Mainland Affairs Council Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) yesterday dismissed a recent suggestion by Kao Yu-jen (高育仁), father-in-law of New Taipei City Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), that Chu should embark on political talks with Beijing.
“The time is not yet right for Taiwan and China to enter political negotiations, as there is a lack of consensus on the issue at home and a lack of mutual trust across the [Taiwan] Strait,” Hsia told an Internal Administration Committee meeting when fielding questions from Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) at the legislature.
Chen asked Hsia about the remarks made by Kao, who was commenting on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) statement on Wednesday last week that emphasized the importance of Taiwan’s political leaders adhering to the so-called “1992 consensus” by saying that rejection of the “common political basis” would bring about volatility and instability in cross-strait relations.
The “1992 consensus,” embraced by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, is a term then-KMT legislator Su Chi (蘇起) admitted in 2006 that he made up in 2000, when he was former Mainland Affairs Commission chairman. It refers to a supposed understanding between the KMT and the Chinese government that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what that means.
In an interview with reporters on Saturday, Kao said that either Ma or Chu meeting with Xi would ease cross-strait tensions, and that Chu should “go beyond” adherence to the “1992 consensus” and proceed with opening cross-strait negotiations on political issues.
“Kao Yu-jen is dictating Eric Chu’s policy. Do you listen to President Ma or Chairman Chu?” Chen asked Hsia.
Hsia said that he, as a Republic of China government official, would follow the government’s policy rather than that of the party, adding that what Kao said was “his personal view.”
Xi’s statement, delivered at a panel discussion with members of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, was the focus of a front-page story on the Chinese-language United Daily News on Thursday last week, which said the repercussions of the “1992 consensus” being challenged would “trigger an earthquake and topple hills” (didong shanyao, 地動山搖).
KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) asked Hsia for his opinion on Xi’s warning to Taiwan and the way it was phrased.
“Of course we are not comfortable with [didong shanyao],” Hsia said. “What he [Xi] meant was that a denial of the ‘1992 consensus’ and [the pursuit of] Taiwanese independence would severely damage cross-strait relations.”
In related news, when responding to questions from Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Chou Ni-an (周倪安) about China’s proposed M503 flight route, Hsia said that the council would continue to negotiate with China in the hope of convincing it to move the flight route further west.
China on Jan. 12 announced that it would open the M503 route, which comes close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait, along with three other flight routes.
However, it later agreed to postpone the starting date and to move the M503 route westward by 6 nautical miles (11.1km) following protests from Taiwan.
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