蕭萬長的務實談

:::

1995 / 4月

文‧陳雅玲採訪整理


身為現任陸委會主委,蕭萬長說的每一句話,都被拿在放大鏡底下看。

然而儘管他出現在報紙頭條的頻率極高,被刊登的卻幾乎都是片段性的談話,很少完整呈現施政理念。在這個月中旬,一個被立法院立委質詢了一整天的下班時間,他接受了光華的採訪。


以下是訪談紀要。

問:現在兩岸關係好像有一個新的局面。行政院連戰院長說,兩岸已進入協商時代;對話的層次也愈來愈高。您認為陸委會現階段要扮演什麼樣的角色?與過去有何不同?

答:陸委會就是要為兩岸協商時代的來臨做好規劃。其層面很廣,包括人才的培訓、議題的設定、未來協商的優先順序等等。

要讓協商順利推動,交流的工作也要配合增加,對彼此的瞭解才能夠增進。過去這方面比較多規範;現在要檢討,逐步放寬。但總的來說,陸委會還是認為不要太躁進,要穩健發展,培養互信的條件,這樣才會有助於協商。

兩岸協商不同於國際談判

問:您本人是國際事務出身,又曾歷經無數次攸關國家利益的談判,您的涉外經驗,可以如何應用到兩岸協商上?若有需要,您會自己站上談判的第一線嗎?

答:我想過去的經驗大概是有幫助啦,至少很多談判的技巧、策略,都可以作為規劃的參考。

但是有一點一定要了解:國際談判目標單純,雙方都會朝解決問題的方向去努力。有時候對方比較急於解決問題,可能就會多做一點讓步;相反的如果是我方比較急,我們也會多讓步一點。

但是兩岸協商就不是很單純,四十多年隔閡,加上意識形態的差異,在談問題時,都會造成影響。所以我們要知道它的複雜性、敏感性,在規劃的時候,考慮的層面也要比較多。換句話說,要多一些協調、智慧。

此外,我認為還需要多一點耐心。對於兩岸協商,國人期待太殷切,加上媒體往往把它當成焦點新聞處理,使敏感度增加。這也讓它和一般國際談判的性質不同。

問:那可以用什麼辦法讓它比較不受到扭曲呢?例如南、北韓在板門店設立常態事務性的協商,讓它擺脫媒體的過度關注。

答:當然現在有很多人提出各種意見,我們也在評估,原則上應該可以考慮。譬如將一些事務性、技術性的兩岸協商,先透過一個經常性的管道來討論,到了快成熟的時候,再端上會議桌。我認為這是一個比較正面的做法。

問:「海陸」兩會的合作一直存在著問題。連院長最近曾指出海基會的功能應做調整。主委現在對此有無具體構想了?未來兩會如何分工?

談判代表不應有自己主張

答:我想海基會談判的功能定位要更明確。過去海基會常表示陸委會授權不夠,在社會上造成海陸兩會關係不融洽的誤解。我必須說明:海基會出去談判,無所謂授權夠不夠;授權你什麼就去做什麼,這就是海基會的功能。談判本來就是這樣,談判代表可以根據前方狀況把建議傳回後方做決定,但不應有自己的主張。

另外,要怎樣才更能發揮效率,我想還牽涉到專業的問題。隔行如隔山,像劫機犯、著作權,這些問題都很專門,不是主管機關根本無法全面掌握;要海基會通通弄清楚再上桌談判,也是強人所難。因此以後政府主管機關的官員,也應該參與海基會相關議題的談判。

問:我國的兩岸政策一直有所謂「以商逼政」、陸委會與經濟部步調不一致的說法。當您接任陸委會主委時,企業界認為以您對經貿事物的了解,一定可以調和雙方差距。您是否也打算這麼做呢?

答:只要不違背國家整體利益的話,我都會設法為企業界解決問題,這是一種務實的做法。

但我還是要強調,當兩者發生衝突的時候,我們一定是以國家利益為優先。譬如說,企業界一直希望「三通」,但是陸委會不能貿然去做。這關係到國家安全、尊嚴,換句話說,它也有它政治性的考量。

陸委會不再煞車?

