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DPP duty-bound to build bridge to China: ex-KMT official

2017/09/24 21:33:24

Su Chi (蘇起), former secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC)

Taipei, Sept. 24 (CNA) A former official from the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) said Sunday the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has a duty to establish official communications between Taiwan and China.

Su Chi (蘇起), former secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC), told an academic seminar that the DPP and the Communist Party of China (CPC) -- China's ruling party -- hold diametrically opposing views about the "1992 consensus" which Beijing considers the political foundation for official exchanges between Taiwan and China and has cited as a reason for breaking off exchanges with the DPP government, which denies the existence of such a consensus.

The CPC views the "1992 consensus" as an agreement between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China. The DPP simply denies its existence, though it admits there were talks between the governments of Taiwan and China that year and both sides did reach some agreements, none of which include Taiwan's agreement that it is part of China.

By saying "No" to such a critical foundation for exchanges with China, Su noted the DPP will never be able to talk to China and it is therefore bound to explain to the people on Taiwan why it cannot talk to China.

The KMT's "official position" on the "1992 consensus" is "Yes, but" -- yes, there is only one China, but each side retains the right to interpret what "one China" means, according to Su.

Su is known as the man who coined the term "1992 consensus" following the 1992 talks between delegates of Taiwan and China in Hong Kong. Those talks discussed how to resume official contacts between the two sides that had been separated since 1949, when the KMT government was driven out of mainland China after losing a brutal civil war.

China insists there has never been a written agreement between the two sides on the meaning of "one China" or leeway to interpret its meaning. So it has always focused on the "there is one China" part of the "1992 consensus."

The KMT, which was the ruling party at the time of the talks in Hong Kong, understands the consensus as an agreement on "one China" and a "tacit understanding" that Taiwan, which calls itself the Republic of China, can interpret that one China to be the Republic of China.

To clear up the confusion over the results of the 1992 Hong Kong talks between Taiwan and China, Su later came up with the term "1992 consensus" to refer to an agreement on there being "one China" - even though he knows most countries around the world recognize the People Republic of China as China, not the ROC or Taiwan.

Su believes that if the DPP simply recognizes the murky version of the "one China" concept in the "1992 consensus," accepting there is such a consensus but maintaining "no, we don't agree to the one China part" -- just as the KMT says "yes, but (we have our own definition of 'one China')" -- then that would probably satisfy everybody.

He never expected the CPP would come to embrace the term "1992 consensus" while the DPP would not, Su says, adding that no matter what, it is up to the DPP as Taiwan's ruling party to try to establish communication channels to China. "That's the DPP government's duty," he said.

Chen Chung-hsin (陳忠信), who briefly held the post that Su would later hold in the final days of President Chen Shui-bian's administration, said the political implications of "one China" places Taiwan at a great disadvantage.

Taiwan has not asked China, "what is Taiwan in your 'one China' principle?" the former DPP lawmaker and official said. "This is a key question to which all citizens of Taiwan should seek an answer and on which they had better reach a consensus," Chen added.

Based on this argument, Chen said he does not accept Su's assertion that it is the DPP's duty to build a bridge establishing communications with China.

(By Ku Chuan and S.C. Chang)