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China concerned about 1992 consensus, DPP independence stance: scholars

2016/01/17 01:28:04

Beijing. (File photo courtesy of China NEws Service)

Shanghai, China, Jan. 17 (CNA) Two Chinese scholars who specialize in cross-Taiwan Strait relations said Saturday that Taiwan's President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should clarify her stance on the "1992 consensus" and her party's platform on Taiwan independence.

Tsai and her independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gained an overwhelming victory in both the presidential and legislative elections Saturday, beating the Kuomintang (KMT), the ruling party of Taiwan.

It was the KMT's Chiang Kai-shek that led the Republic of China government to relocate to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists.

In an interview with CNA after Saturday's elections, Xin Qiang (信強), head of the Center for Taiwan Studies at Fudan University, said Chinese authorities have three major areas of concern regarding Tsai's presidency.

They are concerned about the DPP's platform that advocates independence for Taiwan, the likelihood of increased desinicization in Taiwan, and the possibility of closer military cooperation among the United States, Japan and Taiwan, which would complicate the South China Sea sovereignty issue, Xin said.

He said Tsai should elaborate on those issues in her inauguration speech in order to gain the confidence of Chinese authorities regarding her cross-strait policy.

"Even if she is reluctant to use the term "1992 consensus," she could use other words to say she recognizes that both sides belong to one China," Xin said.

The 1992 consensus refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between Taiwan and China that there is only one China, with each side free to interpret what that means.

Based on the consensus, President Ma Ying-jeou and his KMT government have managed to significantly thaw cross-strait relations over the past eight years.

Another Chinese expert on cross-strait relations told CNA Saturday that Tsai should now focus on reconciliation in Taiwan society and between the two sides of the strait.

Tsai at least should freeze her party's independence platform if she wants to display goodwill toward China, said Bao Chengke (包承柯), a professor at East China Normal University.

If Tsai can say clearly that she would set aside the goal of Taiwan independence for the next four years, "the mainland would be willing to look ahead," Bao said.

He expressed the view that the Taiwan independence ideology originated from the 228 Incident, an anti-government uprising in 1947.

Tsai should move away from the "woes of the history" and reconsider Taiwan's future welfare amid China's rise, Bao suggested.

He further said that China will not want to see a regression of cross-strait relations and may convey its views through different channels, including DPP-friendly scholars.

Bao also forecast that trade and economic interactions between the two sides will continue and Taiwanese businesses operating in China will not encounter any additional difficulties, even if Tsai does not reach out to China.

"However, the existing cross-strait negotiation mechanisms and agreements may be affected," Bao said.

On the territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea, both scholars indicated that economic cooperation is often linked to political and military issues.

China will not want to see the new Taiwan government make concessions on the sovereignty in the two areas as Taiwan is seeking to join the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, Xin said.

Bao said that if the Taiwan-controlled Taiping Island is used as a military base for the United States and Japan, the South China Sea problem will become much more complicated and it will cause conflict between the two sides of the strait.

(By Chang Shu-ling and Elizabeth Hsu; click here for the full coverage of the elections.)
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