問:當年您提出「亞太營運中心」這個構想的時候,很多人都覺得這是台灣應該找的一條出路,但關鍵就卡在兩岸關係——如果不早一點解決兩岸政治方面的影響,時機一過,我們就沒有機會了。

答:沒有問題,我們也在設法解決。譬如說,亞太營運中心需要的兩岸關係,是哪些限制要解除?在沒有影響大利益的情況下,我們會考慮。像中共經貿人員來台,就沒有什麼理由要再禁止。至於直航,我覺得要慎重。不過我們也了解,亞太營運中心裡的航運中心需要推動。所以就有「境外轉運中心」的構想來作為第一步。

問:上次「焦唐會談」,因為最後談判破裂,有媒體說您是「黃規蕭隨」,這與過去大家對您的認識和期望是不相稱的。您能接受這樣的說法嗎?

答:所以我一開始就說了,大家不要對我有所期望,不要對我期望太高,就是這個原因。因為如果我們的大陸政策是換一個主委,就馬上一百八十度大轉變,這太危險了。大陸政策有它的延續性、一貫性;換主委,只是做法上稍有不同而已,基本政策是不變的。我希望能夠做法靈活,但立場不能改。

不能跟著飄飄然

問:您曾闡述過您工作理念是「務實做事、前瞻思考、平衡判斷」,現在您如何應用在現階段的職務上?

答:譬如講,我們以經貿為主軸,這就是一種務實的做法。因為兩岸關係與大家最有實質關係的,就是經貿嘛。你把它忽略,故意不去談,問題並沒有解決。

同時大家覺得台商和政府唱對台戲,台商就變成「以商逼政」。為什麼對我們自己的同胞反而會產生這種不信任?如果我們的同胞出去了,反而配合別人來「逼」我們自己的「政」,那是我們自己要檢討的。所以要務實面對它,幫他們解決問題,這樣才能讓台商對我們有向心力。

我們也有前瞻。兩岸關係穩定發展,是我們追求統一的必要過程。怎麼做呢?增加交流,一步一步來。因為增加交流才能增進了解、增進互信。這也是很有前瞻性的。有關交流的障礙我們儘量排除,追求統一要有過程,不能只看結果。

再講平衡。就是要冷靜,不能因為國人對我期待殷切,就跟著飄飄然。我今天在什麼職務,就要做好這工作。這就是平衡、平常心。我這些過去做事的原則,運用到現在也是一樣的。

問:國內與兩岸政策有關的人與機構很多,像是陸委會、海基會、國統會、國安會,此外李總統也曾公開表示兩岸政策由他來主導。處在這種情況下,是不是真有外界所謂的「框框」是您無法突破的?

答:沒有。當然兩岸關係影響到我們國家的前途、兩千一百萬人的福祉、未來,這是一個國家的大政方針。依憲法規定,這是總統職權,他不能不過問。所以總統要成立「國家統一委員會」,作為他的諮詢機構。此外,也根據憲法成立「國家安全會議」,作為他的幕僚單位。

而我們陸委會,根據兩岸關係條例、行政院組織法,是行政院對大陸事務的研究、規劃、協調機構。之所以是委員會的形式,就是要發揮協調的功能,相關部會首長是我們的委員,任何重大政策要在陸委會溝通協調之後才能決定。我們的權責是非常清楚的,不會有困難或窒礙難行之處。

兩千一百萬個意見

問:除了協調各部會,國內各黨派目前在國家認同、兩岸政策上,歧異相當大。您將如何凝聚各方面的共識?當我們要出去面對中共的時候,背後不是有一堆拉扯的力量。

答:對。這是一個問題,可以說是我們今天所處的比較困難的一個情勢。因為在對方來說,他們是同一口徑,而且政策是由上而下。我們這邊呢,是兩千一百萬人,每一個人都可以表示他的意見。甚至像你剛剛所說的,連國家認同都有問題。在這情況出去談,真的不容易。

所以我希望國人有一個共識,就是我們是為了全國兩千一百萬人的共同福祉,有命運共同體的觀念,把「統獨」先放下,務實來進行兩岸交流,穩健地來營造兩岸良性互動關係。

問:陸委會有沒有什麼具體辦法呢?

