時論廣場》柯文哲訪美的漣漪(方恩格 Ross Darrell Feingold)

時論廣場》柯文哲訪美的漣漪(方恩格 Ross Darrell Feingold)

民衆黨主席柯文哲認爲,他的民調還會成長。(資料照,郭吉銓攝)

在蔡英文總統和爭取國民黨提名的郭臺銘訪美后幾天內,有意參選總統的臺灣民衆黨主席柯文哲也正訪問美國。一般情況下,筆者不鼓勵潛在總統候選人訪問美國,因爲風險可能大於收益。

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即使柯文哲最近公開發表他在兩岸、國防和外交方面的政策,臺灣民衆黨的網站亦有少數相關英文資訊,但是民衆黨在臺灣以外的世界仍缺乏知名度。

即使柯文哲在這些議題上已經做了一些功課,但要說服美國利益關係者相信柯對於這些政策的掌握度,以及讓他們看見臺灣選民對其支持度,對柯來說會是一大挑戰。國民黨接下來的總統提名候選人也將面臨相同的問題。

2019年3月,時任臺北市長的柯文哲也訪問了華府,當時傳言他將在該年決定是否參選2020年1月的總統選舉。後來他決定不參選,大概只有他知道當時訪問華府的過程是否成爲他做出此決定的關鍵要素。衆所皆知,美國政府官員以及在智庫和大學裡關注臺灣事務的人士,對他作爲總統候選人並未給予正面的評價。

去年6月,就在國民黨主席朱立倫訪問華府的幾天前,蔡政府宣佈了新的「美臺21世紀貿易倡議」,以此作爲美國未將臺灣納入印太經濟架構後的安慰獎。儘管如此,蔡政府成功地將其推銷給民衆,宣稱這是美臺關係「堅若磐石」的另一個例證。

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同樣在柯主席訪美前,蔡總統剛從成功的美國過境之旅返回臺灣。柯主席很難將同等程度的風采帶回臺灣。以下是柯文哲訪美期間值得關注的看點:

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在他的公開演講中,柯主席會對九二共識發表什麼言論?他可能會避免提及此議題,可能會說九二共識可以成爲臺灣民衆黨兩岸政策的一部分,或者他也有可能會拒絕接受九二共識並批評國民黨,又或者他可能會專注於他對兩岸政策的願景,包括他最近提出的「政治上不可能是『一箇中國』」。

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拜登政府是否會匿名批評柯文哲,就如同歐巴馬政府在2011年對時任民進黨主席蔡英文訪問華府時做出的批評呢?在拜登政府負責亞洲政策的官員中,對於民衆黨、柯主席,以及他在擔任市長8年期間的成就(這也是臺灣民衆黨網站未分享的內容),瞭解的人相對有限。

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柯文哲是否會像他在2019年訪問華府時一樣,在政府機關前拍照打卡?臺灣的選民關心的是他在裡面會見了誰,而不僅是他po出的觀光客照。

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哪些級別的美國政府官員及哪些國會議員會與柯主席會面?最近在蔡英文總統過境紐約市和洛杉磯時,重要的參衆議員已經與她會面。對於與一位對他們來說政策內容仍是個謎的臺灣潛在總統候選人會面,美國政府官員們的利益是什麼?

最後,民衆黨是否能對蔡政府或民進黨的批評有效迴應?民進黨政治人物並不介意在外國人面前批評柯文哲。例如,在2019年布拉格市長決定取消與北京的姊妹市關係並訪問臺灣時,時任民進黨立委餘宛如在推特上用英語表示「比起與現在親北京的臺北,或許與其他縣市建立姊妹市關係會比較好。」此外,例如柯文哲曾經被多次指控參與活摘器官移植案的爭議,他的政治對手們肯定會在今年再次提起,就像他們在2018年柯文哲競選臺北市長連任時所做的一樣。

筆者認爲,臺灣的在野黨應該優先確定總統候選人、提高在民調中的支持度、籌集資金,並在目前所擁有的立法院、市、縣議會,以及民衆黨在新竹市所擁有的市長職位中表現好,這仍然是促使美國利益相關者對民衆黨表示好評的最佳方式,但這些都無法通過訪問美國來實現。

握有執政黨的優勢,民進黨得以在美國投入資源,期望能得到美國政府的「背書」。儘管身爲副總統、民進黨主席以及總統候選人的賴清德訪問美國是不必要的,但如果真的變得必要,他可以選擇辭去副總統職務,以免他的職稱太過敏感。畢竟,無論明年1月的選舉結果如何,他的副總統任期都將於2024年5月20日結束,因此辭去副總統職務將使他能夠效仿民衆黨和國民黨,進行自己的華府訪問。

(作者爲美國共和黨前亞太區主席,譯者:許淳恩)

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对调副局长挨批 柯P上午振振有词下午派令就暂缓

Taiwan People’s Party Chairman Ko Visits the United States

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By Ross Darrell Feingold

Former Asia Chairman, Republicans Abroad

Twitter: @RossFeingold

Days after President Tsai Ing-wen and Chinese Nationalist Party presidential hopeful Terry Gou returned to Taiwan after visits to the United States, presidential hopeful and Taiwan People’s Party Chairman Ko Wen-je is visiting the United States. Generally, this author discourages potential candidates for president from visiting the United States, as the risk might be greater than the reward.

