Fri, Feb 24, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Farewell to the `1992 consensus'

Poor old President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.

After being roundly panned over the years as the troublemakers who refused to accept and recognize the "1992 consensus" by the US, China and opposition parties, a ray of light finally broke through the mist on Tuesday when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Su Chi (蘇起) admitted that he made up the term "1992 consensus" in 2000 just before the transfer of power to the DPP government.

Su said he coined the phrase in the hope that the cross-strait deadlock could be broken and that both sides of the Strait could retain a "basis for dialogue."

But who was Su to decide what was best for Taiwan? Granted, at that time he was the chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, but it did not give him the right to just make something up, let alone make a decision on such a politically sensitive issue while keeping his boss -- then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) -- in the dark.

Just because Su personally believed that the term was good for the people of Taiwan did not mean it was necessarily so.

The transfer of power in 2000 could have been a great opportunity for Taiwan to step up the pace in its bid for nationhood. Yet, since then, the road has been extremely bumpy both domestically and internationally because of the shackles placed on the nation by Su and his fabricated "consensus."

During the 1992 meeting held in Hong Kong, China insisted on sticking to its "one China" principle while the representative of the KMT government stuck to "one China with each side having its own interpretation." No consensus was ever reached nor was any document signed under these premises.

When Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫), chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation, was asked whether there was such a thing as the "1992 consensus," he replied, " if you ask me, [it] does not exist."

Su insists today that although he made up the term, it worked out well as both the US and China accepted the phrase.

The question that needs asking now is: Why should the DPP government have to shoulder the responsibility for Su's lies?

Take the recent controversy over Taiwan's national title as an example, where the Republic of China (ROC) was crossed out in a program distributed at a concert where Chinese performers were present.

If a consensus on "one China with each side having its own interpretation" existed, then surely an event held in Taiwan would have every right to display the title, the ROC, without any objections.

Moreover, during former KMT chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) last May, Hu publicly stated that the meaning of "one China" in the "one China with each side having its own interpretation" was the People's Republic of China (PRC) -- with Lien standing dumbly beside him.

If the "1992 consensus" existed, why didn't Lien then stand up and rebuff Hu's comments?

If KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had any sense of respect for the public, he would hold a press conference and apologize for Su's deception. After all, Ma had nothing to do with the falsehood.

Instead, Ma today stood up and insisted there was a "1992 consensus." It seems that Ma's contempt for the public knows no bounds these days.

For the past six years or so, the pro-localization government in Taiwan has been struggling to walk freely because of these "1992 consensus" chains. Now that the truth is finally out, the DPP government should break free from these ideological shackles and get back to building Taiwan's national consciousness.

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