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PRC begins squeezing KMT, Taiwan 'lemons'

PRC begins squeezing KMT, Taiwan 'lemons'

The debacle of the third set of talks between Taiwan's quasi-official Strait Exchange Foundation and the authoritarian People's Republic of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits in Nanjing has sent a message to the Kuomintang government under President Ma Ying-jeou and the Taiwan people that "squeeze time" is approaching.
The talks began last Saturday with an unseemly embrace by SEF Chairman and KMT vice chairman Chiang Ping-kun of ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin, but the real atmosphere was actually set by the purposeful "coincidence" of the SEF-ARATS talks, held in Nanjing at Beijing's suggestion, of massive celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the former Republic of China capital by the Chinese Communist Party's People's Liberation Army on April 22, 1949.
Although downplayed by pro-KMT media, this transparent political humiliation was followed by a diplomatically cordial drubbing by the Beijing side.
For example, ARATS turned down various requests by the SEF side, such as Taipei's plea to increase the flights for Taiwan airlines in "golden routes" such as between Taipei and Shanghai and instead graciously expanded flights between Taipei and "hot spots" like Nanchang and Hefei instead and added northward routes that passed only through PRC air control zones to emphasize the "domestic" character of cross-strait air routes.
Moreover, in response to the KMT government's urgency to initiate talks on a cross-strait economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), the Beijing side excluded the ECFA from discussion for the fourth Chiang-Chen "negotiations," evidently pending the offer of further concessions by the Taipei side.
Last but not least, the PRC side showed that it treated the SEF-ARATS talks as "normal negotiations" by leaking a draft but unsigned set of agreements to the official Xinhua News Agency and thus forcing the Taiwan negotiators to sign Beijing's version or threaten not to sign the agreements, a risk that the KMT side lacked the political courage to take.
As noted in a previous editorial, the underlying strategy of the CCP toward the KMT is reminiscent of the declaration made by the late Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin on April 5, 1927 in the midst of the Chinese "national revolution" that Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT "have to be utilized to the end, squeezed out like a lemon, and then flung away."
Remiss in their grasp of the twists and turns of the history of KMT-CCP encounters during the past 80 years, Ma and the KMT leadership have failed to realize that the CCP, now at the helm of a powerful "rising China," desire not "reconciliation" but intend to "utilize to the end" the KMT to control "Taiwan independence forces" and "fling it away" once Taiwan is firmly "locked" in the PRC's embrace as a dependency.
The record of the Nanjing talks hints that the timetable for the squeezing process is being stepped up.
People's ratification
Virtually the only course left to Ma besides complete capitulation to Beijing's will is to cease the dominant role of the secretive CCP-KMT "party-to-party" platform controlled by PRC State Chairman and CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao and put cross-strait negotiations back under the full control of Taiwan's democratically elected government.
Ma should use our democratic system as a "shield" by engaging in multi-partisan consensus formation on negotiation priorities and strategies and by submitting all agreements to substantial review and approval by the Legislative Yuan or ratification by national citizen referendum.
The question now faced by Taiwan's 23 million people is what to do in the likely case that Ma and the KMT camp refuse to wake up or willingly participate in the CCP's squeezing of Taiwan's sovereignty and democracy.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party has worked to expose the lack of democratic legitimacy of the SEF-ARATS "negotiations" and highlight the fact that their results will not benefit the majority of the Taiwan people and will undermine our long-term economic prosperity and autonomy.
But the DPP needs to offer a concrete strategy for what the Taiwan people can do besides just participating in marches to "protect Taiwan" and "defend jobs." For example, the DPP could appeal to majority support in Taiwan and uphold the primacy of our democratic system by launching bottom-up referendum initiatives on the proposed ECFA and the SEF-ARATS pacts.
Moreover, the DPP should stress that any future Taiwan-centric government would see the signed agreements or declarations as having only "provisional" validity pending substantive legislative review and passage and, in cases where Taiwan's sovereignty is affected, ratification by national citizen referendum.
Democratic procedural justice and a resolute affirmation of the right of the 23 million Taiwan people to make the final decision on matters gravely impinging on our future offers the most legitimate grounds to defend the integrity of Taiwan's democracy and political and economic autonomy in accord with Article One of the newly ratified International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights which grants "all peoples" the right of democratic self-determination.