Sun, Jan 06, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Allies should protect Taiwan: Tsai

NO AMBIGUITY:Beijing has redefined the ‘1992 consensus’ to mean ‘one country, two systems’ and political parties in Taiwan should not use the term, President Tsai Ing-wen said

By Su Yung-yao  /  Staff reporter, with AFP

President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called on allies to help defend Taiwan’s sovereignty, accusing China of waging a “deliberate campaign” to undermine the nation’s democracy by refusing to talk to her government.

Tsai’s comments capped a week of escalating rhetoric between the two sides of the Strait, sparked by a speech from Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on Wednesday.

Xi, who described Taiwan’s unification with China as “inevitable” and reiterated Beijing’s willingness to use force if necessary, 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.

The “1992 consensus” is a term that former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000.

Saying that the term “1992 consensus” no longer has room for ambiguity, as Beijing has redefined it as “one country, two systems,” Tsai yesterday called on all political parties in Taiwan to stop using the term “1992 consensus” and to “clearly speak out our rejection of the ‘one country, two systems’ formula.”

Tsai also hit out at Beijing’s willingness to bypass her elected government as “a continuation of its deliberate campaign to undermine and subvert our democratic process and create division in our society.”

“At a time when we are exhausting efforts to avoid provocation and miscommunication, China’s actions are unhelpful and contrary to democratic practices,” she said in a briefing with foreign media yesterday.

China’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric toward Taiwan was a test of whether democratic allies would protect each other, Tsai said.

“If the international community fails to speak up for and assist Taiwan under the circumstances we face today, I have to ask which country will be next,” she added.

The “one country, two systems” model was implemented in Hong Kong after Britain handed it back to China as a way to guarantee the kind of liberties and government unseen in authoritarian China.

Sliding freedoms in Hong Kong have done little to endear the idea of a similar deal to Taiwanese.

Tsai said it would be impossible for her government or any Taiwanese politician to accept Xi’s recent remarks “without betraying the trust and will of the people of Taiwan.”

In response, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) spokesman Ouyang Lung (歐陽龍) said it would be impossible for the party to abandon the “1992 consensus,” as the term is a “historical truth.”

Reiterating the KMT’s version of the “consensus” — that both sides of the Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” but with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means — Ouyang said Xi’s combining the “consensus” with “one country, two systems” is wrong.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuan

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