'1992 consensus' key to KMT's engagement with Beijing: Eric Chu

06/07/2022 10:36 PM
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KMT Chairman Eric gives a speech in Washington on Monday during a trip to the U.S. CNA photo June 7, 2022
KMT Chairman Eric gives a speech in Washington on Monday during a trip to the U.S. CNA photo June 7, 2022

Washington, June 6 (CNA) The principle of the so-called "1992 consensus" remains "key" to the Kuomintang's (KMT) engagement with Beijing, the opposition party's Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said at a think tank event in Washington, D.C. Monday.

Chu told a panel at the Brookings Institution that the general agreement reached in 1992 between government representatives from the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party was still the "foundation" and "key" for engagement with Beijing.

According to Chu, the opposition party would continue adhering to the consensus -- which, according to the KMT, acknowledges there is only one China with both sides free to interpret what "China" is -- as its "creative ambiguity" enabled cross-Taiwan Strait cooperation on nonpolitical issues such as trade and education.

"It's 'no consensus' consensus ... We [Taiwan and China] just put those complex [issues] aside and keep moving," he added.

China has never publicly recognized or denied the existence of the "1992 consensus" as interpreted by the KMT, while Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has rejected it as a foundation for dialogue with Beijing.

In 2011, Taiwan's current President and then-DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) called the consensus an ex post facto "invention" of the KMT.

She later underlined the DPP's stance after taking office, stating in a 2019 speech that Taiwan "absolutely will not accept" what amounted to an offer of the "one country, two systems" model imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing.

Chu, however, said adopting the consensus was a "practical" decision for the KMT and that the party would adhere to the agreement until "a better solution" came up.

In addition, Chu said the KMT was committed to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait because the party had witnessed the brutality of wars and conflicts over the years.

With that in mind, Chu said the KMT would continue insisting on enhancing Taiwan's self-defense capability if the party returned to office.

At the same time, the KMT will seek "principled engagement" with Beijing for stabilizing cross-strait relations, reducing threats, and managing crises, Chu added.

From Brookings Institution's YouTube channel

Commenting on remarks by Chu, Michael Fonte, director of the DPP's mission in the U.S., said Monday the KMT chairman's emphasis on Taiwan's defense and security was commendable.

Fonte told CNA that he welcomed the reopening of the KMT's liaison office in Washington, adding that he looked forward to debating Taiwan-related issues with the party's officials in the U.S. in the future.

On Monday, Chu also visited the U.S. Department of State to have 50-minute discussions with U.S. officials about security, trade, technology, and energy, according to Chu.

The chairman, however, declined to reveal who he met during the meeting.

Chu departed for the U.S. on June 2 for an 11-day trip that includes stops in New York and Los Angeles. He will attend the plaque-unveiling ceremony on Wednesday to reopen the KMT's liaison office in Washington.

The opposition party's U.S. liaison office, first opened in 2000, was closed after former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT took office in 2008.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Teng Pei-ju)

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