KMT vice chair to Straits Forum: '1992 consensus' key to exchanges

07/13/2022 10:32 PM
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KMT Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia. CNA file photo
KMT Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 13 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia (夏立言) said Wednesday at a cross-strait forum that his party will continue to promote exchanges between Taiwan and China on the foundation of the so-called "1992 consensus."

Hsia, speaking in a pre-recorded video message at the 14th Straits Forum in Xiamen in China's Fujian Province, said that the consensus allowed for practical exchanges with China while also reducing the risks to cross-strait peace, prosperity, and stability in a manner that protected the democratic way of life in Taiwan.

Cross-strait relations have been increasingly tense in recent years and mutual trust has eroded, Hsia said, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has also drastically reduced flights, tourism and student exchanges between Taiwan and China.

He urged the two sides to overcome all obstacles, facilitate interaction and promote peace.

"I believe this is not only beneficial to Taiwan and mainland China, but also meets the expectations of all parties in the world concerned about the situation in the Taiwan Strait, and deserves to be upheld and maintained by both sides of the strait," he said.

He said the KMT will abide by its party charter and "continue to promote cross-strait exchanges and dialogue on the pragmatic basis of the 1992 consensus" while "opposing Taiwan independence."

According to the KMT, the agreement -- reportedly reached during a meeting between government officials from the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong in 1992 -- acknowledges there is only one China with both sides free to interpret what "China" is.

Later in the forum, Wang Yang (汪洋), chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said that cross-strait exchanges -- largely moribund since the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) assumed Taiwan's presidency in 2016 -- could be restored through recognition of the "one China principle" and the "1992 consensus."

Wang Yang, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People
Wang Yang, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, delivers a speech at the Strait Forum held in Xiamen, China. CNA photo July 13, 2022

Taiwan's incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who won a second term in 2020, has repeatedly underlined the DPP's opposition to the "1992 consensus," describing it in 2019 as tantamount to an offer of the "one country, two systems" model imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing.

The 14th Straits Forum opened in Xiamen Tuesday, with Hsia taking part virtually due to COVID-19 and New Party Chairman Wu Cherng-dean (吳成典) participating in person.

KMT Culture and Communications Committee Deputy Director-General Lin Chia-hsing (林家興) defended the KMT's decision to participate in the China-hosted forum, saying it was proof of the opposition party's competence in defending Taiwan's interests.

To mark the start of the forum, a letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) was read out, in which he touted the benefits of studying and doing business in China to the young Taiwanese in attendance.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the main government agency that handles cross-strait affairs, has urged Taiwanese citizens not to attend the Straits Forum, saying China could use the annual forum to intensify its "United Front" campaign against Taiwan.

China has been using the event as part of a major propaganda campaign against Taiwan -- the United Front -- which aims to persuade Taiwanese who favor Beijing to exercise influence over other Taiwanese, the MAC has said.

(By Flor Wang, Liu Kuan-ting and Wang Cheng-cbung)

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