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Chairman Ko’s China, defense, and foreign policies are unknowns to the world outside Taiwan, even if the Taiwan People’s Party website includes a little bit of information in English, and Ko has recently discussed these issues in presentations and media interviews.

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Unfortunately for Ko, even if he has policies on these issues, he faces an enormous challenge in convincing stakeholders in the United States that he sufficiently understands these important issues, or that Taiwan’s voters agree with Ko’s policy proposals. The eventual Chinese Nationalist Party candidate will also have this challenge.

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In March 2019, then Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je also visited Washington DC, amid speculation he would decide later that year to run for president in the January 2020 election. Only Ko Wen-je knows whether the outcomes of his visit to Washington DC that year were a factor in his decision not to run for president. As far the public knows, United States government officials and the Taiwan “watchers” at think tanks and universities did not say anything positive about him as a presidential candidate.

In June last year, days before Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman Eric Chu visited Washington DC, the Tsai Administration “flooded the zone” with actions to demonstrate its achievements in U.S.-Taiwan relations, including the announcement of the new “U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade”. Although this was only a consolation prize after the United States did not include Taiwan in the Indo Pacific Economic Framework, the Tsai Administration was able to sell it to the public as another example of “rock solid” U.S.-Taiwan relations.

Similarly, shortly before Chairman Ko visit to the United States, President Tsai just returned to Taiwan after her successful transit visits. As compared to President Tsai, it is unlikely Chairman Ko can obtain anything better from the United States to bring back to Taiwan.

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Here are five things watch for during Chairman Ko’s visit to the United States:

In his public speeches what will Chairman Ko say about the 1992 Consensus? Ko might avoid it, he might say that it can be part of the Taiwan People’s Party’s China policy, or he might reject it and criticize the Chinese Nationalist Party. He might instead focus on his vision for a China policy which includes his recent comment that “politically it’s not possible for there to be One China”.

Will a Biden Administration official anonymously criticize Chairman Ko the way an Obama Administration official criticized then-Democratic Progressive Party chairman Tsai Ing-wen when she visited Washington DC as a presidential candidate in 2011? Few Biden Administration officials responsible for Asia policy are familiar with the Taiwan People’s Party, Chairman Ko, or even Ko’s achievements during eight years as mayor (something the Taiwan People’s Party fails to share on its website).

Will Chairman Ko take photos in front of government buildings in Washington DC like he did during his 2019 visit? Voters in Taiwan want to know who he meets, not whether he was physically in front of government buildings.

What level of US government officials will meet Chairman Ko, and which Members of Congress will meet Chairman Ko? Important Members of Congress recently met President Tsai Ing-wen when she transited New York City and Los Angeles. What is their interest in meeting a Taiwan presidential candidate whose policies are a mystery to them?

And finally, can the Taiwan People’s Party effectively respond to the Tsai Administration or Democratic Progressive Party (or Democratic Progressive Party friendly outside organizations in Washington DC) “flooding the zone” with criticism about Ko and the Taiwan People’s Party? Democratic Progressive Party politicians are willing to criticize Ko Wen-je in front of foreigners. In 2019, when Prague’s mayor decided to cancel sister-city ties with Beijing and visited Taiwan, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Karen Yu tweeted in English, “instead of establishing sister-city ties with now pro-Beijing Taipei, other cities or counties might be better”. There are also the periodic allegations raised about Chairman Ko’s alleged involvement in prisoner organ transplants in China, which Ko’s political opponents are sure to again bring up this year just they did when Ko ran for re-election as Taipei City mayor in 2018.

This author believes that the priorities of opposition political parties in Taiwan should be to identify its candidates for office, increase its standings in the polls, raise money, and perform well in the offices it currently holds whether in the Legislative Yuan, or city or county councils (and for the Taiwan People’s Party, the one municipal government head it holds in Hsinchu City). This is the best way to prompt stakeholders in the United States to say nice things about the Taiwan People’s Party, but none of this can occur via a visit to the United States.

The Democratic Progressive Party has the advantages of incumbency, and thus can afford to spend resources in the United States in the hopes of an “endorsement” from the United States government. Although this author thinks it is unnecessary for Vice President, and Democratic Progressive Party Chairman and presidential nominee, William Lai to visit the United States, if it really becomes necessary he can simply resign the vice presidency so that his job title will no longer be sensitive. After all, no matter what happens in the election next January, his job as vice president ends on May 20, 2024. Resigning as vice president will allow him to follow the Taiwan People’s Party and Chinese Nationalist Party with his own visit to Washington DC.

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