答:這要不斷溝通、協調、做宣導。我感到很欣慰的是,這次「江八點」一出來,總統指示說要廣泛地蒐集各方面的意見,集思廣益。所以我們就舉行了五場座談會,再加上跟立法院朝野,包括無黨籍的立委黨團協商座談。

九場下來,我感覺到沒有人不重視、不關心自己國家的安全。所有的人都是在這樣的基礎上發表自己的意見。雖然有人樂觀、有人保留,但所有人的出發點都是一樣。我覺得這是一個滿可喜的現象,至少共識已經在慢慢形成了。當然這過程會很艱苦,但還是需要這麼做。

準備面對鄧後兩岸變局

問:主委曾說過您是帶著使命感來到陸委會的。據說當初院長希望您接任這個職務時,您頗猶豫。為什麼呢?您覺得最大的挑戰是什麼?

答:我幾十年的公務生涯都在經貿領域,而陸委會是一個政治性很高的地方,以我的個性,我自己覺得不是很能適應。我是一個做事的人,雖然我是政務官,但是我一直認為自己是一個技術官僚。因為這樣子,所以我對這項任命是有點意外。

但是今天政府的人事安排有他的考慮,我也很感謝連院長對我的期待,把這麼重要的工作交給我,這是一個很大的挑戰。

既然交給我,我就有一個使命感。兩岸關係太重要了,因為它關係到中華民國兩千一百萬人。我們的外交、內政、經濟、國防,各方面都和兩岸關係有密切關連。在這樣一個錯綜的關連性下,我覺得要是這工作能做得順暢,對我們國家的未來會有很大的助益。所以我也很希望能接受這個挑戰,不是為我個人,而是為國家,來做好這工作。

但是很多好朋友跟我講,這個工作,以我自己的條件跟努力是不夠的,還需要很多客觀因素的配合,工作推動起來才會順利。所以我只能說,盡其在我。

問:您才剛接任陸委會主委的工作,但是鄧小平的健康卻讓人相信他的來日無多。所以很有可能在您任內,兩岸要面對鄧去後的變局。您的心情如何?已經擬定因應對策了嗎?

答:我不談我個人的心情,只能說對大陸情勢我們要密切注意,我們隨時在蒐集資訊,同時也要做研判,和相關機關在研究未來必要的因應措施。不過這個時機還沒有到,所以還不能講。

〔圖片說明〕

P.34

(薛繼光攝)

P.36

曾任經濟部長的蕭萬長,對台商的需求與困難了解深刻。圖為民國八十一年「金商獎」頒獎典禮。(董俊斐攝)

P.37

兩岸還不能直航,政府將規劃「境外轉運中心」,來降低台商的營運成本。(張良綱攝)

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Pragmatist with a Mission: An Interview with Vincent Siew

interview by Elaine Chen /tr. by Phil Newell

As the current chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, everything Vincent Siew says is placed under a microscope.

Yet, though his name often appears in the headlines, virtually everything in the papers is fragmentary; very rarely is one offered a complete view of his policy ideas. He gave an interview to Sinorama after a long day of being grilled in interpellation sessions in the Legislative Yuan.

A record of the interview follows:


Q: It seems there is a new situation in relations between Taiwan and mainland China. Premier Lien Chan has stated that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have already entered an era of discussion. Ever-higher-ranked people are participating in this dialogue. What do you see as the role for the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) at the present time? How will things be different than in the past?

A: The MAC has to make plans for the era of discussion. This includes many levels of activity, including training personnel, defining the subject matter, and prioritizing items for future discussion.

