英文

Editorial : Tsai's star is rising

【明報專訊】THE lead-up to the Taiwanese presidential election in January 2020 is entering a white-hot state. The Kuomintang (KMT) is to announce today (July 8) the results of the opinion polls for the primary. No matter whether it is Han Kuo-yu or Terry Gou that emerges victorious, the KMT will find that the best moment to create momentum is already lost, as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been approaching the race with perfect composure.

 In the "nine-in-one" elections in November last year, the DPP suffered a crushing defeat thanks to economic issues and pension reform. No one could have expected that just half a year later the situation would be completely reversed. The full deterioration of Sino-US relations aside, the speech made by Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, in January also played a part. In the speech, Xi defined the "1992 Consensus" as the "peaceful unification" and "One country, two systems" and suggested "the exploration of a proposal for 'two systems' for Taiwan". Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan from the DPP who has long rejected the "1992 Consensus", skilfully exploited the anxiety of the people and equated the "1992 Consensus" with "One country, two systems", browbeating the KMT, which has been supportive of the "1992 Consensus", into stating its stance openly. By doing so the DPP has gained the upper hand over the KMT. The outbreak of protests against the amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance in Hong Kong has even allowed Tsai to complete her political discourse on the "defence of Taiwan's sovereignty".

 What is pathetic is that the DPP's "anti-China" card has become the dominant theme of the election. From presidential candidates such as Han and Gou to the party's chairman Wu Den-yih, people from the KMT have had no choice but to follow the lead of the DPP in rejecting "One country, two systems". Tsai has equated the "1992 Consensus" with "One country, two systems". In contrast, the KMT is rejecting both the unification and China, but at the same time continues to support the "1992 Consensus". That makes the KMT look like someone with a split personality. Even if the KMT abandons the "1992 Consensus", the DPP will not let it have its way, and the KMT will risk a complete breakdown in its relations with the Communist Party.

 The DPP has also fought its own battles very swiftly. It concluded its primary in mid-June, with Tsai beating Lai Ching-te, the former Premier of the Republic of China, overwhelmingly. That allowed the party to regain cohesion and unity rapidly in preparation for the presidential election in 2020. The KMT's primary, in contrast, looks like a long and sluggish saga. First Gou announced his candidacy out of the blue. Then Han expressed hesitation in joining the primary. Finally, Wang Jin-pyng withdrew his campaign. Different factions within the party scheme against each other. Opinion polls conducted in Kaohsiung prior to the primary show that if Gou is nominated, 38 percent of Han's supporters will not cast their votes, showing how deep the divisions are within the party. The fall of the KMT translates into the rise of Tsai, whose approval rating was once lower than almost every prominent candidate from the KMT but is now ahead of all her adversaries. All opinion polls conducted recently show that the campaign is hers to lose no matter whether she faces Han or Gou.

 Recently the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) of the US published a report on a closed-door meeting. According to the report, attendees of the meeting from the Chinese government said that if the DPP remained in power in 2020, it could actually speed up the unification of mainland China and Taiwan. This is in line with the views of observers from the outside — that "a hasty attempt to seek independence will hasten unification". If a DPP free from any constraints acts recklessly, the 2020 election can be the straw that breaks the camel's back, ruining the relations between both sides of the strait.

明報社評2019.07.08:蔡英文撿槍拾炮 國民黨進退失據

台灣2020年1月的總統大選選戰開始進入白熱化階段,國民黨將於今日(8日)公布初選民調結果,無論勝出的是韓國瑜還是郭台銘,面對好整以暇的民進黨,國民黨已失先機。

 去年11月的台灣「九合一」選舉,民進黨因經濟議題和年金改革而大敗。不料僅過半年就形勢逆轉,除中美關係全面惡化,國家主席習近平在1月的講話,將「九二共識」定義為「和平統一、一國兩制」,提出「探索兩制台灣方案」,一貫拒絕「九二共識」的民進黨總統蔡英文巧妙地利用民眾焦慮,把「九二共識」與「一國兩制」等同起來,逼一向支持「九二共識」的國民黨表態,將了國民黨一軍;香港爆發的反修例風暴,更讓蔡英文完成了一套「捍衛台灣主權」的論述。

 可悲的是,民進黨的「抗中牌」竟完全主導了選戰基調,國民黨的候選人韓國瑜、郭台銘,乃至黨主席吳敦義,都只能跟着喊「拒絕一國兩制」,在蔡英文已將「九二共識」與「一國兩制」畫上等號的情况下,國民黨一邊拒統抗中,一邊又要「九二共識」,顯然是人格分裂,但若想拋棄「九二共識」,民進黨不會讓它得逞,國共關係還會徹底破裂。

 另一方面,民進黨速戰速決,6月中旬就結束了黨內初選,蔡英文大勝前行政院長賴清德,令黨內迅速整合,團結力拼2020;國民黨的初選則拖拖拉拉,先是半路殺出郭台銘參選,然後是韓國瑜遲疑初選,最後是王金平退出初選,黨內各派勾心鬥角,初選前高雄市的民調顯示,若郭台銘出線,38%的「韓粉」大選時不會投票,反映藍營分裂危機之深。此消彼長之下,蔡英文的支持度由數月前幾乎低於國民黨所有主要候選人,變成領先群雄。近期各項民調均顯示,無論是面對韓國瑜還是郭台銘,蔡英文都穩操勝券。

 近日美國外交政策全國委員會(NCAFP)發表的一篇閉門會議報告透露,大陸官方與會者曾經表示,民進黨若在2020年繼續執政,可能反而會加速兩岸的統一。這與外界「急獨必然帶來急統」的判斷一致,失去制衡的民進黨若有恃無恐,2020年的台灣大選很可能成為壓斷兩岸關係這一駱駝脊樑的「最後一根稻草」。

■Glossary

browbeat : to frighten or threaten sb in order to make them do sth

split personality : a condition in which someone behaves so differently at different times that they seem to have more than one character

scheme : to make secret plans to do sth that will help yourself and possibly harm others

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