On October 2023, 10, the Northeast monsoon passed through Taiwan, and on a bleak autumn morning, Tsai Ing-wen delivered her last Double Tenth speech during her term, full of farewell. In her speech, she detailed various "achievements" since she came to power, retreated from "mutual non-subordination" to "maintaining the status quo" in cross-strait relations, and continued the tone of last year (10) "Give a better Taiwan to the world", in other words, packaged as "make the world better because of Taiwan", creating a "festive" atmosphere of "Taiwan-US-Japan friendship", covering up this world that is on fire, and the situation in the Taiwan Strait, which is already in danger of fighting fiercely.

Compared with last year's Double Tenth Speech, this year Tsai Ing-wen did not include "national defense" as a separate paragraph, emphasizing "strengthening the defense awareness of the whole people", seemingly softening the tone and focusing on her domestic affairs report card. However, in the first paragraph, the "submarine Taiwan-built" "Haiquan warship" appears, and its subtext breaks this illusion of "good years". In the words of Huang Shuguang, the convener of the "Taiwan-built submarine" task force, the key task of submarine deployment is to confine the PLA to the first island chain and cannot enter the Pacific Ocean to encircle Taiwan.

"First island chain", an old phrase full of Cold War mentality and the United States to contain the expansion of red forces, was carried on the body of the "Haiquan warship", jumping into the first paragraph of Tsai Ing-wen's Double Tenth speech. In other words, in Tsai Ing-wen's thinking, the "report card" of her ruling power is nothing more important than the creation of "Haiquan warships" that claim to be able to prevent the PLA from entering and exiting the "first island chain". However, this "achievement" does not belong to "Taiwan", but to "Taiwan of the United States", from the "unsinkable aircraft carrier" of the past to today's "military hedgehog", which is exactly the biggest task that the United States has given to Tsai Ing-wen that "the Republic of China has been based on Taiwan for 74 years".

On September 9, Tsai Ing-wen presided over the naming and launching ceremony of the prototype ship of the submarine. (Taiwan Presidential Office)

Tsai Ing-wen set the theme of this Double Tenth Speech as "Confident and Calm, Advancing the Country, and Making the World Better Because of Taiwan". This may be Tsai Ing-wen's comment to herself before leaving office, or her own historical positioning, but the feelings of the people of Taiwan are probably that of Tsai Ing-wen, who is in the presidential palace and stands tall, and there is a difference between heaven and earth. The "small luck" that Taiwanese society hopes for itself is actually because the fear and worry from all sides are spreading, as small as breaking an egg at home, you have to worry about whether it will be black, green and smelly after opening; Even when young people are still at a loss for the future, they have to worry about whether they will be called up to the battlefield at any time. "Small luck" naturally becomes the only anesthetic that can convince oneself to "be confident and calm, and the country will move forward".

In 2021, Tsai Ing-wen's Double Tenth Speech also blurted out the "mutual non-subordination" of the two sides of the strait with her "self-confident" attitude, injecting stimulant into the DPP, which was headwinded by the "four major referendums" at the end of that year, and also casting a shock bomb on cross-strait relations, which have long fallen to the bottom. Beijing sets the tone that mutual non-subordination is the two-state theory. More than half a year later, Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the US House of Representatives, who visited Taiwan by the wind, presented Taiwan with a big gift - the PLA's "encircling Taiwan" military exercise, and the "middle line of the strait" officially disappeared.

This year, Tsai Ing-wen no longer mentioned "mutual non-subordination", but said "maintaining the status quo" for a long time, she said: "Peace is the only option for the two sides of the strait, and maintaining the status quo as the greatest common divisor of all parties is the key to ensuring peace." This statement is like "peace and protection of Taiwan" changed by "Taiwan independence worker" Lai Qingde, will Beijing still believe that Taiwan's rulers do not have the "peace" promise of the "92 consensus"?

Tsai Ing-wen (middle), Lai Ching-tak (right) and Taiwanese Legislative President You Xikun (left) attend the 2023 Double Tenth Celebration. (Taiwan Presidential Office)

The answer is unknown. We only know that Beijing will not stop the process of reunifying Taiwan with confidence and composure and the country's progress because of any words made by Taiwanese politicians. We also know that at the same time as the US election season, "maintaining the status quo" is exactly the directive of the Joe Biden administration to hope that Taiwan will "not cause trouble", just like a Taiwanese vice president "transiting the United States", the United States has asked for "low-key and low-key".

The "Taiwan subjectivity" that the DPP authorities hope to display is all based on the "vassalage" of the United States. In fact, it is meaningless to consider the occurrence of "Republic of China", "Taiwan" or "Republic of China Taiwan" in Tsai Ing-wen's Double Tenth Speech, just like her repeated shouts of "democracy", declaring to "prove to the world the irreplaceable importance of Taiwan", "the world" is just synonymous with "the United States". Tsai Ing-wen has been in power for nearly eight years, and Taiwan has indeed played the role of a faithful gatekeeper of the United States in East Asia, and she can certainly be proud and proud to hand over an "honorable" report card to the United States after being early "unfinished answers" by Beijing.

But what is "the world" for Taiwan? "World" should not be an abstract and empty synonym, we can see that the world pattern has undergone a great change due to the Sino-US game, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are not unprovoked outbreaks, but the result of the accumulation of historical grievances. The ideological discourse of "democracy" sounds beautiful, but it cannot explain anything, it cannot tell the people of Taiwan that NATO has expanded eastward many times before the Russian-Ukrainian conflict; Nor can it tell the people of Taiwan that the tragedy in the Gaza corridor had been going on for years before Hamas attacked Israel. Behind everything in the world that is on fire is the shadow of American dominance.

On April 2023, 4, Tsai Ing-wen met with then-U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and held a bilateral leadership meeting with cross-party lawmakers. (Taiwan Presidential Office)

When the world was changing dramatically, and when the direction of the Taiwan Strait reached a critical juncture, Tsai Ing-wen's footsteps went back to 2010. Thirteen years ago, the flourishing Tsai Ing-wen and the declining Ma Ying-jeou debated the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), with Tsai Ing-wen advocating "moving from the world to China" and Ma Ying-jeou advocating "moving from China to the world". Starting from the "Sunflower" movement in 13, the era of Tsai Ing-wen "from the world to China" officially began, and this route has been practiced so far, and only the supreme purpose of "aesthetic follow" remains.

In the world of fire, Taiwan actually has more value and opportunity to show subjectivity. Tsai Ing-wen is right that peace is the only option for the two sides of the strait. But what she didn't say is that there is not only one way to peace, Ukraine has proved that "preparing for war to avoid war" is just a hypnotic spell of politicians, eyes only look at Washington but do not face Beijing, but also empty the inner historical context of the two sides of the strait, can peace really automatically fall from the sky?

The "full of confidence" of Tsai Ing-wen's last Double Tenth speech after taking office is a bit like the United States walking on the road of imperial decline, with the only remaining complacency, looking at the already devastated world, unable to distinguish between its own arsonist and fire extinguisher, embracing the cause and effect planted by its own hands in the confusion.

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