Tsai Ing-wen, Listen to Kin Moy
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 1, 2016
Executive Summary: Everyone knows Tsai Ing-wen is reluctant to accept the 1992 Consensus. But no one knows exactly why she is refusing to accept it. The United States acknowledges that today's cross-Strait achievements are based on the 1992 Consensus. Can Tsai Ing-wen truly afford to ignore AIT Director Kin Moy? Can she truly afford to ignore what he was polite enough not to spell out?
Full Text Below:
On Januar 20, Tsai Ing-wen posted an article in the Liberty Times entitled, "The Historical Facts behind 1992: Promoting Cross-Strait Relations". On January 27, Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang repeated 13 times that Beijing "remains firm on the 1992 Consensus". More recently, on February 24, Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman An Fengshan repeated 16 times that Beijing "remains firm on the 1992 consensus". As Ma and An have made clear, the 1992 Consensus is the “magic talisman” in cross-Strait relations.
This makes it clear that the conflict between Tsai Ing-wen and Beijing over the 1992 Consensus remains unresolved.
On February 4, American Institute in Taiwan Taipei Office Director Kin Moy told UDN TV News that everyone's attention is focused on the 1992 Consensus. His message can be summarized as follows.
One. He praised the Ma government's eight year long promotion of cross-Strait exchanges for reducing tensions in the Taiwan Strait. He affirmed the Tsai government's pledge “to ensure the continuance of current exchanges, and to maintain constructive cross-Strait dialogue".
Two. Moy said the United States has taken note of the important role the 1992 Consensus has played in cross-Strait exchanges over the past eight years under President Ma. He affirmed President Ma's contribution to cross-Strait exchanges, and the reduction of tensions in the Taiwan Strait, based on the 1992 Consensus. Kin Moy acknowledged the causal relationship between the 1992 consensus and Ma's cross-Strait policy achievements. He acknowledged that Ma's achievements were the practical result of the 1992 Consensus.
Three. Kin Moy said the US has not taken any position on the 1992 Consensus in the past, but it believes that the 1992 Consensus has been the basis for cross-Strait dialogue over the past eight years. He reaffirmed yet again the role of the 1992 Consensus as the basis for cross-Strait dialogue.
Four. Kin Moy Mei stressed that the US took no position on the basis for cross-Strait dialogue. He said the basis for cross-Strait exchanges should be determined jointly by the leaders and people from the two sides.
Let us sum up Kin Moy's remarks. One. He acknowledged the Ma government's cross-Strait policy achievements. He hoped that the Tsai government would maintain current exchanges. Two. He acknowledged the causal relationship between the Ma government's cross-Strait policy achievements and the 1992 Consensus. He acknowledged that the 1992 Consensus has been the basis for cross-Strait dialogue over the past eight years. In other words, he affirmed the status quo in cross-Strait relations, and the 1992 Consensus as the basis for cross-Strait dialogue over the past eight years. Three. He also said that the US took no position on the basis for cross-Strait dialogue. In other words, the 1992 Consensus is the basis for dialogue established by the Ma administration and Beijing. The US does not take a position on that. But it affirms and admires the cross-Strait policy results. The US takes no position on the basis by which the Tsai government and Beijing establish dialogue. It hopes however, that the Tsai government will continue current exchanges.
To sum up Kin Moy's remarks, the United States affirms the Ma government's cross-Strait policy achievements rooted in the 1992 Consensus. It hopes the Tsai government will continue current exchanges. Should Tsai Ing-wen accept the 1992 Consensus as a basis for dialogue? The United States takes no position. As a matter of courtesy, it respects the Tsai government's policy decisions.
Moy put the ball in Tsai Ing-wen's court. Tsai now faces a dilemma. She wants to continue benefiting from Ma Ying-jeou's cross-Strait policy achievements, which are based on the 1992 Consensus. As she put it, she wants to “maintain the status quo in cross-Strait relations”. But at the same time, she refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus. Alas, Beijing insists on the 1992 Consensus. On this, it is immovable as bedrock. Tsai Ing-wen must ask herself whether Taiwan can withstand the political and economic consequences of her refusal? Kin Moy understands Beijing's position. Is he offering Tsai Ing-wen a word to the wise?
Tsai Ing-wen must pay attention. The United States hopes that the Tsai government will maintain the cross-Strait status quo established by Ma government, based on the 1992 Consensus. Suppose Tsai Ing-wen refuses to accept the 1992 Consensus and fails to maintain the status quo? Will the United States apply behind the scenes pressure forcing Tsai Ing-wen to accept the 1992 Consensus? If so, will the courtesy afforded Tsai Ing-wen with these kind words, become a thing of the past?
Everyone knows Tsai Ing-wen is reluctant to accept the 1992 Consensus. But no one knows exactly why she is refusing to accept it. The United States acknowledges that today's cross-Strait achievements are based on the 1992 Consensus. Can Tsai Ing-wen truly afford to ignore Kin Moy? Can she truly afford to ignore what he was polite enough not to spell out?