Up to 133 Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) representatives are preparing for a petition to vote on replacing the so-called “1992 consensus” with a new concept, the “Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) consensus,” at the party’s national congress on Sept. 6.
The KMT has been rocked by internal strife over the “1992 consensus” — the result of KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang’s (江啟臣) promise of sweeping reforms.
Chiang’s touted reforms, particularly on the issue of the “1992 consensus,” has met with strong resistance from KMT old guard, such as former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former vice president Lien Chan (連戰).
The ECFA, a preferential trade agreement aimed at reducing tariffs and commercial barriers across the Taiwan Strait, was signed in 2010.
KMT representatives said the “ECFA consensus” is the party’s best strategy if it wishes to compete in the 2022 nine-in-one local elections and the 2024 presidential and legislative elections.
“It would define cross-strait relations as mutually beneficial economic relations,” the party representatives said, which would help the KMT retain its voter base in traditionally pan-blue cities and counties.
The “ECFA consensus” revolves around the trade agreement facilitated by the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), which were established after the meeting of representatives from Taiwan and China in Hong Kong in 1992, the representatives said.
As part of four accords signed by Taiwan and China, the ECFA could also be seen as an extension of the five-point communique brought up in the 2005 meeting between Lien and then-Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), the representatives said.
As such, the “ECFA consensus” is a more practical accord that has been openly signed by the two sides and recognized by international bodies, such as the WTO, while retaining the “gray area” afforded by the “1992 consensus,” the representatives said.
Moreover, the ECFA has been ratified by the Legislative Yuan, making it an accord that promotes cross-strait dialogue while adhering to the spirit of democracy and equality, they added.
The “1992 consensus” — a term that former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
The KMT legislative caucus is to hold a meeting on Sept. 1, with Chiang and caucus convener Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) presiding.
A public hearing and an open debate is to be held after the meeting to further consolidate KMT views on the issue.
In related news, a recent TVBS poll has spurred speculation that Chiang could be ousted as party chairman next year.
Chiang had won the chairmanship election with 84,860 votes, or 68.8 percent, on March 7, riding on the promise of reform.
However, Chiang’s support has dropped to 29 percent following the Kaohsiung mayoral by-election on Aug. 15, the survey showed.
New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) garnered a support rate of 73 percent in the survey, making him a possible contender for the chairmanship, while Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) had a support rate of 45 percent.
Additional reporting by Lin Liang-sheng
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