Former president calls for Tsai-Xi meeting, return to ‘1992 consensus’

Taipei,  On the fifth anniversary of his meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平), former Republic of China (Taiwan) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Saturday called for a return to the “1992 consensus,” and said he would support a meeting between Xi and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) if it would put the sides on a path to cross-strait peace.

Speaking at a forum on the legacy of the 2015 “Ma-Xi meeting” in Singapore, the former president blamed both Beijing and Tsai for ratcheting up cross-strait tensions in recent years.

He called on China to halt the repeated incursions of its warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zones, which he said had only caused antipathy among the Taiwanese public.

Tsai, meanwhile, should stop “choosing sides” in the competition between China and the United States, Ma said, contrasting it with his own approach of “balancing” Taiwan’s relations with the two superpowers, in order to “maximize opportunity and minimize threats.”

To ease the current tensions in cross-strait relations, Ma said, the two sides should return to the “1992 consensus,” which offers a conceptual framework for resolving the sides’ main disputes over Taiwan’s sovereignty and national status.

To this end, he would even look forward to a Tsai-Xi meeting, in order to reopen the door to peace, Ma added.

The “1992 consensus,” a tacit understanding reached between the then-Kuomintang (KMT) government and the Chinese government in 1992, is interpreted by the KMT to mean both sides of the strait acknowledge that there is only “one China,” with each side free to interpret what “China” means.

Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has called the consensus an “illusion,” because China does not recognize that each side is free to interpret “one China” as it sees fit.

Taiwan’s two main political parties, meanwhile, offered starkly different assessments of the Ma-Xi meeting’s legacy after five years.

The opposition KMT praised the event for its “historical significance,” and argued that it should serve as an inspiration for both sides to reexamine their current policies for the betterment of cross-strait relations.

However, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of the DPP said talk of reprising the meeting would be absurd while Taiwan faces constant harassment from Beijing’s jets and warships.

It’s something that there is no public support for, and so there is no reason to insist, Su said, adding that the government is instead focused on domestic matters.


Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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