If the ‘1992 Consensus’ not kept, ROC’s position to change: scholar
Taiwan’s strategic situation will need to change toward stronger partnerships with the United States and Japan if the new administration in 2016 does not accept the “1992 Consensus,” a political scholar said Wednesday.
Wu Yu-shan, a researcher at the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica, said that no matter who wins the 2016 presidential election next year, Beijing will be more concerned about whether Taiwan will maintain the “1992 Consensus.”
The “1992 Consensus” is defined by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) as referring to a tacit agreement reached between Taiwan and China in 1992 that there is only one China, with each side free to interpret its meaning.
Wu made the remarks on the sidelines of the 2015 East Asian Maritime Peace Forum in Taipei.
He noted that the KMT administration, on one hand, sides with the United States diplomatically, but on the other hand, takes a position acceptable to Beijing in order to avoid risk.
Wu pointed out that if Tsai Ingwen — the presidential candidate of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who is ahead of the KMT’s candidate in public opinion polls — wins the election next year, her position on cross-Taiwan Strait relations will decide Taiwan’s strategic po- sition next year.
If Taiwan stops tilting toward China, it will return to the situation seen between 2000 and 2008, when cross-strait relations were strained under the previous DPP administration, he said.
But if the DPP, which favors Taiwan independence, can think of something that will not cause Beijing to lose face and will respond to DPP supporters at the same time, then the problem could be solved, he said.
Wu said that Taiwan’s strategic position after the 2016 presidential election can have only two options: maintain the current compromise course with China to avoid risk; and if risk regarding China cannot be avoided, then Taiwan will have to tilt toward the United States and Japan to form stronger partnerships.
On whether Taiwan’s economic performance will become a major factor in the 2016 presidential election, Wu said that President Ma Ying-jeou won two consecutive terms because the public had high expectations of Taiwan’s economy.
He noted that dividends that the Ma administration has reaped from its cross-strait policy have not been able to sustain the island’s economic momentum.
Voters more concerned about the economy are unlikely to support the KMT in view of the current economic situation, he said.