In order that discussions can go forward smoothly, we must increase interactions; only then can the two sides increase their understanding of one another. In the past, we had many restrictions in this respect. We are now reassessing things and will gradually relax restrictions. But in general, the MAC still believes that we cannot go forward rashly, but that we must have steady, stable progress to create conditions of mutual trust, for that is what will really be helpful to discussions.

Not the same as international negotiations

Q: You have a background in international affairs, and you have several times been involved in negotiations directly affecting the national interest. How will your international experience be useful in bilateral discussions with mainland China? If necessary, will you stand on the front line of negotiations?

A: I think that my past experience will prove helpful, of course. At the very least, I can draw upon the past in planning negotiating techniques and strategy.

But there is one point that must be made clear: The purpose of international negotiations is straight forward--the two sides are trying to resolve problems. Sometimes your opposite number will be in a greater rush to resolve the problem, and will make more concessions. Correspondingly, if it is our side that is more anxious to settle, we will make more concessions.

But cross-strait discussions are not very simple. Forty years of separation plus differences in ideology will both have an impact when problems are discussed. Therefore, knowing their complexity and sensitivity, we must take account of more things when planning. In short, we need to have greater coordination and greater wisdom.

Moreover, we also need greater patience. People in Taiwan have had excessive expectations of the pace of cross-strait discussions, and the media often focuses on such talks, increasing their sensitivity. This also gives them a somewhat different nature than typical international negotiations.

Q: What methods can be used so that discussions are not distorted? For example, North and South Korea have routine consultations at Panmunjon, so they can avoid excessive attention from the media and can keep a sense of normalcy.

A: Of course right now people are making all kinds of suggestions, and we are evaluating them. In principle we should be able to consider them. Take for example some relatively routine or technical matters. They can first be discussed through some regular channel, and, when the time is right, they can again be placed on the negotiating table. I think that this is a more positive method.

Negotiators should not promote their own views

Q: There have always been problems between the MAC and its nominal subordinate, the Straits Exchange Foundation [Taiwan's unofficial body responsible for contacts with mainland China, known as the SEF]. Premier Lien Chan has recently stated that the functions of the SEF should be adjusted. Do you have any concrete ideas on this matter? How will responsibilities be divided in the future?

A: I think that the negotiating function of the SEF should be more clearly defined. In the past the SEF often argued that the MAC did not delegate enough authority to it, creating the misunderstanding among the public that relations between the two agencies were not harmonious. I want to make it clear that when the SEF goes forward to negotiate, the question is not whether or not there has been enough of a delegation of authority. The function of the SEF is to do only what it has been delegated the authority to do, nothing more. That's simply the way negotiations are: Negotiators should not promote their own views.

Furthermore, as far as how to make things more efficient, I think this involves the problem of expertise. Each field, such as hijacking law, copyright law, and so on, has its own nature. These problems are very specialized. Anyone who is not in the relevant specialized department is not likely to be able to fully grasp a given issue. Negotiating is not socializing--it is aimed at solving specific problems. It is not fair to those in the SEF to require them to have a complete understanding of each issue before it is put on the table. Therefore in the future officials from government agencies should participate in SEF negotiations on relevant questions.

Q: People have been saying that our mainland policy has been one of "politics being forced ahead by business interests," and that the MAC [seen by some business people as not moving quickly enough to eliminate political obstacles to doing business with mainland China] and the Ministry of Economic Affairs are not in step. The business community expects that, based on your experience in economics and trade, you will do more to resolve problems for them. Is this what you plan to do?

A:I will try to find ways to solve problems for the business community on the condition that the overall national interest is not compromised. I will take a practical, pragmatic approach.

MAC no longer with a foot on the brake?

But you have to understand that when there is a conflict between business interests and the national interest, we have to give priority to the national interest. For example, the business community has long been calling for direct travel, postal service, and shipping of goods between the mainland and Taiwan, but the MAC cannot act rashly. This affects the nation's security and dignity. In other words, there are political considerations.

