Vice president-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday set three prerequisites for Taiwan and China to enter political talks: sincerity and goodwill on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, national consensus and public support.
Wu, who is accompanying a delegation of about 60 officials, is attending this year’s Boao Asia Forum as the top consultant for the Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation.
After the official forum opening yesterday morning, Wu said in an interview with Taiwanese media that those three factors were key to whether the two sides could conduct political talks.
“Talk of trust builds harmony,” Wu said, citing a passage from the Li Yun Da Tong chapter (禮運大同篇) of the Book of Rites (禮記), adding that he hoped the two sides of the Taiwan Strait would be able “to increase mutual trust and create harmonious relations.”
As for achieving a national -consensus, Wu said this was of the utmost importance because without such a consensus, dialogue would be difficult.
Wu said that once the prerequisites were ready, such talks would still require legislative oversight and popular support.
“A timetable for top administrative [officials] to conduct talks across the Strait is not in sight,” he said.
Speaking of the presidential elections on Jan. 14, Wu said that although the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) won the election, the results showed that there were still 6 million people who did not support the KMT.
Every move in cross-strait interaction should be made with empathy and should respect the differing opinions of those 6 million Taiwanese, Wu said, adding that some efforts should be made to assuage the doubts of the opposition party.
“We should not make a rash move and should let cross-strait relations accrue enough consensus and goodwill,” Wu said.
“Some things across the Strait are just not ripe for talks at this point,” he said.
The so-called “1992 consensus” matches our goals and tolerates differences, Wu said, adding that “a democratic society can be built” on such a foundation.
Asked to comment on former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung’s (吳伯雄) comments about “one country, two areas” last month, Wu said that “right now, the concept of ‘cross-strait’ [relations] is on everyone’s lips and mind,” but we can only “go far on a stable course,” implying that cross-strait ties would still be based on economics first, politics second.