Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) got into an argument with former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) at a dinner for KMT top brass on Monday, sources said, amid a debate within the party about interpretations of the so-called “1992 consensus.”
Ma hosted the dinner for senior party members and former vice chairmen who served during his tenure as party chairman to discuss the “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted to making up in 2000 that refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese government that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
Sixteen high-level party officials were at the banquet, including former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), former KMT vice chairman Jason Hu (胡志強) and former KMT secretary-general King Pu-tsung (金溥聰).
Photo: Lin Cheng-kun, Taipei Times
A source at the dinner who declined to be named said Hung was seated directly across from Ma, but refused to make eye contact with him and arrived for at the event, which started at 6:30pm, at 7:40pm, citing fundraising activities for her lateness.
Discussions before Hung’s arrival were focused on party assets and “special party fees” that Hung proposed to address the issue of low funds, with Ma saying he would be willing to contribute NT$200,000, the source said.
After Hung’s arrival Ma, steered the discussion toward the “one China” issue, with the source quoting him as saying: “The 1992 consensus is essentially ‘one China, different interpretations.’”
The source added that Ma said he would “prefer to repeat himself rather than have this point overlooked.”
Hung avoided looking at Ma throughout the dinner and fixed her makeup whenever he spoke, the source said.
At one point, the source quoted Hung as saying to Ma: “I already know everything you’re saying, but negotiations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are complex.”
Ma said that he realized he might offend others by pressing the issue, but added that he is simply an old, retired man who genuinely wants to see the party caucus resolve the issue, the source said.
While no problems would arise from him not mentioning “one China, different interpretations” in the context of the “1992 consensus,” there are others who would cause problems by not explicitly using the entire phrase, Ma was quoted as saying.
The source said that while Ma was discussing the issue, Hung interjected, asking: “Does the 1992 consensus not also mention the issue of peaceful unification of both sides of the Taiwan Strait?”
Hung questioned Ma’s emphasis on “one China, different interpretations” while failing to bring up “unification,” the source added.
Another attendee told Hung she had confused the Guidelines for National Unification with the “1992 consensus,” showing Hung the details on a smartphone, the source said.
In an interview following the banquet, Ma told reporters that the KMT must be united on the issue of the “1992 consensus of one China, different interpretations.”
Hung’s “peace platform” that was passed last month mentioned a “deepening of the 1992 consensus,” but omitted any mention of “one China, different interpretations,” which sparked conflict within the party about the direction of cross-strait relations.
When asked by reporters whether Hung would mention “one China, different interpretations” in a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) next week, Ma said: “She understands completely. She heard everything [that Ma said].”
KMT Central Policy Committee director Alex Tsai (蔡正元) yesterday said local media used “sensational and dramatic language” in reports of the event.
High-level KMT officials invited to the event spent most of the time discussing the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee’s “illegal and unconstitutional” freezing of the party’s main bank account, Tsai said.
“At the banquet, Ma, maintaining his usual caring attitude toward the KMT, also explained to guests the reasons behind his painstaking effort to push for the ‘1992 consensus’ and the ‘one China, different interpretations’ formulation while in office,” Tsai said.
Additional reporting by Stacy Hsu
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