If the much-debated claim by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that Taiwan adhering to the so-called “1992 consensus” allows for the recognition of the Republic of China (ROC) on equal footing with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) internationally ever held water before, it does not now.
After the meeting between KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday in Beijing, the “1992 consensus” — the formula allegedly agreed to by the two sides of the Taiwan Strait in 1992, which, by the KMT’s definition, entails recognizing “one China, with different interpretations” — has nothing left of the original, ambiguous concept except “one China.”
On Wednesday last week, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) warned the public of the consequences of not complying with the “1992 consensus.” Ma’s speech was similar to the warning Xi sent to Taiwan at the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference on March 3. Chu, at the Chu-Xi meeting, also echoed Xi’s position.
Xi, in the statement, defined the “core element” of the “1992 consensus” as “the mainland and Taiwan belonging to the same ‘one China.’” Chu yesterday used the exact same words as Xi when he explained what he said was the meaning of the “1992 consensus” — that the consensus reached in 1992 was that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to the same one China, with differences in its connotation.”
It comes as no surprise that Chu continues to worship at the shrine of the “1992 consensus.” He has repeatedly said that it remains the foundation upon which progress in cross-strait relations has been advanced. However, it was absolutely unnecessary for Chu to go one step further and redefine the “1992 consensus” on Beijing’s terms and to Beijing’s liking.
Chu could have just repeated the KMT’s definition of the “1992 consensus.” However, he chose to dispense with the part about “different interpretations” and highlight the “one China” component. Chu could have told Xi that China’s ever-increasing suppression of Taiwan’s international space runs counter to the “1992 consensus.” He could have said any number of things. However, not only did he fail to mention anything about that, he wanted to see the application of the “1992 consensus” expanded into Taiwan’s participation in international affairs.
Before the Chu-Xi meeting, KMT sources said in private (and Ma in public) that Chu aimed to use the occasion to “consolidate” and “deepen” the “1992 consensus.” If the statement Chu delivered at the meeting was how he did that, the KMT has betrayed its commitment to the “1992 consensus,” which did not even exist before then-Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) made it up in 2000.
If China’s assertion that Taiwan and China belong to the same “one China” is acceptable, on what grounds can Taiwan ensure its right to participate in international organizations or to negotiate with its trading partners when its attempts to do so are rejected because of the “one China” principle?
Maybe this is not a problem that the chairman of a pro-China party cares about. Maybe Chu might as well defend himself with a bit of help from other attendants of the closed-door Chu-Xi meeting by saying that he did mention to Xi that the “1992 consensus” refers to “one China, with different interpretations,” as he said at the post-meeting news conference.
Nevertheless, Chu has left the impression that he dare not speak up for the interests of Taiwan if they are unpleasant and unfavorable to Xi in public. This leads to another question: Will Chu be able to put cross-strait relations on a track that can benefit society as a whole — and not just a privileged few — as he has promised?
China has long sought shortcuts to developing semiconductor technologies and local supply chains by poaching engineers and experts from Taiwan and other nations. It is also suspected of stealing trade secrets from Taiwanese and US firms to fulfill its ambition of becoming a major player in the global semiconductor industry in the next decade. However, it takes more than just money and talent to build a semiconductor supply chain like the one which Taiwan and the US started to cultivate more than 30 years ago. Amid rising trade and technology tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, Beijing has become
With a new White House document in May — the “Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China” — the administration of US President Donald Trump has firmly set its hyper-competitive line to tackle geoeconomic and geostrategic rivalry, followed by several reinforcing speeches by Trump and other Cabinet-level officials. By identifying China as a near-equal rival, the strategy resonates well with the bipartisan consensus on China in today’s severely divided US. In the face of China’s rapidly growing aggression, the move is long overdue, yet relevant for the maintenance of the international “status quo.” The strategy seems to herald a new
To say that this year has been eventful for China and the rest of the world would be something of an understatement. First, the US-China trade dispute, already simmering for two years, reached a boiling point as Washington tightened the noose around China’s economy. Second, China unleashed the COVID-19 pandemic on the world, wreaking havoc on an unimaginable scale and turning the People’s Republic of China into a common target of international scorn. Faced with a mounting crisis at home, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) rashly decided to ratchet up military tensions with neighboring countries in a misguided attempt to divert the
Toward the end of former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) final term in office, there was much talk about his legacy. Ma himself would likely prefer history books to enshrine his achievements in reducing cross-strait tensions. He might see his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore in 2015 as the high point. However, given his statements in the past few months, he might be remembered more for contributing to the breakup of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). We are still talking about Ma and his legacy because it is inextricably tied to the so-called “1992 consensus” as the bedrock of his