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No 1992 consensus, no basis for Taiwan to attend WHA: China

2017/05/08 13:59:40

Suqian, China, May 8 (CNA) As long as Taiwan refuses to accept the "1992 consensus," there will be no basis for its participation in this year's World Health Assembly (WHA), a senior China official said Monday, even as Taiwan continued its worldwide plea to be allowed to participate as an observer.

If Taiwan wishes to join international organizations, it must return to the fundamental condition, which is recognition of the "one China" principle and the "1992 consensus," Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, told reporters during a visit to Suqian City in Jiangsu Province.

Furthermore, Taiwan's participation in international activities must be arranged through negotiations with China, he said.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which was then under a Kuomintang-led government, that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.

However, since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016, she has refused to heed the call of China and her predecessor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for Taiwan to recognize the "1992 consensus" as the sole foundation for cross-strait exchanges.

As a result, China has suspended official dialogue with Taiwan and has redoubled its efforts to prevent Taiwan's participation in international organizations.

In the most recent setback, Taiwan has not been invited to the 2017 session of the WHA, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization. The deadline for online registration of participants was Monday.

In response to reporters' questions on the issue, Zhang noted that Taiwan had attended the annual assembly as an observer for eight consecutive years, from 2009.

During that time, Taiwan's participation was "a special arrangement made through cross-strait negotiations" against the backdrop of mutual recognition of "one China" and desire for peaceful development of cross-strait relations, Zhang said.

However, since Taiwan's new government took office in May 2016, it has refused to acknowledge the "1992 consensus" or to recognize the fact that the two sides of the strait are part of one China, he said.

As a result, the mechanism for cross-strait dialogue has stalled.

"The precondition and basis for Taiwan's presence at the WHA no longer exist," Zhang said. "And everyone is quite clear as to which side should be responsible."

Asked about Tsai's recent calls for a new model in the development of cross-strait ties, Zhang declined to comment, saying only that since May 20 last year, cross-strait relations have been going "in a worrisome direction."

Since 2009, Taiwan has attended the WHA as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei in accordance with an agreement between the governments on both sides of the strait and the WHO.

Last year, after Tsai took office, Taiwan received a last minute invitation to the WHA that for the first time included a reminder that the "one China" principle was the basis of United Nations Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1, under which Taiwan was allowed to attend.

Seeing that it will be unlikely for Taiwan to take part in the event this year, officials of the Tsai government have planned a press conference later Monday to make their case.

(By Chang Shu-lin and Elizabeth Hsu)
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