Thu, Sep 22, 2011 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: No such thing as a consensus

The recent volley of criticism launched by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his re-election campaign manager King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) against Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) proposed “Taiwan consensus” ironically illustrated the absurdity of Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) insistence that the so-called “1992 consensus” exists.

During a gathering with his Facebook friends in Kaohsiung on Saturday, Ma criticized the DPP presidential candidate’s proposal to form a “Taiwan consensus” to replace the “1992 consensus” as the basis for cross-strait negotiation, saying that “maintaining cross-strait security is an important matter that pertains to both sides, and as such, both sides need to form a consensus, which can’t be achieved just because Taiwan [unilaterally] says so.”

Meanwhile, during his visit to the US to solicit support for Ma’s re-election bid, King ridiculed Tsai’s “Taiwan consensus,” describing it as “unilateralism that’s overblown.”

If only Ma and King could see how easily their criticism of Tsai’s idea can be applied to their “1992 consensus.”

While Ma and King say that a cross-strait consensus cannot reflect what Taiwan wants, have they not noticed that only their insistence on the “1992 consensus” is simply a manifestation of what they want?

While Ma and the KMT insist that the “1992 consensus” was an understanding reached during a meeting in Hong Kong in 1992 in which both sides acknowledged there was “one China” with each side having its own interpretation of what “one China” means, statements by Beijing officials, including those of Taiwan Affairs Office Chairman Wang Yi (王毅), have clearly debunked the idea of a “1992 consensus” with any alternate interpretations other than there just being “one China.”

Given the blatant differences in their respective understandings of what the “1992 consensus” actually involves, it is nothing but the overblown unilateralism that they have accused Tsai’s “Taiwan consensus” of being.

In his attack on Tsai’s idea of legalizing a “Taiwan consensus,” King said that Tsai has previously referred to the Republic of China (ROC) as a -“government-in-exile.” King challenged Tsai to explain how she would form a consensus and turn it into law if she does not recognize the ROC or respect its Constitution.

Interestingly, the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Social Sciences earlier this month completed a 36-volume work on the history of the ROC. In line with China’s long-standing position that the ROC ceased to exist in 1949, none of the volumes mention the development of the ROC in Taiwan after 1949.

Should King’s logic stand, wouldn’t it also be strange for Beijing to strike a “1992 consensus” with an ROC the existence of which it does not acknowledge?

In view of a spate of recent incidents denigrating Taiwan — the WHO letter to the European Parliament’s Taiwan Friendship Group saying that its consistent policy has been to refer to the nation as “Taiwan, China”; the Venice Film festival’s labeling of the Taiwan-produced film Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale as made in “China, Taiwan” — it is obvious that a cross-strait consensus does not exist.

It is already pathetic that the Ma government believes in a consensus that does not really exist, but it is downright chicken-hearted when the government knows that it has been taken advantage of, but takes no action to correct the situation.

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