FAPA Expresses Dismay At Upcoming Ma Ying-jeou –Xi Jinping Meeting In Singapore

The Formosan Association for Public Affairs – a Taiwanese-American grassroots organization based in Washington DC – wants to express it deep concern about the sudden announcement that Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in Singapore on Saturday, November 7th 2015.

The fact that the plans for the meeting were kept under wraps until the last minute is symptomatic for the undemocratic “black box” approach the Ma government has been following during the past years.  This lack in transparency in governance was already evident when the Ma government tried to push through the ill-fated Service Trade Agreement in March 2014, and the changes in history textbooks earlier in 2015.  In both cases, the matters led to large-scale protests.

The short notice for this meeting also flies in the face of the “No surprises” approach President Ma promised  – in particular vis-à-vis the United States – when conducting policy on cross-Strait issues.  However, his announcement that on November 7th he will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Singapore is one very big surprise.

What are the main drivers prompting this move by Mr. Ma:

1. He is trying to salvage his legacy.  As his standing in the polls is way down, he feels he wants to do something drastic to burnish his image.  He is generally considered a down-and-out has-been politician.  Very few people outside his own little circle believe him anymore.

2. He is trying to turn the tide in the Taiwan presidential elections, where the Kuomintang with candidate Eric Chu is still way behind in the opinion polls.  Mr. Chu’s manipulation of the ouster of the KMT’s previous candidate Ms. Hung Hsiu-chu didn’t earn him much credit, and that his poll numbers have stayed at around the same level as Ms. Hung.

3. He wants to pin Dr. Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP down on the cross-Strait issue, and restrict her future room for maneuver by concluding/agreeing with Xi Jinping that cross-Strait “stability” cannot be guaranteed unless Dr. Tsai agrees to embrace the 1992 Consensus.

Many in Taiwan see the “1992 Consensus” as a slippery slope towards unification.  They want to keep all options open for Taiwan, and want the Taiwanese people to have a free and open decision on their future.

In FAPA’s view, the present “peace and stability” is only artificial, as it is predicated on the fact that Ma Ying-jeou has given the PRC the impression that Taiwan is inexorably drifting in its direction.  As is very clear from opinion polls, that is simply not the case: the Taiwanese people prefer their democracy and freedom.

FAPA believes that:

1. The timing and the way this meeting came about is not conducive to a balanced and responsible debate in Taiwan on future relations with China.  With his approach, Mr. Ma is attempting to preempt a DPP government that will be elected in January 2016 from exploring directions that will provide better safeguards for Taiwan’s future as a free and democratic nation.

2. It is inappropriate for a lame duck president to engage in such a meeting only two months before the January presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan.  There is obviously no consensus in Taiwan yet on how to move forward on cross-Strait relations.  And Mr. Ma does not have any mandate: to the contrary, his pro-China policies have been soundly rejected in both the November 2014 elections and in recent opinion polls.

3. A truly fruitful and productive meeting between the leaders from the two sides can only be held in due time, after Taiwan itself has reached a broad consensus on future cross-Strait relations in a transparent and open political process.

 

台灣人公共事務會對馬習會的召開表示遺憾

台灣人公共事務會是一個設立於美國華府的台美人草根組織。昨日,各界在事前毫無所悉的情況下,得知馬習會將於本週六於新加坡召開,本會對馬政府這樣處理方式感到遺憾。

反民主的黑箱作業一直是馬政府的常用手法。國人對於將於本週六召開的馬習會毫無所悉,遲至昨日才因媒體的揭露而曝光,這種欠缺透明的決策一再的出現,包含2014年馬政府與中國所簽訂的服務貿易協定,2015年歷史科課綱的修正,這也引起民間一次次大規模的抗爭。

這次會議的臨時通知,違背馬英九總統一直以來承諾在兩岸議題上他將採行「零驚喜」的路線,特別是他對美國的承諾。然而,馬這次將與習近平見面的消息,卻是給了大家十足的意外。

促使馬總統參與這次會面的動機有以下幾點:

1. 他正嘗試挽救他的歷史定位。在過去這段時間,馬的民調數字持續低迷,他早已被大眾認為是一位出局且過時的政客。除了極少數他身邊的人仍持續支持他外,多數人早已對他沒有期待與信任。因此,馬透過這次的會面,重新贏回他的支持度。

2. 他希望翻轉國民黨的選情。國民黨以民調等理由撤換總統參選人洪秀柱,但在朱立倫參選後,他的民調與洪秀柱相比並沒有太大的差異。透過這次的會面,馬希望改變國民黨總統候選人朱立倫落後的選情。

3. 馬希望透過這次的會面,限制蔡英文與民進黨未來在兩岸議題的操作空間。這將使蔡英文若要主張兩岸的穩定,則必須被迫接受九二共識的框架。

許多人已認識到九二共識將開啟統一的斜坡。人們相信,應該為台灣人保留所有的選項,也讓台灣人民能自由且公開的選擇他們的未來。

本會認為,當前的「和平與穩定」是建構在虛構的基礎上,馬政府錯誤讓中國政府認為台灣人民希望往統一的方向前進。然而,透過各種民調數字,我們可以很清楚知道,台灣人民所真正在意與追求的,是台灣的民主與自由。

因此,本會認為:

1.本次見面的時機與方式,不能充分且平衡的傳達台灣人對兩岸關係未來的想法。馬英九在這種情況與習近平下見面,將阻礙明年可能上台的民進黨政府為台灣未來的民主與自由找尋一條更有保障道路的可能。

2.距離下屆總統與立委選舉已不到兩個月的時間,馬作為一位跛鴨總統,實已不適合進行這次的會面。當前台灣很清楚的狀況是,台灣內部仍未形塑出未來兩岸關係的共識。又參照國民黨去年九合一選舉的大敗與近來低迷的民調數字,也顯示馬英九總統傾中的路線早已不被多數台灣人所接受,馬總統此時的出席已不能取得全民的授權。

3. 一個真正能有成果且具建設性的雙邊會談的舉行,必須在台灣內部已就兩岸未來的關係,以公開且透明的方式形塑出共識為前提。

(November 4, 2015) FAPA Expresses Dismay At Upcoming Ma Ying-jeou – Xi Jinping Meeting In Singapore / 台灣人公共事務會對馬習會的召開表示遺憾