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Say 'Yes' to peace and prosperity

Now the noisy, rambunctious presidential campaign is over and the crunch time has arrived, voters in this vibrant democracy of 23 million are going to the polls to exercise their right of choosing the nation's top leader for the next four years at a critical time and historic moment.

It is critical because Taiwan's survival is at stake. It is historic because the nation is, to borrow a line from Nobel Laureate Yuan T. Lee who famously said in 2000 that Taiwan was at a juncture of “either going up or sinking down.” Ironically, Lee's endorsement of pro-independence candidate Chen Shui-bian proved right only in the negative sense. Taiwan sank like a wrecked ship, so fast that perhaps even had exceeded Lee's expectations.

The vote is also critical because the country's peace and prosperity are hanging in the balance. In the four years since Ma Ying-jeou took over the leaking ship as the new skipper, the boat has steered clear of the reefs in treacherous waters. Taiwan is riding the crest of a wave of cross-strait detente, leading to an economic revival and political thaw as never seen before.

But the current peace and prosperity could prove ephemeral if the ship lost captain Ma in a mutiny led by Tsai Ing-wen, the standard bearer of the Democratic Progressive Party. If Tsai wins, it would be a sudden death for Ma's much vaunted “golden decade” for Taiwan because Tsai refuses to recognize the very foundation upon which the current Taipei-Beijing rapprochement is built — the “1992 Consensus” on the principle of “one China.”

It goes without saying that sans this consensus, it is hard to imagine how the budding cross-strait ties could continue, let alone prosper. No wonder Taiwan's business community is frightened, with their most influential leaders voicing support for the “1992 Consensus.” “Taiwan is finished without the '1992 Consensus,'” warned Chang Yung-fa, a global shipping tycoon and a former DPP supporter.

Chang hit the nail on the head. A vote for KMT's Ma Ying-jeou is a vote the “1992 Consensus,” which in turn is a vote for peace and prosperity as well as the country's one-China Constitution. Recognition of the “1992 Consensus” is only natural so long as this country is called the Republic of China (R.O.C.). Those who bristle at the mention of China or who refuse to sing the R.O.C. national anthem are disloyal and are wolves in sheep's skin. They are unworthy of voter's trust.

This election boils down to a duel on the “1992 Consensus” which is the soul of the R.O.C. Constitution. Voters are tired of the confrontational politics of the bygone era of political turmoil and economic stagnation. So, it sounded ludicrous when Tsai Ing-wen had the temerity to ask the voters: “are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Oh my gosh, was she rooting for Ma? So, voters should answer her question today loud and clear: Yes.

Say yes to peace and prosperity. You'll regret it if you don't. Taiwan has already lost a decade and cannot afford to waste away its future.

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