Sat, Jan 05, 2019 - Page 3 News List

EU reiterates support for nation’s democracy

Staff writer, with CNA, BRUSSELS

The EU on Thursday said that it would continue to develop relations with Taiwan and support the shared values that underpin the nation’s system of governance, following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) speech on Wednesday, when he said China retains the right to use force to achieve unification with Taiwan.

“The EU has a strong stake in the security, peace and stability of Asia, including across the Taiwan Strait,” an EU spokesperson said in an e-mailed response to the Central News Agency, which sought comment on Xi’s speech. “We support the constructive development of relations between mainland China and Taiwan as part of the peaceful development of the Asia-Pacific region.”

“Unfortunately, cross-strait relations have remained frozen in the past two years,” the spokesperson said, adding that it is important to maintain the “status quo,” to restart cross-strait dialogue and to exercise restraint.

“Initiatives aimed at promoting dialogue, cooperation and confidence-building between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are to be encouraged,” the spokesperson said.

Reiterating the EU’s “one China” policy, the spokesperson said: “We are committed to continuing to develop our relations with Taiwan and to supporting the shared values underpinning its system of governance.”

In the speech, which marked the 40th anniversary of the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan,” Xi said that Taiwan “must and will be” united with China.

Over the past few decades, China has promoted the so-called “1992 consensus,” which he said was reached by the two sides on the basis of the “one China principle” and the spirit of seeking common ground while reserving differences.

Xi defined the “1992 consensus” as “the two sides of the Strait belonging to one China and working together to seek the unification of the nation.”

He attributed the beginning of cross-strait negotiations to the “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000 — which refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

China is willing to talk with any party in Taiwan to push forward the political process, as long as it accepts the “one China” principle, Xi said.

However, “we will not renounce the use of force or give up the option of using all necessary measures” to serve that end and crack down on Taiwan independence,” he said.

In response to Xi’s speech, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Wednesday said that she would never accept the “1992 consensus,” because it would bring the “one China, two systems” formula devised by China to bring Taiwan under its control.

Taiwan would never accept “one China, two systems” and the vast majority of Taiwanese are firmly opposed to such an approach, Tsai said.

The Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium conveyed the objection of Taiwanese to Beijing’s “one China, two systems” formula and Tsai’s remarks to the European External Action Service, sources familiar with the matter said.

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