President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) interpretation of the so-called “1992 consensus” has been tilting toward Beijing’s definition, as evidenced by his latest message to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), and that could spell trouble for Taiwan’s future, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday.
In his reply to Xi’s congratulatory letter for his re-election as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman on Saturday, Ma wrote that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait reached a consensus in 1992 to express each other’s insistence on the ‘one China’ principle.”
“The message marked the latest retreat Ma has made about the ‘1992 consensus.’ It was unacceptable and reflected that eventual unification is Ma’s vision of Taiwan’s future,” DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a press conference.
Ma has given up his ground over the years on the sensitive political term, which he and the KMT always called “the foundation of cross-strait peace and the most important element for the best cross-strait ties in six decades,” Gao said.
According to the lawmaker, Ma said he would not accept the “1992 consensus” if it referred to the “one China” principle in 2006. Two years later, Ma said both sides should not engage in talks if Beijing insisted on the “one China” principle.
In 2010, Ma described the “1992 consensus” as the foundation for the resumption of bilateral talks and in November last year, the president said it meant that both sides insisted that there is only “one China,” but interpreted the context of their argument differently, the lawmaker said.
Taiwan has always refused to accept the “one China” principle and maintained that the “1992 consensus” only expressed that “each side verbally states its respective principles on ‘one China.’”
The most commonly used explanation of the consensus for the Taiwanese government has been “one China with different interpretations” (一中各表), while Beijing’s position was shortened as “respective expressions on the ‘one China’ principle” (各表一中).
“However, the message on Saturday showed that Ma has taken one step closer to Beijing’s ideology by abandoning the ‘different interpretations’ and upholding the ‘one China’ principle,” Gao said.
The inappropriate reply was likely an attempt to pave the way for a possible meeting between Ma and Xi, DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said.
However, it was dangerous that Ma has made such a decision on Taiwan’s future alone, without respecting the opinions of the 23 million Taiwanese, Wu said.
“I don’t see how the people of Taiwan could not be angry over a message that unilaterally dictated the direction of this country without their consent,” he said.