The war of words over the “Taiwan consensus” and the so-called “1992 consensus” continued yesterday as the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) described the former as “imaginary” and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) compared the latter to an “unauthorized construction.”
The DPP also said a story published yesterday by the Chinese-language China Times, which reported that DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in the US that unification was a potential -outcome of the “Taiwan consensus” she initiated, was an “overinterpretation” of Tsai’s comment.
Asked by reporters in New York whether unification would be one of her options, Tsai, who was in the middle of her 10-day US visit, said: “When I say I do not rule out any possibility, I mean it,” adding that the DPP would engage China with an open-minded approach if Taiwanese supported such an approach.
“The DPP upholds democratic values above everything else, which is why it asserts that the ‘Taiwan consensus’ would be a process that engages all parties in society,” DPP spokesman Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) told a press conference yesterday.
“However, that does not mean unification is the DPP’s preference or its position,” he said.
The DPP has always said that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country and any change in the “status quo” would require a referendum, he said.
In a press release, President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign office spokesperson Ma Wei-kuo (馬瑋國) said that Tsai, the DPP’s presidential candidate, had so far failed to clarify her China policy and it was irresponsible to ask people to come up with solutions on her behalf.
Democracy was the driving force behind Tsai’s China policy, embracing the need for comprehensive dialogue rather than providing people with fixed answers, DPP spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.
While President Ma said talk about a “Taiwan consensus” was “empty” and likened it to “pre-constructed homes” on Friday, Chen described the “1992 consensus” as “unauthorized constructions” because the so-called consensus was reached by the KMT and China without the consent of Taiwanese, and had never been subject to legislative monitoring.
“A fragile agreement like this could not withstand the multifaceted and wide-ranging cross-strait engagement that will be needed in the future,” Chen said.
At a speech on Saturday evening in San Francisco, Tsai said building a Taiwan consensus through a democratic process would involve the participation of all Taiwanese and was the right direction to take.
The DPP has its own clearly defined position on Taiwan’s national identity and engagement with China, but was willing to sit down with everyone, including the KMT, to work out a consensus, Tsai told more than 1,200 supporters at a rally in Northern California.
“That is the ‘Taiwan consensus’ I am talking about — a democratic process,” she said, adding that only those who refuse to accept “democratic reality” would say “a means to an end” was more important.
As crucial as China policy is to Taiwan’s national affairs, Ma was barking up the wrong tree in his repeated attempts to force the DPP to accept the “1992 consensus,” she said.
“At the end of the day, how Taiwan engages with China is the more important issue and Taiwanese do not ask for much. All they want is a peaceful relationship with China,” she said.