Former Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yong-Boon Yeo recently delivered a speech in Taiwan, in which he proposed from the perspective of a cross-strait "relative", saying that Taiwan's status quo is unsustainable, and that the United States only uses Taiwan as a pawn, suggesting that Taiwan should gradually move towards "peaceful reunification" through "a Chinese confederation" (commonwealth/confederation). Yang Rongwen's peace initiative had rippled repercussions, prompting Taiwan's "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" to respond to the rebuttal, criticizing his remarks as "completely inconsistent with the facts, obviously biased in cognition, and very different from the understanding of most democracies in the region."

Taiwan's "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" also sternly accused that "former Foreign Minister Yang's personal opinions not only do not contribute to regional peace and stable development, but also harm the positive development of Taiwan-US relations and Taiwan-Taiwan relations. Yang Rongwen later posted on his Facebook that he was quite surprised by this.

The chief reporter of "Hong Kong 01" in Taiwan participated in Yang Rongwen's speech in Taipei and the post-conference press conference on the same day, witnessing that he repeatedly emphasized that "I do not speak on behalf of Singapore, but on behalf of myself, a Singaporean who has received a lot of kindness from Taiwan." For such a former foreign minister of Singapore from the private sector, Taiwan's "Ministry of Foreign Affairs", chaired by "Wolf Warrior Minister" Wu Zhaoxie, issued such a tough response, and even insinuated Yang Rongwen as a "mouthpiece for totalitarian China", which is indeed quite rare and suspected of overreaction. The reason behind this, perhaps, as Guan Zhongmin, former president of National Taiwan University, commented on Facebook, "A foreign civilian came to Taiwan to give a speech, and the (Taiwanese) government retorted in anger, and this speech must have said something right."

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Forum on September 9, former Singaporean Foreign Minister Yeo Wing Moon delivered a speech entitled "Cross-Strait Relations from the Perspective of a Singaporean", in which he believed that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait could not be sustained and stressed that it would be unwise for the United States to use force to block Chinese mainland reunification of Taiwan, and he believed that time was not on Taiwan's side. (Photo by Zhang Junkai)

During the Li Bian period, there were various ideas for confederation

We might as well disassemble Yang Rongwen's argument and see why Taiwan's "diplomatic wolf warrior" is so "angry and corrupt"? The biggest highlight of Yeo's speech was the idea of establishing a "one-Chinese confederation" to be slowly introduced with administrative integration as a preparation for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to approach on the basis of peace, mutual respect and common history.

One of the controversial aspects is the term confederation, which in political science is similar to the concept of "national association", in which the internal political entity still has independent sovereignty and constitutes a consultative double-entry government. In contrast , there is the concept of " federalism " , which refers to a single government with decentralized powers , such as the political system of the United States. During Lee Teng-hui's administration of Taiwan in the 1990s, there were many discussions in Taiwan's academic circles on the "Confederation", "Federation", "Chinese National Association", "Greater China Economic Circle", "China Cooperation Mechanism", and "National Association within the National Association", focusing on the research on the future integration structure of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

For example, the late founder of the China Times, Yu Jizhong, proposed the idea of a "Chinese Confederation" in 1994. Lin Yanggang, who was former chairman of the Taiwan provincial government, vice president of the Executive Yuan, and president of the Judicial Yuan, had the idea of an autonomous state. scholar Wu Ruiguo advocated one state, multiple systems; Shao Zonghai's "phased reunification process" also assumes that the two sides of the strait can move from "confederal China" to "federal China" to "unitary China". Shen Fuxiong, a former legislator of the Democratic Progressive Party, also suggested that the two sides of the strait jointly form a national association.

During the administration of Lee Teng-hui (left) and Chen Shui-bian, there were many discussions in Taiwan's academic and political circles about the cross-strait confederation. (Profile picture)

In addition, the Kuomintang lost its ruling power for the first time in the 2000 general election, and the party was filled with an atmosphere of de-Lee Teng-hui, and Lien Chan succeeded him as party chairman. At that time, before the <>th National Congress, the Kuomintang think tank tried to include the idea of "confederation" as one of the themes of the congress, and also published the "Commentary on the Draft Policy Program of the Chinese Kuomintang "Confederation". Even in order to calm the controversy within the party, the planning team later added the word "phase" before the word "confederation" and marked "towards the unity of democracy, freedom, and equal prosperity", but it was still stillborn between the unification faction and the nativist faction in the party.

In other words, Yang Rongwen's "confederation" proposal, in the context of Taiwan's political history, is not "born out of thin air", but "its origins". What's more, the "National Reunification Program" (National Reunification Program) led by Lee Teng-hui in those years was called reunification, but it set up many obstacles to reunification and planned three short, medium, and long-term stages. In 2000, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council commissioned Wei Yong, a well-known scholar, to make a project report entitled "A Comparative Analysis of Interaction and Integration Modes of Cross-Strait Relations," in which he suggested that the two sides of the strait should adopt the basic concept of "one China, two political realities" and "multi-system countries" and then transition to "linkage communities," or "confederation" and "federation." , or a single country.

