Saying there are many “olive branches” and good will in her recently announced policy on China, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged China to re-examine and deal with her proposed “Taiwan consensus,” which she said best serves the interests of both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
“It serves both Taiwan and China’s interests if China can deal with all Taiwanese and their opinions, which is what we call a ‘Taiwan consensus,’ instead of working only with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in terms of the ‘1992 consensus,’” the DPP presidential candidate said.
The so-called “1992 consensus” refers to what the KMT describes as a tacit understanding reached between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait that “there is only one China with each side free to interpret what that means.”
Tsai made the remarks yesterday in response to China’s criticism of her cross-strait policy.
In a statement on its Web site, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Tsai’s policy, which denied the existence of the so-called “1992 consensus,” was unrealistic and cannot be accepted by the mainland.”
“Once put in place, it would mean there would be no way for cross-strait consultations to proceed, and once more there would be upheaval in relations,” it said, adding that “all the facts show that the DPP has still not changed its ‘Taiwan independence’ position of ‘one country on either side [of the Taiwan Strait].’”
Saying that China’s criticism was not unexpected, Tsai yesterday advised the Chinese government “to review the policy — which actually has many olive branches and goodwill in it — more carefully.”
There must be rationalists in China, she said, adding that the Chinese should look at the cross-strait issue “in a larger context as well as from a higher perspective,” otherwise a solid foundation of exchanges cannot be established.
Tsai also called for the KMT to change its approach to handling cross-strait issues through “sorting out its priorities” and seeking a consensus from Taiwanese through a democratic mechanism before engaging in talks with China.
In the past three years, cross-strait negotiations carried out by the KMT administration under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had always been non-transparent and evaded monitoring by the legislature, Tsai said.
What was worse, was that the KMT then demanded — and even threatened — the opposition party and Taiwanese to accept the agreements they had signed, she added.
“This is not what a democratic political party is supposed to do. The KMT should always stand on the side of Taiwanese,” Tsai said.