Q: When you first proposed the idea of making Taiwan into a "regional operations center," many people thought this was the correct road for Taiwan to follow. But a key obstacle is relations between Taiwan and mainland China: If political problems between the two sides cannot be resolved soon, we may miss our opportunity, and it will not come again.

A: This is not a problem. We are working on ways to resolve this right now. For example, what kinds of restrictions on cross-strait relations need to be eliminated to create an Asia-Pacific regional operations center? We will assess this, under the precondition of not jeopardizing larger interests. For example, there is really no reason to continue the ban on mainland trade and economic personnel coming to Taiwan. As for direct air travel, I feel we must be cautious. However, we also understand that it will be necessary to promote an air traffic center as part of the regional operations center. Therefore the idea of an "offshore operations center" has arisen as a first step.

Q: The recent talks between Tang Shubei [of mainland China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait] and Chiao Jen-ho [of the SEF] ended in discord. Some of the media said that you are just following the pattern set by Huang Kun-huei, your predecessor, and that the outcome of the talks is at odds with the public's expectations, based on their previous impressions of you, that you would make more rapid progress in relations with mainland China. Do you find such criticism acceptable?

A: This is why right from the start I said that people should not have any particular expectations of me, or that they should not have excessive expectations. This is the reason. If our mainland policy were such that we could make a 180 degree shift just by changing the MAC chairman, that would be dangerous indeed. There is continuity and coherence to mainland policy. A change in the chairman merely means that perhaps methods will be somewhat different. The basic policy will not change. I hope to use flexible methods, while not changing our basic stance.

No room for complacency

Q: You once described your guiding principles as "pragmatic in handling matters, farsighted in considering matters, and balanced in judging matters." How will you apply these principles in your current duties?

A: For example, the main axis of our work is economics. This is pragmatic insofar as the aspect of cross-strait relations which has the most practical impact on citizens is trade and economics. And if you ignore this aspect, and deliberately avoid talking about it, concrete problems will not get resolved.

At the same time there are many people who feel that the business community is being disloyal to the government [in placing practical commercial issues ahead of political issues], and that businessmen are "forcing politics in the interests of business." But we should instead ask: Why do businessmen put so little faith in their own compatriots in the government? If these businessmen go out and side with the mainland to force us to adopt a certain policy, then we in the government should first take stock of ourselves. We must remain pragmatic, and help business people to resolve problems that they face. This is the only way Taiwanese business people will feel that their loyalty belongs here.

We are also farsighted. The process of stable progress in relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is essential for the pursuit of reunification. How can we go about it? By increasing exchanges, and moving step by step. Only by increasing exchanges can we increase mutual understanding and mutual trust. This shows great foresight. We must eliminate obstacles to exchanges as much as we can. We must define the process of reunification, and not only see reunification as an end point.

Let's look at "balance." I cannot be complacent and expect to achieve a great deal all at once just because people have confidence in me. I must do the best job I can in the position I am in today. That is balance, and a sense of normalcy. The principles that have guided me in the past still guide me today.

Q: There are many people and agencies involved in mainland policy, including the MAC, the SEF, the National Reunification Council, and the National Security Council, and President Lee Teng-hui has publicly stated that he is in charge of guiding mainland policy. Under these circumstances, are there really "constraints" (as some outsiders suggest) that you will find impossible to break?

A: Not at all. Naturally, since relations between Taiwan and mainland China affect the nation's future and the well-being of the 21 million people on Taiwan, it is a critical area of national policy. The Constitution clearly indicates that it is the President's responsibility, so he must be intimately involved. Therefore the President decided to establish the National Reunification Council to advise him. Furthermore, the Constitution indicates that the National Security Council should provide staff support to the President.

The MAC, on the other hand, was founded based on the Regulations Governing Relations Between the Two Sides of the Taiwan Strait and the Organization Law of the Executive Yuan. It is the agency in charge of research, planning, and coordination of mainland policy for the Executive Yuan. It is in the form of a council [rather than a functional ministry] because its role is to coordinate. The heads of the relevant ministries are members of the MAC, and major policies must be harmonized within the MAC before they can be finalized. Our duties and responsibilities are very clearly laid out, and there are no difficulties or obstacles in our work.

