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Olympic flap is Taiwan's fly trap

Olympic flap is Taiwan's fly trap

The news that China's state-owned media had changed its tune and finally returned to referring to the Taiwan Olympic team under its mandated name of "Chinese Taipei" was welcomed by President Ma Ying-jeou and other officials of the right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government as a sign of "goodwill" from Beijing.
The reversal restores compliance by the Chinese Communist Party-ruled People's Republic of China government with a pact between Taipei and Beijing in Hong Kong in 1989 requiring all Olympic publicity materials and broadcasts use the term "Zhonghua Taipei" ("Chinese Taipei"), as mandated by the International Olympic Committee, and not "Zhongguo Taipei," the equivalent of "Taipei, China."
The recent widespread use of "Zhongguo Taipei" by the PRC state-controlled media and the Beijing Olympic Committee was angrily protested by Taiwan political and sporting circles as a further denigration of Taiwan.
After the PRC Taiwan Affairs Office announced Friday that it would respect the Hong Kong agreement, Ma and other KMT officials joined in a chorus of praise for the "show of goodwill" and KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung withdrew an implied threat not to attend the August 8 opening ceremony in Beijing.
In fact, as noted by DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, Beijing's action Friday was merely the correction of past wrong-doing and could not be seen as a sign of "goodwill," which would be better communicated by allowing us to use the name of "Taiwan."
Moreover, the way in which this flap was "resolved" exposed worrisome strategic risks for Taiwan.
First, the flap was "settled" through secret negotiations conducted by KMT Spokesman Lee Chien-jung, a close associate of former KMT chairman Lien Chan, through the KMT-CCP "party-to-party dialogue" platform, evidently behind the backs of both National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Chairwoman Tai Hsia-ling and Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan.
Unless authorized in advance by the MAC, Lee's actions reflect the creeping domination of the functions of Taiwan's democratically elected government, including the management of external affairs, by the KMT itself.
"Conflicts of interest"
Even if Lee did receive secret authorization, the fact that the KMT and not the authorized Strait Exchange Foundation played the key role in the resolution of this flap reflects a dangerous and anti-democratic concession by the elected government and casts open the door to major "conflicts of interest" given the lack of political transparency and legislative regulation or oversight over KMT-CCP interactions.
Second, the prominence of the KMT-CCP platform, as shown by the agreements reached by PRC State Chairman and CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao and KMT Chairman Wo Po-hsiung in late May and Lee's resolution of the Olympic moniker flap, confirms that the party to party platform is now the genuine "Track One" in the cross-strait relationship.
The KMT-CCP dialogue served as a "track two" mechanism when the KMT was in opposition, but since Ma and the KMT took power May 20 and agreed to accept the "Consensus of 1992," which Beijing has declared is equivalent to its "one China principle," there have been no political hindrances between the two governments.
Therefore, the legally authorized and regulated channel between of Taipei's Straits Exchange Foundation and Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait should be the sole platform for bilateral talks on all issues.
However, Beijing's provision of "results" to the Hu-Wu talks and Lee's mission aim to show that the KMT-CCP party-to-party platform is the genuine "Track One" in cross-strait relations.
In line with the current practice of the PRC and the past of the KMT party-state, the two parties will make the important policy decisions and the two governments, through the SEF and ARATS, will executive the details.
The result will be the denigration of Taiwan's democratically elected government to a subordinate position under both the KMT and CCP parties.
Third, flush with the excitement of the apparent rapprochement, the KMT leadership may be blind to the risk to itself from the CCP's habitual use of "divide and conquer" tactics.
While the CCP is transparently manipulating the KMT into undermining Taiwan's democracy under the pretext of "suppressing Taiwan independence forces" and "bilateralizing" the "Taiwan issue," the CCP is also busy driving a wedge between Ma and the KMT party heavyweights and preparing the KMT itself to be the next "lemon" slated for squeezing.
Continuing to play by Beijing's rules will inevitably undermine the foundations for Taiwan's democracy as all the major decisions will take place beyond the scope Taiwan's people and pave the way for the reduction of Taiwan's democratic state into a PRC"special administrative region" even if the "Republic of China" signboard remains.
The only remedy is for the Taiwan people to demand the exclusion of the KMT party from cross-strait talks which must be conducted only by our elected government and by mandating that the 23 million people of Taiwan have the right to ratify or reject all major cross-strait pacts.