dispute. Tsai Ing-wen, by contrast, is the most bookish, and the thinnest skinned of the group. If she springs a surprise, and precipitates a catastrophe, the price paid may turn out to be the highest of all. Lee is ruthless. Chen is manic. Ko is shifty. None of them has any problem flip-flopping on cue. Tsai Ing-wen, by contrast, is neither thick-skinned enough, nor manic enough, nor shifty enough to do the same. If she flip-flops, the price paid may be far higher. Besides, the Taiwan independence movement has already tried these approaches against Beijing. Lee, Chen, and Ko have tried different approaches. These approaches include the two-states theory, one country on each side, the rectification of names and authoring of a new constitution, and the 2015 new perspective. Tsai Ing-wen cannot adopt the same brazen, corrupt, smarmy approach that Lee, Chen, and Ko did. That is not in the cards for her. Tsai Ing-wen cannot possibly adopt the same approach as Lee, Chen, and Ko. The Lee Chen approach failed. Ko is busy playing word games.
Moreover, Lee started out with the National Unification Guidelines. When he fell from favor, he moved toward Taiwan independence. Chen started out with the "five noes". When corruption left him exposed, he invoked “one country on each side”. Tsai Ing-wen, by contrast, is starting out by refusing to recognize the 1992 Consensus, even as she promises to “communicate, avoid provocations, and avoid surprises". She has made this the focus of her cross-Strait policy platform. Hasn't she chosen the wrong battlefield?
Tsai Ing-wen's rhetoric is characterized by flip-flopping and evasion. The ebb and flow of world events has compelled Tsai Ing-wen to soft sell her three principles before election day. But the political mirage created by the Sunflower Student Movement has allowed Tsai Ing-wen to hide behind "public opinion” and “democracy", and drag her feet on recognizing the 1992 Consensus. Such flip-flopping and evasion may be possible for an opposition chairman and presidential candidate. But if she becomes president of the Republic of China, she will no longer be able to flip-flop with such facility. She will no longer be able to evade harsh reality.
Tsai Ing-wen may well become president of the Republic of China. If so, she will not benefit from Lee Teng-hui's "National Unification Guidelines". She will not be able to use Chen Shui-bian's "five noes" as buffer. She will not be able to scratch her head the way Ko Wen-je does to cover his embarrassment. Her repeated flip-flopping and evasion will not enable her to perform an end run around the 1992 Consensus. If she flat out refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus, and rejects Beijing's goodwill, her “bet the farm” gamble will leave her penniless.
Tsai Ing-wen must not delude herself. She must not imagine that vague language can gloss over substantive differences. Confidence in a person can only be established through personal integrity, within and without. Tsai Ing-wen's refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus implies outer toughness. Her three principles betray inner weakness. Tsai Ing-wen must acknowledge the contradiction between her character and policy. Do not allow others to paint you into a corner, where Beijing can get a handle on you. Do not allow the defects in your character to determine your destiny.
三原則，來維持兩岸關係的穩定，主軸是「維持現狀」。 但她仍避諱提到「九二共識」四個字， 更未說她究竟接不接受九二共識。
蔡英文說「溝通／不挑釁／不會有意外」，語調很柔、很軟、很低、 很有善意，很有想像空間；但是，她如果拒不接受九二共識， 將如何溝通？算不算挑釁？會不會製造意外？又算不算摧毀了「 現狀」？蔡英文對這些均無解釋。
也是蔡英文論述上的矛盾。她似乎想以「三原則」的軟一手， 來支撐其「不接受九二共識」的硬一手。這是剛柔相濟？ 還是色厲內荏？最後，將是她的軟一手撐住了硬一手？ 或是硬一手壓垮了軟一手？問題是：國政若陷於此種賭局， 何其凶險？
充分顯示其反覆與閃躲的論述特質。她起初根本否認有「九二共識」 ，後來又說「反對九二共識標籤化」，算是承認了「九二共識」， 但後來又執意閃爍、遁避。其實，九二共識正是「憲法一中／ 一國兩區／一中各表」，蔡英文既稱「在現行中華民國憲政體制下， 推動兩岸關係」，則何以竟反對「九二共識」？
迄今她未對九二共識下過註解，也未說過九二共識是否符合「 中華民國憲政體制」？亦未說過她是否支持九二共識的「一中各表」 ？二、她不說她所認知的「九二共識」是何內涵，所以， 她亦迄未說過她不接受九二共識的理由究竟何在？
最具爭議性及最與國家未來禍福攸關的政策立場。接受「九二共識」 四字，即可能維持住兩岸一切現狀；否定「九二共識」四字， 即可能傾覆兩岸一切現狀。 蔡英文難道可以堅拒說明她何以否定九二共識的理由嗎？蔡英文， 妳在閃躲什麼？
不易溝通／分明挑釁／意外爆表」的政策立場。面對「九二共識」 這場惡鬥，蔡英文若竟看成只是她左手打右手的戰爭， 即形同將其政治命運交給了她自我矛盾的性格。
陳水扁及柯文哲三名獨派領袖對照。在人格特質上，李厚、扁黑、 柯皮；三人在政治上製造「意外」，皆如翻書之易， 見者亦視為當然。但蔡英文的書卷氣最重，臉皮最薄，她若製造「 意外」，付出的代價可能更大。在性格特徵上，李狠、扁狂、柯賴， 三人的反覆易如反掌。但蔡英文狠不夠厚、狂不夠黑、賴不夠皮， 則若執政出現重大反覆，付出的代價也可能更大。再者， 獨派與北京的角力手法，李扁柯三人皆已試過， 將種種路徑如兩國論、一邊一國、正名制憲、一五新觀點等皆走完， 蔡英文勢無可能走三人「狠／狂／賴」之路，而她的性格與風格， 也不可能走三人之路。蔡英文不可自比李扁柯， 且李扁路線已經失敗，柯則在打迷糊仗。
四不一沒有」開張，至施政失敗才操弄一邊一國。 蔡英文如今正在起步，卻以「否定九二共識」這「溝通不易／ 分明挑釁／意外爆表」的議題為二○一六的兩岸焦點； 這是不是選錯了戰場？
使蔡英文在選前說出「三原則」的軟話；但太陽花製造的政治幻覺， 又使蔡英文躲在「民意／民主」的背後，迄未接受「九二共識」。 這種反覆與閃躲，作為在野黨主席及總統候選人，或可見仁見智； 但若成為中華民國總統，則豈能輕易反覆，且亦躲無可躲。
沒有陳水扁「四不一沒有」的緩衝， 也不可能如柯文哲用搔首撓耳來應付尷尬。她的反覆及閃躲， 不可能平順處理九二共識，而若將「終結九二共識」 完全祈諸北京的善意，那將是一場「一著失手／滿盤皆輸」的賭局。
重要的是要在內外建立可以信任的人格。「否定九二共識」是色厲， 「三原則」是內荏。蔡英文必須警覺此種在政策上與性格上的矛盾。 勿授人以柄致為北京所乘，也勿使自己的作風誤了自己的命運。