Pol­icy is to con­sol­i­date ties with Tai­wan

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

At a press con­fer­ence onWed­nes­day, Premier Li Ke­qiang again ad­dressed the im­por­tance of 1992 Con­sen­sus, echo­ing top leader Xi Jin­ping’s re­marks ear­lier this month at a panel dis­cus­sion on the sig­nif­i­cance of the con­sen­sus, which ex­plic­itly de­scribe the na­ture of crossS­traits re­la­tions and are cru­cial to the long-term de­vel­op­ment of cross-Straits ties.

In his re­marks made at the dis­cus­sion with Shang­hai del­e­ga­tion, Xi warned against the el­e­ments seek­ing “Tai­wan in­de­pen­dence”, say­ing the tragedy of na­tional se­ces­sion will never be al­lowed.

Li, too, has said that the main­land will con­tinue to ad­here to the 1992 Con­sen­sus as the political foun­da­tion of cross-Straits ties and pro­mote ex­changes in di­verse fields with Tai­wan com­pa­tri­ots.

In fact, main­land lead­ers have been re­it­er­at­ing the im­por­tance of the 1992 Con­sen­sus for cross-Straits affairs. Apart from the his­toric 1992 Con­sen­sus, this time Xi also stressed the con­sis­tency and clar­ity of the main­land’s cross-Straits pol­icy, sig­nal­ing a timely re­sponse to “the change in Tai­wan’s political sit­u­a­tion”.

Tsai Ing-wen, chair­woman of the Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party, won the is­land’s lead­er­ship elec­tion in Jan­uary and is sched­uled to take of­fice in­May. Yet she re­mains am­bigu­ous about her stance on the 1992 Con­sen­sus, only ex­press­ing her wish to “main­tain the sta­tus quo” in cross-Straits re­la­tions.

Over the past eight years, un­der the lead­er­ship of Kuom­intang, Tai­wan has seen an in­creas­ing num­ber of be­nign ex­changes with the main­land. That ex­plains why some have ex­pressed con­cern over whether the main­land would com­pro­mise its stance on the 1992 Con­sen­sus af­ter the DPP as­sumes power.

Xi’s lat­est re­marks on cross-Straits affairs has made it clear that only by ac­knowl­edg­ing the 1992 Con­sen­sus and ac­cept­ing its core con­tents will the two sides share the political com­mon ground as well as peace­ful de­vel­op­ment.

In­deed, both sides have some dif­fer­ences on the elab­o­ra­tion of the “one-China prin­ci­ple”, based on which the 1992 Con­sen­sus was agreed upon. The key con­cept, in fact, could serve as the political foun­da­tion of both sides and a per­ma­nent booster for fre­quent ex­changes, even un­der dif­fer­ent names, as long as the his­tor­i­cal role of the 1992 Con­sen­sus (not the “1992 Talks”) and its core con­tents are ac­knowl­edged — the main­land and Tai­wan be­long to one China.

In this sense, as Xi im­plied in his over­ture, the main­land wants those politi­cians and par­ties on the is­land that are yet to fully ac­knowl­edge the 1992 Con­sen­sus to take a step for­ward in im­prov­ing the liveli­hoods of com­pa­tri­ots on both sides and strength­en­ing sta­bil­ity across the Straits.

Xi also said the main­land will fur­ther pro­mote cross-Straits co­op­er­a­tion and ex­changes in all fields, deepen eco­nomic and so­cial in­te­gra­tion, and en­hance the sense of a com­mu­nity of com­mon des­tiny. Such re­marks are a clear mes­sage that the main­land is will­ing to pro­mote cross-Straits ties for the sake of com­pa­tri­ots across the Straits who “should not be let down”.

Hope­fully, the is­land’s in­com­ing leader will get the gist of the main­land’s good­will ges­ture, and re­frain from hurt­ing the cross-Straits re­la­tion­ship.

The au­thor is di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Cross-Straits Re­la­tions at Bei­jing Union Univer­sity.

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