China warned the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday that its stance on relations with Beijing could threaten a hard-won state of peaceful coexistence.
China has slowly ramped up the rhetoric ahead of the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections, offering both economic incentives and making veiled threats that a vote for the DPP would harm vital trade ties.
Beijing will be hoping that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), who has signed a series of landmark agreements with Beijing since he became president in 2008, gets back into office and continues his policy of detente.
China has made little secret of its distaste for the DPP, even as its candidate, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), tries to lay out a more moderate line than former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
Speaking at a regular news briefing, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Yang Yi (楊毅) yesterday said a return to those days would be a disaster. Chen held office from 2000 to 2008.
“Upholding the ‘Taiwan independence’ platform of one country on either side of the Taiwan Strait would be a step backward into the era of Chen Shui-bian and that would inevitably threaten the peaceful development of cross-strait ties,” Yang said.
Yang repeated that whoever is in charge must accept the so-called “1992 consensus.” The DPP says the “1992 consensus” does not exist.
“Denying the ‘1992 consensus’ will wreck the basis for cross-strait consultations, which will of course be unable to continue,” Yang said.
“I will not make any comments about the election, [but] we still hope that compatriots on both sides of the Strait will work hard to maintain the current good trend of the peaceful development of relations,” he added.
Yang also announced that Taiwanese will be able to apply to set up small businesses, called “individual industrial and commercial households,” in China.
The first locations opening to Taiwanese will be Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, as well as Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Hubei and Sichuan provinces, with businesses limited to eateries and retail.
According to Chinese law, an “individual industrial and commercial household” refers to natural persons or families running such an industrial and commercial operation, and they can only operate businesses allowed by the relevant laws and policies.
Additional reporting by CNA