Taiwan leader hedges on Consensus
A Chinese mainland official urged Taiwan to adhere to the one-China principle and accept the 1992 Consensus, in response to a recent interview by overseas media of the island’s newleader.
Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said on Friday that the 1992 Consensus is the political foundation for peaceful cross-Straits ties.
The remarks followed the publication of an interview with Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ingwen in The Washington Post on Thursday.
Asked whether the mainland has a deadline by which the Chinese central government wants her to agree to the 1992 Consensus, Tsai said it’s unlikely that Taiwan will accept a deadline for conditions that are against the will of the people.
Taiwan media organizations said it was the first time that Tsai had in anyway clarified her stance on the issue since she took office.
In his statement on Friday, Ma reiterated that only by sticking to the 1992 Consensus and its core meaning — that both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to one and the same China — can the two sides ensure the peaceful and stable development of cross- Straits relations.
“Mainstream public opinion on both sides of the Taiwan Straits supports maintaining peaceful ties,” he said.
“Only by recognizing this political foundation, which embodies the one-China policy”, can institutional communication continue between the two sides, he said, pointing specifically to the liaison and communication mechanism between the Taiwan Affairs Office and Taiwan’s mainland affairs authority, and the consultation and negotiation mechanism between the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation.
Liu Xiangping, head of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at NanjingUniversity, saidTsai’s attitude toward the 1992 Consensus in the interview will inflame tensions with the mainland. He said Tsai’s statements will further distance the two sides and may hamper cross-Straits economic ties.
The mainland will continue to observe Tsai’s behavior and words, but with stricter standards — “which means that the space for flexibility is diminishing”, Liu said. Xinhua contributed to this story.