Fri, Oct 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Cross-Strait Relations: Ma urges Tsai to return to ‘1992 consensus’

ERROR OF OMISSION?Former president Ma Ying-jeou said President Tsai Ing-Wen’s failure to mention the Constitution could lead to misunderstandings

By William Hetherington  /  Staff writer, with CNA

From left, former president Ma Ying-jeou, former Chinese Nationalist Party chairman Wu Poh-hsiung and KMT vice chairman Tseng Yung-chuan yesterday attend an event in Taipei commemorating the 30th anniversary of Taiwan’s lifting of the ban on veterans visiting China in 1987.

Photo: CNA

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday issued a four-point suggestion for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to improve the deteriorating cross-strait ties, as several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) heavyweights commemorated the anniversary of Taiwan’s lifting of the ban on veterans visiting China in 1987, which paved the way for decades of warmer ties across the Taiwan Strait.

Ma made the comments at a KMT-sponsored commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the historical event, which was also attended by KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), KMT vice chairmen Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) and Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), and former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄).

Ma said cross-strait relations had worsened over the past year-and-a-half to the point that they are now a source of great apprehension.

He called on the Tsai administration to “return to the Constitution, return to the ‘1992 consensus,’ oppose Taiwanese independence and peacefully develop [cross-strait relations].”

The so-called “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and Beijing that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means. Former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) said in 2006 that he had made up the term in 2000.

According to the constitution, cross-strait relations are relations between two areas of the Republic of China, Ma said.

On the basis of this understanding, the “1992 consensus” that allowed both sides to have different interpretations of “one China” emerged, he said, adding that those ideas allowed cross-strait relations to develop smoothly and unhindered.

Ma also stressed the gravity of Tsai’s failure to mention the constitution or the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) in her Double Ten National Day speech, as she had done during a US trip two years ago and during her inauguration last year.

“I hope it was just an oversight. If it was intentional, then it is very serious,” he said.

Both sides of the Strait must go back to the “1992 consensus” if the relationship is to be saved, he said.

“The ‘1992 consensus’ is very important to Taiwan. It gives Taiwan space to develop, but the Democratic Progressive Party does not accept it,” he said.

Ma said that Tsai used to abide by the “1992 consensus” when she was minister of the Mainland Affairs Council in 2000, but she has not acknowledged the formula since taking office.

The former president also called on the Tsai administration to oppose Taiwanese independence.

“Individuals can advocate independence as part of free speech, but for the head of the highest executive body to advocate independence in the Legislative Yuan is a very serious matter,” Ma said in reference to comments by Premier William Lai (賴清德).

“For the premier to advocate independence and the president to omit mention of the Constitution or cross-strait relations in her National Day speech will bring about misunderstanding,” he said, adding: “Cross-strait relations are already in a slump. Restoring warm relations in the future is going to be harder and harder.”

Ma said that completely breaking away from China is impossible, adding that not every nation that declares independence will be recognized by the world.

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