Policy is to consolidate ties with Taiwan
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.