Tsai Ing-wen Must Explain Why She Opposes the 1992 Consensus
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 9, 2015
Executive Summary: The logic of the 1992 consensus is actually quite simple. If one advocates Taiwan independence, then one opposes the 1992 Consensus. It one opposes Taiwan independence, then one supports the 1992 consensus. The 1992 consensus has become a label. This has enabled Tsai Ing-wen to bob and weave. Why not drop the 1992 consensus label altogether and just ask Tsai Ing-wen directly: Why are you opposed to one China, difference interpretations. Why do you champion Taiwan independence? Surely she owes the next generation a reason why or why not.
Full Text Below:
In 2012, Tsai Ing-wen refused to recognize the 1992 consensus and lost the election. This newspaper predicted back then that the battle in 2016 would still be over the 1992 consensus. Our prediction has now proven correct.
Over the past three years, Tsai Ing-wen has consistently opposed the 1992 consensus. But she has never fully explained the reasons why. One. In 2013, she declared there is no such thing as a "1992 consensus". Two. This year, she no longer denied its existence, but she dismissed the 1992 consensus as nothing more than a “label”. Three. She now claims the 1992 consensus is merely a "KMT/CCP consensus". In fact, the 1992 consensus has become a trilateral Taipei/Washington/Beijing consensus. In fact, even if were only a "KMT/CCP consensus" she would have no reason to object. After all, Tsai Ing-wen has already said she "unconditionally accepts" ECFA. Why hasn't she denounced that as a "KMT/CCP consensus"? In short, rather than bobbing and weaving, shouldn't Tsai Ing-wen explain why she opposes the 1992 Consensus?
Tsai Ing-wen said the 1992 consensus is merely a “label” and a KMT/CCP consensus. But she has never explained what she thinks the 1992 consensus contains and what exactly she thinks it means. She refuses to say what the 1992 consensus is, and why she is opposed to it. Yet she persists in waving an anti-1992 consensus banner while running for Republic of China president. Is this not the height of absurdity?
We should first clarify what the 1992 consensus is. In 1991 and early 1992, the SEF and ARATS clashed over the one China principle. When President Lee convened the National Unification Council. On August 1, 2003 he published his “Concerning the Meaning of One China”. Namely, "Both sides adhere to the One China Principle, but the two sides interpret it differently”. Later, in late October, the SEF proposed further talks in Hong Kong. The two associations verbally agreed over the one China principle. Our side openly endorsed the August 1 resolution on the one-China principle. We said "We think one China means the Republic of China established in 1912". ARATS did not comment on the August 1 resolution. But on November 16, it referred to the SEF's "verbal declaration of support for the one China principle with different interpretations". It replied officially, indicating "I fully respect and accept your proposal", and said that negotiations over transactional matters do not involve any “one China” political implications. Following this agreement, the two associations quickly arranged for Koo-Wang talks in Singapore in February 1993, to break the ice. As a result, so-called "one China, different interpretations" or "different interpretations of one China" commonly became known as "one China, different interpretations". When Eric Chu discussed the 1992 consensus during the Chu/Xi meeting, he stuck to this framework.
In 2005, after Lien Chan met with Hu Jingtao, the two sides used the term 1992 consensus. Beijing stressed the one China framework. The Kuomintang and the Ma government stressed one China, different interpretations. Next, the Ma government interpreted the 1992 consensus under the framework of the ROC Constitution, as "no reunification (within his term), no Taiwan independence, and no use of force". He too adhered to the one China definition and one China, different interpretations. These were contained within the August 1 resolution, the 1992 consensus, and the Republic of China's one China Constitution. At first Beijing emphasized only the one China framework. But with changes in the cross-Strait situation, it began linking the 1992 consensus to opposition to Taiwan independence. Obviously this was directed at the DPP. The Ma government meanwhile, bases its conduct on the ROC Constitution and the August 1 resolution. It upholds its “no Taiwan independence” declaration.
As we can see, the 1992 consensus underwent three stages of development. One. During the Lee Teng-hui era, SEF talks led by the National Unification Council, established the content of one China, different interpretations. Two. One China, different interpretations is based on the ROC Constitution. Three. In accordance with the one China constitution, the Republic of China rulers oppose Taiwan independence. These are the implications of the 1992 Consensus.
To summarize, the 1992 consensus makes two key points. One. One China, different interpretations. Two. Opposition to Taiwan independence. If Tsai Ing-wen supports one China, different interpretations, she has no reason to oppose the 1992 consensus. If Tsai Ing-wen does not advocate Taiwan independence, she has no reason to oppose the 1992 consensus. People wonder how Tsai Ing-wen can demand Taiwan independence while defending the status quo. Oddly enough, Tsai Ing-wen has never explicitly advocated Taiwan independence. Not has she explicitly opposed a constitutionally-based one China. Tsai Ing-wen is afraid to say she advocates Taiwan independence,. She is also afraid to say she opposes Taiwan independence. The contradictions and confusions therein are the reason she cannot bring herself to say why she opposes the 1992 consensus.
So far, Tsai Ing-wen has said little about her cross-strait policy. She has openly announced only two principles. One. She opposes the 1992 consensus. Two. She hopes to maintain the cross-Strait status quo. But she refuses to say what the status quo is. Everyone argues over the 1992 consensus. But all they argue over is strawmen erected by Tsai Ing-wen. She evades the serious implications of the 1992 consensus: one China, different interpretations, and opposition to Taiwan independence. That is why she avoids saying why she opposes a constitutionally based one China and supports Taiwan independence.
The logic of the 1992 consensus is actually quite simple. If one advocates Taiwan independence, then one opposes the 1992 Consensus. It one opposes Taiwan independence, then one supports the 1992 consensus. The 1992 consensus has become a label. This has enabled Tsai Ing-wen to bob and weave. Why not drop the 1992 consensus label altogether and just ask Tsai Ing-wen directly: Why are you opposed to one China, difference interpretations. Why do you champion Taiwan independence? Surely she owes the next generation a reason why or why not.