The “mutual non-denial” concept advocated by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was not supported by Chinese officials and academics who were simply “not denying that for now,” several US cables released by WikiLeaks on Aug. 30 showed.
“There is still ‘not public consensus’ on the issue on the Mainland,” Li Li, director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office’s overseas affairs office, was quoted as saying in a cable dated Dec. 5, 2008, and issued from the US embassy in Beijing.
Li said that “if ‘mutual non--denial’ simply means that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] does not deny the fact of Taiwan’s existence, then Beijing could accept that. The PRC is not ready, however, to be explicit about what Taiwan is,” the cable showed.
“China cannot accept that Taiwan is a country or that the Republic of China exists,” Li said.
“Moreover, if China were to not deny the existence of the Republic of China, then it would be accepting the existence of two Chinas, which it cannot do. Other ideas about how to define Taiwan, such as a political entity or autonomous authority, have not gained acceptance in the PRC,” Li was quoted as saying.
Li made the remarks at a meeting with US policy officials at the embassy following a visit by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) to Taiwan in early November that year, which at the time was interpreted by the Ma administration as an example of “mutual non-denial.”
ARATS Vice Chairman Sun Yafu (孫亞夫) was quoted by the same cable as saying that “Ma was under ‘intense pressure’ and kept pushing recognition of his ‘mutual non-denial’ before a meeting between Chen and him was to be conducted during Chen’s stay in Taipei.”
In another cable dated Nov. 25, 2008, from the embassy, it said its “mainland contact insisted that there has been no ‘formal’ acceptance of the concept.”
Peng Weixue (彭維學) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, nevertheless told the embassy officials “that the Ma-Chen meeting does in some sense demonstrate Beijing’s ‘tacit acceptance’ of the ‘mutual non-denial’ concept,” the leaked cable said.
“But the issue still remains a ‘sensitive political topic’ in China that is best dealt with ‘later.’ Therefore, for now, China is simply ‘not denying mutual non-denial,’” the cable quoted Peng as saying.
Zhou Zhihuai (周志懷), vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Taiwan Studies, also declined to deny mutual denial, the came cable said.
“He noted that even a ‘relatively simple’ issue such as the three links took 30 years to complete, so it follows that ‘difficult political issues,’ such as sovereignty, international space and security issues, as well as ‘mutual non-denial,’ will take a ‘long time’ to resolve,” Zhou was quoted as saying.
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