The above ideas of "confederation", "federation", "national association", and "interlocking community" in the Li and Bian periods reflect the complicated process of Taiwan's official swing from "one China" to "special two-state theory" and then to "one-state theory on one side" at that time, hoping to find a solution for Taiwan's "substantive independence" without violating the "constitution and one China". However, these various models eventually became "paper talk", because many concepts were transplanted from Western experience, which is different from the fact that the cross-strait civil war is Chinese mainland impossible to accept, and it is not in line with the spirit of the Constitution of the Republic of China and its additional provisions.

What are the Taiwan plans of the politicians who oppose Yang Rongwen?

The biggest difference between Yang Rongwen's "confederation theory" and the above models is that he emphasized in his speech, first of all, it is based on "Chinese" identity. He cited Lee Kuan Yew as an example, when Lee Teng-hui suggested that "Taiwanese and Chinese mainland Chinese belong to different nationalities," Lee Kuan Yew was quite troubled, felt "strange and unacceptable," and then became wary when talking to Lee Teng-hui.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement in response, criticizing Yang Rongwen's speech for being completely inconsistent with the facts and obviously biased in cognition. (Screenshot of Taiwan's "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" website)

Second, in Yang Rongwen's view, "a Chinese confederation" is a transitional solution, a gradual process leading to eventual "peaceful reunification". The reason why Yang Rongwen put forward this idea is that he sees the current situation in the Taiwan Strait, the United States is using Taiwan as a pawn to provoke war, and the alternative situation is inevitable war, which will be tragic, reflecting his original intention of not wanting cross-strait separation and hoping for peace and prosperity in the Taiwan Strait.

To be fair, although the Tsai Ing-wen government today adopts the line of "pro-US resistance to China", it parasitizes "Taiwan independence" under the Constitution of the Republic of China, thus "inventing" the so-called "Taiwan Republic of China" theory. Wu Zhaoxie, as a member of the "diplomatic" department of the Tsai government, should actually welcome Yang Rongwen's theory of "confederation" with open arms, which concretely reflects the "utopia" of the Tsai government's proposition that "Taiwan of the Republic of China is a sovereign and independent state".

However, Yang Rongwen, who claims to be a "relative" of the Chinese on both sides of the strait, hopes that this "confederation" belongs to the "Chinese", and more importantly, seeing that the United States is making trouble in the Taiwan Strait, it cannot maintain the status quo, and will eventually move towards "peaceful reunification." The three premises of "Chinese", "doubtful beauty" and "peaceful reunification" run counter to the policy concepts promoted by the current Cai government; As a "Taiwan wolf" who identifies with "Taiwanese", "pro-American", and "refuses reunification", Wu Zhaoxie, is bound to jump out at this moment and shoot at an international friend like Yang Rongwen, who is "friendly to Taiwan".

In 2004, Yang Rongwen raised his opposition to Taiwan independence at the United Nations General Assembly, but Chen Tangshan (pictured), then Taiwan's "foreign minister", retorted: Singapore is "just a country with a big booger", which is basically "China's LP", which once caused an uproar. (Profile picture)

Looking back at history, the foreign minister of the DPP authorities and Yang Rongwen are not the first to have a festival. In 2004, then-Singaporean Foreign Minister Yeo Wing Man put forward "opposition to Taiwan independence" at the United Nations General Assembly, which was rebuffed by the then Foreign Minister of the Democratic Progressive Party government, Chen Tangshan, that Singapore was "just a country with a big booger", which was basically "holding China's LP" (Hokkien, with the meaning of horse fart and sycophancy), which once caused an uproar. Years later, Yang Rongwen, who had been Singapore's foreign minister for a long time, visited Taiwan as a non-governmental friend, but he did not expect to attract the fire of the "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" of the DPP authorities.

In fact, Yang Rongwen said frankly in his speech, "The society on both sides of the (Taiwan Strait) is changing, and today's People's Republic of China is not the People's Republic of China 20 years ago, and the People's Republic of China in 20 years will be very different from today." Then he should know very well that 20 years ago Beijing would not accept the idea of "confederation", and 20 years later it is even more impossible today, not to mention that the process of peaceful reunification based on "integrated development" has already taken steps. As for Taiwan, in the struggle for power by political parties packaged in the name of "reunification and independence," politicians only understand "what I don't want" but cannot say "what I want." Although the "Taiwan plan" proposed by Yang Rongwen is unrealistic, at least he is sincerely thinking about Taiwan's future and peace in the Taiwan Strait.

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