Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) speech on his nation’s Taiwan policy contained nothing new, two former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) officials said on Wednesday.
In an e-mailed reply to the Central News Agency, former AIT chairman Richard Bush said that he has not read the English translation of Xi’s speech, but judging from media reports, it mainly reiterated China’s long-standing policy.
“My impression, from media accounts, is that this is a reiteration of many or all of the key elements of long-standing PRC [People’s Republic of China] policy,” Bush wrote.
Former AIT director Douglas Paal, who is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that Xi delivered the speech at a gathering marking the 40th anniversary of the “message to compatriots in Taiwan,” in which Beijing called for unification and an end to military confrontation.
“This is the 40th anniversary of Ye Jianying’s [葉劍英] speech on future reunification and so Beijing feels a need to restate its policy. I don’t make out anything really new so far,” Paal wrote.
Commenting on Xi’s reiteration of the “one country, two systems” formula, Paal said: “I think Xi reiterated standing policy, and from his point of view, things are moving slowly in China’s direction.”
Paal also said that he does not expect to see major changes in cross-strait relations.
“I expect more of the same from both Beijing and Taipei. Neither sees much benefit in changing course,” he wrote.
In his speech, Xi called for unification under the “one country, two systems” formula and defined the so-called “1992 consensus” as being based on the “one China” principle and aiming for “national unification.”
Both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China and should work toward unification under the “one China” principle, Xi said.
“We have never accepted the ‘1992 consensus,’” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told a news conference later on Wednesday. “The fundamental reason is because the ‘1992 consensus’ as defined by Beijing is in fact the ‘one China’ principle and ‘one China, two systems’ formula.”
“Taiwan will never accept the ‘one China, two systems’ formula, and the vast majority of Taiwanese are firmly opposed to the approach designed by Beijing,” she said, adding that Xi’s speech proved that “Taiwan’s misgivings are correct.”
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