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June 23, 2017

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Who will back the has-been's proposal of 'greater one China'?

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A group of men, all renowned in Taiwan's political scene, yesterday proposed a resolution to preserve the status quo of cross-strait relations, dubbing their proposal the "greater one China (大一中架構)" concept.

One might notice in the combination of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Shih Ming-the (施明德), former National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi (蘇起), former Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Vice Chairman Chiao Jen-ho (焦仁和), former SEF Chairman Hung Chi-chang (洪奇昌), former Mainland Affairs Council head Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), former Foreign Minister Chen Chien-jen (程建人) and Andy Chang (張五岳), head of Tamkang University's Graduate Institute of China Studies is that they that cross the line between Taiwan's polarized greens and blues.

Quoting the weathered politicians led by Shih, the said concept is a solution to Taiwan and China's long-time dispute over their sovereignty, which begun in 1949 with the Kuomintang's (KMT) departure for Taiwan. The concept will replace the current "one China" principle as the latter rules that only one China exists and too many believe that to be the People's Republic of China.

So to enhance the current 65-year-old fix, the group decided that the two sides should form an "international legal entity," end their hostilities, avoid unequal military agreements and enjoy equal rights to participate in international issues.

But in case some have not yet grasped another example of unusualness in the new alliance, it is the repetitive term that indicates the members' "has-been" status: former. All of the political leaders have enjoyed a time in which their reigned, gleaning support for their beliefs because citizens believed their elevated statuses indicated a better knowledge of how the game should be played.

While the Ma administration has responded by saying Ma insists on maintaining the status quo with a principle that neither encourages unification, independence nor a display of violence, the Presidential Office did not offer to back the proposal aside from stating that Ma's cross-strait policies were based on a "one China, two interpretations" rule.

With beliefs that greatly contradict the KMT's, the main opposition party would of course slam the new proposal, many thought. But the DPP chose a softer tone for their reply: it respects the differing beliefs but feels that Taiwan's future should be based on the preference of its people. It is unclear whether the DPP has replied thus because Shih was backing the proposal, or that it regards the idea as negligible due to the fact that it has been brought up by a group of has-beens.

Among mainstream politicians, only new DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) issued a reply, and her opinion is like the party's: despite how the country is torn over cross-strait issues, it should be the people who reach a consensus through democratic procedures.

But before the DPP secures the power in the 2016 presidential elections, the true consensus should be one that both Taiwan and China agree to. Will the leading politicians agree to the proposal? And if they do, what does China say?

And from past experiences, the mother-country has never been one to completely rule out unequal cross-strait agreements.

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