21 million opinions

Q: You not only have to coordinate the various ministries. There are great differences among political parties in Taiwan on the question of national identity and relations with the mainland. How will you build a consensus so that when you go out to face the Chinese Communists, there is not a lot of pulling and hauling among various interests going on behind your back?

A: You are right, this is a problem. You could say that it is a difficult position in which we find ourselves today. On their side, they speak with one voice, and policy is made from the top down. On our side, each of our 21 million people has the right to state his or her opinions. Indeed, as you just mentioned, there are problems even with the basic question of national identity. It is hard to negotiate under these conditions.

Therefore I hope there can be a consensus among citizens that we are acting for the well-being of all 21 million people, and we should have the viewpoint of being a community sharing a common fate. We should put the question of ultimate independence or reunification aside for now, and undertake practical exchanges between the two sides, so as to steadily build up positive interactions between the two sides.

Q: What concrete methods will the MAC try?

A: This requires ceaseless communication, coordination, and disseminating of information. I feel very gratified that after Jiang Zemin's "Eight Points" came out, the President stated that he wanted to broadly collect opinions from all points of view and draw on a broad range of wisdom. Therefore we held five seminars as well as discussions with the governing and opposition parties and independent legislators in the Legislative Yuan.

After having participated in these meetings, I feel that there is no one who does not take seriously and feel concerned about the security of our country. Everyone is stating their opinions from this same foundation. Although some people are optimistic and others are reserved, everyone is starting out from the same point. This situation pleases me, and at least some kind of consensus is taking shape. Of course, the process will be long and arduous, but it must still be undertaken.

Preparing for the post-Deng era

Q: You have said that you bring a personal sense of mission to the MAC. It is rumored that you were hesitant when the Premier first offered you this portfolio. Why? What do feel is the biggest challenge facing you?

A: I have spent all of my decades of public life in the field of economics and trade. The MAC is a highly politicized area, and, given my personality, I felt perhaps I might not be able to adapt. I am a can-do type of person. Though I have been a government official in name, I have always thought of myself as a technocrat. Therefore I didn't really expect this assignment.

But there are considerations behind the way personnel have been assigned in the government. I am grateful for the confidence Premier Lien has shown in me, and in giving me this important job he has presented me with a major challenge.

Having been given the job, I was determined to tackle it with a sense of mission. Cross-strait relations are simply too important, and they affect the future of the 21 million people of the Republic of China. Our foreign policy, domestic policy, economic policy, and defense policy are all intimately connected to cross-strait relations. Given the complexity of these connections, I am convinced that it will be of great help to the future of our country to see that my job goes smoothly. Therefore, I wanted to take on this challenge not for myself, but for my country, and do the job well.

Yet many friends told me that I could not succeed in this job merely because I have the qualifications and dedication to do so, and that my work could only progress smoothly if a number of objective factors fell into place. So I can only say that I will do the best that I can.

Q: You have just taken the helm at MAC, and given Deng Xiaoping's health it is unlikely he has long to live. Therefore it is very likely that the two sides of the strait will be faced with the transition to the post-Deng era sometime in your tenure. How do you feel about this? What counter-measures have already been devised?

A: I won't talk about my own feelings on this matter. I can only say that we are paying the closest attention to developments in mainland China. We collect information wherever we can, are doing research and analysis, and are working with the relevant agencies to map out policies that we may need to adopt in the future. But the time has not arrived, so we still cannot say anything for sure.

[Picture Caption]

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(photo by Hsueh Chi-kuang)

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Siew, who previously served as Minister of Economic Affairs, is well aware of the demands made, and the difficulties faced, by Taiwan's business community. The photo shows a business awards ceremony in 1992. (photo b y Tung Chun-fei)

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With direct transport between mainland China and Taiwan still prohibited, the government is looking into the possibility of creating an "offshore transshipment center" to reduce transportation costs for Taiwan businesses. (photo by Vincent Chang)

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