Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairperson candidates yesterday focused on the so-called “1992 consensus” during a televised policy debate ahead of next week’s election.
KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said the party should return to the “original definition of the consensus,” adding that the concept was no longer a poison pill for voters, as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had demonstrated its inability to handle cross-strait relations.
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 (CCP) that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
Photo courtesy of CTV
Former KMT chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said that he has also emphasized that each side has its own interpretation of the “1992 consensus” and had reiterated this to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) when they met in 2015.
“In essence, there must be a creative ambiguity, instead of clear-cut clarity,” Chu said.
Sun Yat-sen School president Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) said that while the “1992 consensus” should remain the party’s guiding principle, it is outmoded and can no longer address the political situation of cross-strait relations.
If elected, he said he would visit Beijing to find common ground that both sides can accept and to sign a memorandum of understanding for peace, adding that this would require that both sides take a step back.
Former Changhua County commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) said that the DPP’s abandonment of the “1992 consensus” has led to heightened tensions across the strait, adding that he believed attempts to deepen the “consensus” would be the way toward peace.
On whether the party should change its name, Chu said he was “absolutely against” changing it to “Taiwan Kuomintang.”
Such an act would sever the party from its past, he said, adding that the KMT should push against efforts to create pro-Taiwan independence high-school curricula, which would mislead young people about the nation’s roots.
Chang said the KMT was founded by Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) and had a century’s history and glory to its name, adding that the word Chinese (中國) in the party’s official name also held meaning.
“It is a place that our revolutionary forefathers spilled blood for,” Chang said, adding that the word does not simply mean the People’s Republic of China, as “it also means us. We are Chinese. Taiwanese are Chinese, as they are also Taiwanese.”
During the debate, Chu said that if Chang were elected, he would steer the KMT toward rapid unification, while Chang said that he was “extremely unhappy” that Chu was attempting to divide the party.
Instead of lobbing accusations that the KMT is leaning toward China and selling out the country or that the DPP is simply a stooge for the US, Chiang said that the country needs to sit down with the CCP to discuss matters, adding that he is willing to visit China should he be re-elected.
He said that the KMT must bring the fight to the DPP, as Taiwanese have for a long time been subject to a single source of information.
The KMT chairperson election is set for Saturday next week.
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