The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday urged Beijing to refrain from setting political preconditions for cross-strait exchanges and Taiwan’s participation in international bodies, after China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming’s (陳德銘) said that the so-called “1992 consensus” was an indispensable basis for them to happen.
“Cross-strait exchanges and Taiwan’s participation in international bodies concern the rights and welfare of our people, and both have received positive feedbacks from the international community,” the council said in a statement.
Urging Beijing to be pragmatic, demonstrate goodwill and stop setting any political preconditions for cross-strait interactions, the council said only through communication, dialogue and cooperation can the two sides of the Taiwan Strait iron out their differences and build mutual trust.
The council made the remarks following the publication on Sunday of an interview with Chen by Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao in Singapore, in which Chen said that given President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) refusal to follow the footsteps of her predecessor in acknowledging the “1992 consensus,” it is self-evident that she has failed to maintain the cross-strait “status quo” as pledged.
“You [Tsai] should be clear about this rather than letting us guess. You have claimed to want to maintain the status quo, but the status quo is that both sides of the Taiwan Strait engage with each other based on the ‘1992 consensus,’” Chen said in the interview.
Chen added that cross-strait negotiations must be conducted before Taiwan could attend an international assembly or a multilateral event, but such negotiations could only occur under the basis of the “1992 consensus” or a recognition that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China.”
As Taipei is still waiting for an invitation to this year’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assembly, which is to begin on Tuesday at the organization’s headquarters in Montreal, Canada, Chen’s remarks have been interpreted as a warning by China that the invitation would never arrive unless Tsai acknowledges the “1992 consensus.”
The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted that he made up in 2000 — refers to a supposed understanding reached during cross-strait talks in 1992 that both Taiwan and China acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
The council said being able to participate in international organizations and events is the right and obligation of Taiwan and also the expectation of its people.
“At present, there is a possibility that cross-strait ties could develop in a pragmatic manner. Normal exchanges between both sides of the Taiwan Strait are conducive to increasing the emotional bond among people on both sides and their welfare, and to global cooperation on functional issues,” the council said.
The council said the government has expressed an inclination to attend this year’s ICAO assembly, adding that it is willing to communicate with Beijing to seek its support and goodwill.
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