Reiterating the importance of the so-called “1992 consensus” and anti-independence efforts as the foundation of cross-strait cooperation, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said he hoped that both sides of the Taiwan Strait can go from “feeling as close as one family” (一家親) to “becoming actual family members” (一家人).
Hau made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 10th annual Straits Forum in Xiamen, China.
The forum aims to boost private-sector exchanges across the Taiwan Strait and is this year focused on four areas: youth, grassroots, cultural and economic exchanges.
Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Chairman Wang Yang (汪洋) attended the forum after meeting with Hau earlier in the day.
“The predecessor to the Straits Forum was the Forum on the Economic Zone on the Western Coast of the Taiwan Straits, which began 13 years ago amid tumultuous cross-strait relations and in response to the desire of people on both sides for peace and interactions,” Hau said in his address.
Thanks to the KMT’s unwavering adherence to the “1992 consensus” and opposition to Taiwanese independence, cross-strait relations improved during the party’s eight years in office from 2008 to 2016, including the launch of regular cross-strait passenger flights in 2009, the deepening of people-to-people interactions and the signing of 23 cross-strait accords, he said.
“However, due to reasons we are all aware of, the situation across the Taiwan Strait has become unstable and the achievements accumulated over the years are at stake,” Hau said, citing as an example the decline in the number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan from 3.98 million in 2015 to 2.73 million last year.
Beijing and the KMT have blamed the deteriorating relations on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) refusal to acknowledge the “1992 consensus,” which refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
Beijing has not acknowledged the “different interpretations” part and has only mentioned the “one China” element in its references to the “1992 consensus.”
Former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted that he made up the term in 2000.
Due to the perceived disparity between the KMT’s and Beijing’s definition of the “1992 consensus,” Hau’s remarks at the forum and at his meeting with Wang were closely watched.
As widely expected, he did not bring up the “different interpretations” component, despite mentioning the “1992 consensus” a total of five times in the two speeches.
In light of the current cross-strait stalemate, the KMT and the CCP should continue their partnership based on the “1992 consensus” and shared opposition to Taiwanese independence, while ensuring that the agreements signed by both sides continue to be observed, Hau said.
“[These agreements] are solemn promises made by both sides of the Taiwan Strait to their people. They are also indispensable preconditions for Beijing’s 31 incentives designed to promote cross-strait economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation to really have an effect,” Hau said.
He also expressed his hope that both sides, given their similar language and ethnicity, could evolve into actual family members.
Hau led a delegation of KMT members, lawmakers and academics who departed for China on Monday and are scheduled to return to Taiwan tonight.
Wang said at the forum that the “one China” principle is the “political foundation of cross-strait relations” and that the “1992 consensus” is the key to ensuring peace across the Taiwan Strait.
“Since 2016, the Democratic Progressive Party has allowed certain people to carry out a series of measures aimed at desinicization and has thwarted cross-strait exchanges and cooperation, while a small number of Taiwanese independence advocates have tried to prevent the development of a peaceful cross-strait relationship,” Wang said, adding that this has led to a standoff between the two sides.
Taiwanese independence advocates and their campaigns are a threat to China’s sovereignty and peace across the Taiwan Strait, he said, adding that they must be opposed.
“Any attempt to challenge the ‘one China’ principle and any trick and measure performed in the hope of realizing independence are doomed to fail,” he said.
Additional reporting by Chung Li-hua
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