China has never clearly stated its interpretation of the so-called “1992 consensus,” Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said, adding that he would ask Beijing to do so if he is elected.
In an interview on Tuesday in Japan with the Asahi Shimbun, Ko was asked what he thought of China’s demand that Taiwan accept the “1992 consensus.”
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 Chinese Nationalist Party (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.
Photo: Lee Hui-chou, Taipei Times
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rejects the “1992 consensus,” saying that agreeing to it implies acceptance of China’s claim over Taiwan.
“The problem is that China itself has not made clear its definition of the ‘1992 consensus,’” Ko said in the interview, adding that if he is elected president, he will ask Beijing to give a clear, official interpretation of the consensus.
Ko, who returned to Taiwan on Thursday night from visiting Japan, said he did not make such a request to Beijing during his eight-year tenure as Taipei mayor, but he knew that China had accepted his preferred formulation as a basis for dialogue — that both sides of the Taiwan Strait are “one family.”
Photo: Hsu Li-chuan, Taipei Times
Ko was also asked if he thought he was more capable than the other two presidential candidates — New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) of the KMT and Vice President William Lai (賴清德) of the DPP — of engaging in dialogue with Beijing.
Ko said the KMT had lost the public’s trust on issues relating to China.
“The reason the Sunflower movement emerged [in 2014] was because the KMT had gotten involved in dealings with China without gaining the trust of the Taiwanese public,” he said.
The DPP, meanwhile, is incapable of engaging with China, because there is no mutual trust, and the two sides are constantly fighting, Ko added.
Asked how Taiwan and China could peacefully coexist, Ko said it was important to remember that “the current China is not how China will be forever.”
“China will change,” Ko said. “Just as we shouldn’t use ideas from 30 years ago to solve today’s problems, we shouldn’t use today’s situation to speculate on what things will be like 30 years from now.”
He said that at best, predictions can only be made five to 10 years ahead, not even 15 years.
In an interview later on Wednesday with Japanese public broadcaster NHK, Ko was asked about Taiwan’s sovereignty claims over the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台).
Ko said that in general, Taiwanese people are not interested in having “that piece of land,” but they do want to maintain their rights to fish there.
That comment quickly drew flak from the DPP and KMT.
Trying to walk back Ko’s statement, his campaign office said that Ko is committed to protecting Taiwanese sovereignty.
At the same time, Ko believes it is necessary to “start with the reality” of the situation, and he took the opportunity to stand up for the rights to livelihood of Taiwanese fishers, his campaign spokeswoman Chen Chih-han (陳智菡) said.
Meanwhile, in Kaohsiung yesterday, Ko held a closed-door meeting with American Institute in Taiwan Chair Laura Rosenberger for about two-and-a-half hours.
Rosenberger also met with Hou on Wednesday and Lai on Thursday.
Additional reporting by Hsu Li-chuan
AGGRESSION: China’s latest intrusions set a new benchmark for its ‘gray zone’ tactics and possibly a new pattern that it would attempt to normalize, a researcher said China’s latest military exercises represent a new challenge to Taiwan’s legal authority to demarcate its borders in the Taiwan Strait, a defense expert said, adding that the fleets in the latest exercises were likely the most powerful the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ever assembled. The PLA conducted military exercises from Sunday last week to 6am on Friday, which encompassed large swathes of the western Pacific, including the Taiwan Strait and waters off the Philippines and Guam, National Policy Foundation associate research fellow Chieh Chung (揭仲) said on Friday. The Ministry of National Defense said that it detected 70 warship and 162 aircraft
DOMESTIC MARKET: To protect the livelihoods of local egg farmers, the government adopted a new method for releasing imported eggs, the agriculture minister said More than 54 million imported eggs will be disposed, as their expiration date has passed, Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday. Chen made the remarks at a news conference in Taipei, explaining the flow of imported eggs following recent controversies regarding the products. The ministry introduced a special egg import program to address a nationwide egg shortage earlier this year. However, controversies have risen in recent weeks. These included an accusation that the government helped some egg importing companies over others, eggs imported from Brazil that had an incorrect expiration date, and egg shipments from Brazil that were found
PACIFIC OCEAN: Defense experts have warned that the ‘Shandong,’ China’s second largest aircraft carrier, poses a serious threat to eastern Taiwan’s defenses The drills conducted by the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong in the Western Pacific last week were more aimed at showcasing China’s military capabilities to the US rather than toward Taiwan, a Taiwanese defense expert said yesterday. Lin Yin-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, said the drills which involved dozens of warplanes sought to test China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities should the US and its allies attempt to interfere in a cross-strait conflict. Lin said that the latest Chinese drills coincided with a joint maritime exercise conducted by the US, South Korea
Thousands of bottles of Sriracha have been returned or destroyed after the discovery of excessive sulfur dioxide, a bleaching agent, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday. About 12,600 bottles totaling 9,991.8kg of the hot sauce imported from the US by Emporium Corp (河洛企業) were flagged at the border for containing illegal levels of sulfur dioxide, the FDA said in its regular border inspection announcement. Inspectors discovered 0.5g per kilogram of the common bleaching agent and preservative, higher than the 0.03g permitted, it said. As it is the first time within six months the product has been flagged, Sriracha products from