In his July 20 response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) telegram congratulating him on his re-election as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that “in 1992, the two sides reached a consensus that each side would verbally express their adherence to the one China principle.”
This is an astonishing statement.
First, the 1992 talks in Hong Kong did not establish any consensus. The truth is that the talks did not end amicably. After the talks, on Nov. 6, the Chinese-language Central Daily News published an interview with Ma, the then-deputy chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council. Ma said that “the talks in Hong Kong fell short of success at the last moment … the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits [ARATS] ignored the Straits Exchange Foundation’s requests for continued talks and went straight back to China … a lack of sincerity.”
Second, the reason the talks ended on bad terms was that the two parties were unable to reach a consensus on the “one China” principle. Ma said that “there is no agreement between the two sides regarding the interpretation of one China.”
Today, Ma is recanting what he said when he was deputy chairman of the council. That is very dishonest.
The “interpretation problem” that Ma talked about at the time was as follows:
Between November 1991 and October 1992, the foundation and ARATS held three consultations in Beijing and Hong Kong regarding issues such as the procedures for jointly combating maritime crime. Beijing insisted that the premise for the talks should be that both sides adhere to the “one China” principle, and that it be included in all documents related to the negotiation process. All three consultations ended on bad terms because Taiwan did not agree to this condition.
In August 1992, the National Unification Council approved a policy document addressing the meaning of “one China.” The document said that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait adhere to the ‘one China’ principle, but they define it differently. The communist authorities hold that ‘one China’ means the ‘People’s Republic of China.’ While it is true that Taiwan is part of China, so is the Chinese mainland.”
During the talks in Hong Kong in October 1992, the foundation submitted some suggestions in accordance with the Guidelines for National Unification. The main spirit of these suggestions was that during the process in which the two sides of the Strait were working hard together to bring about national unification, both sides would adhere to the “one China” principle, but their understanding of what that “one China” entailed would differ.
Beijing did not agree. After talks broke down, Beijing suddenly announced through the New China news agency that ARATS would accept the foundation’s suggestion that the two sides state their interpretations of “one China” verbally and that it would be willing to hold talks on the concrete meaning.
An angry Ma chastised China, saying that there clearly was no consensus and adding that “when China repeatedly tells observers that the two sides have reached a consensus, it is saying one thing and doing another.”
In 2001, Ma insisted that no consensus existed between the two sides, and on June 20, 2001, he said that “the KMT accepts that there is ‘one China’ with each side having its own interpretation, but as far as China is concerned, there is only ‘one China’ and no different interpretations.”
Who would have thought that he would one day completely abandon the view that there are different interpretations of what “one China” means? That is nothing if not a complete surrender.
Lin Cho-shui is a former Democratic Progressive Party legislator.
Translated by Perry Svensson
Last week, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, said in a statement that they have decided to end their marriage. The news immediately caused a global sensation. When my daughter heard that I was going to write a newspaper op-ed to comment on the matter, she made sure to remind me not to focus on the divorce agreement or the handling of the world’s richest couple’s wealth. Instead of talking about how much money Melinda Gates would get from the divorce, my daughter wanted me to focus on the many sacrifices she has made, and on her many
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) expressed “deep concern” over the staggering rise of COVID-19 cases in India, and offered to supply medical equipment and vaccine doses to the country, but his overtures sparked debate in India’s academic and political circles about his sincerity to help, particularly as it was followed by a vulgar display of schadenfreude over the hundreds of thousands of cremations of deaths caused by the virus in the country. The vast majority of Indians were already angry and frustrated with Beijing needling the country on a number of issues, including imports from China, which were abruptly stopped
Explore within a 160km radius of central Taiwan and you would stumble across some of world’s most majestic mountains, breathtaking lakes and awe-inspiring valleys. You would also find 95 percent of the world’s most advanced chipmaking. While lacking the same postcard views as Yushan or Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is still a treasure. The company went from being the upstart of a government industrial think tank to the most crucial chip supplier in the world, but even as it has grown into a US$540 billion company, management has stubbornly kept all state-of-the-art manufacturing capacity at just three
Determined to keep a permanent grip on power, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has abandoned former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s (鄧小平) dogma of “hiding our capacities and biding our time” along with the “peaceful development” line that prevailed under former Chinese presidents Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). Instead, he is treading a “wolf warrior” path of diplomacy that resorts to coercion, debt entrapment and hostage-taking. Externally, Xi’s China has claimed that it would never seek hegemony, yet it challenges the free, rules-based international order wherever it can. While insisting that it will not export its ideology, it has