China should return the goodwill Taiwan has shown it instead of considering to annex it, which is against the nation’s interests and runs counter to prevailing public opinion, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told the legislature yesterday.
Su made the remark during his first question-and-answer session since he last month assumed the role of premier for the second time.
He was responding to People First Party Legislator Chou Chen Hsiu-hsia’s (周陳秀霞) call for a “new discourse” that could serve as the basis for cross-strait exchanges, seeing as President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has said that she would not accept the so-called “1992 consensus” or a Taiwanese version of the “one country, two systems” framework proposed last month by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on the 40th anniversary of the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan.”
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times
The so-called “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
“We and China have been like this for decades, and any discussion has proved to be useless,” Su said. “If we told them that we agreed with ‘one China,’ it would eliminate the need for debate and they would be most pleased.”
However, the nation would definitely not allow this, especially when Beijing has advocated a “one country, two systems” approach and is attempting to enter into “peace agreements” with various groups in Taiwan, which is a “united front” tactic, he said.
The premier has a responsibility delegated to him by 23 million Taiwanese to safeguard their democratic way of life and maintain their security, so he could not allow Taiwan to be annexed by China, Su said.
Public figures, especially politicians, should make remarks that are in the nation’s interests, as no matter how strong China’s economy might be or how prosperous its society is, “the most prominent of businesspeople [in China] could disappear in a day and the prettiest of movie stars could be detained on a whim, without even telling the public where they are kept,” he said.
Nevertheless, both sides of the Taiwan Strait should engage in mutually beneficial interactions, Su said, calling on China not to “fear democracy.”
“China today is like the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] when I first entered politics, when it tried to control Taiwan through martial law. Today, society is entirely liberal and we have managed to come this far,” Su said.
Referencing the “different interpretations” component of the “1992 consensus,” Chou Chen had proposed that Su acknowledge the “1992 consensus,” saying that it could prevent cross-strait ties from worsening and ensure peace in the Strait.
There is really no room for one-sided interpretation of what “China” means, Su said.
“No KMT official who has visited China has dared to say a word while there, regardless of their rank,” he said.
Proponents of the “consensus” should openly tell Beijing what their interpretation of “China” is, especially when Xi has now asserted that “one country, two systems” is part of the “consensus,” he said.
“As we endeavor to defend our sovereignty and extend our goodwill, China, as a large nation, should be confident in itself and not exclusively fix its attention on tiny Taiwan,” Su said.
“Rather than coveting this land all day long, it should think about the 23 million people who are used to a democratic and free way of life,” he said.
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