The ruling parties on both sides of the Taiwan Strait agreed on Sunday to “make efforts to avoid mutual attrition” on the international stage. This was part of 17 “common views” reached between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the end of their annual two-day cross-strait economic, trade and cultural forum, the eighth since it was launched in 2006.
In a joint statement read by KMT Vice Chairman John Chiang (蔣孝嚴), the two parties said that since cross-strait ties are not “state-to-state ones,” both sides should work hard to avoid “internal attrition” and instead should engage in practical negotiations on an equal footing when it comes to foreign affairs.
However, Chiang’s comments on nationhood represent the view among more conservative KMT members and have little appeal to the majority of Taiwanese, whose support for unification continues to drop as self-identification as Taiwanese and support for independence grows, even under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration. Maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait continues to have majority support among Taiwanese.
High on the list of their common views are their anti-Taiwan independence stance and stress on the so-called “1992 consensus” — an alleged tacit agreement between the two governments that there is only one China, whose meaning to be interpreted by each side.
Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was in office when the agreement is alleged to have been reached, denies the existence of the consensus.
Based on their common anti-Taiwan independence stance and their emphasis on the so-called “1992 consensus,” the two sides will continue to promote dialogue and negotiations as well as the institutionalization of cross-strait exchanges, Chiang said.
He said the KMT and the CCP saw the need to gradually push for the establishment of an “overall office” on each side to handle various types of affairs. Currently, China and Taiwan have tourism promotion offices across the Strait.
The two parties also agreed to speed up follow-up talks on expanding joint projects under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), setting a target for the completion of talks on a trade services pact by the end of the year.
The two sides called for the signing of a cross-strait investment protection agreement as soon as possible, which is also part of a joint cooperation project under the ECFA that Taiwan considers an urgent task for protecting the interests of its business investors in China.
Other key points in the “common views” statement included calls for more extensive cultural exchanges between the two sides of the Strait and the institutionalization of such exchanges, including the sponsoring of a cross-strait cultural forum.