Taipei, Jan. 4 (CNA) Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) took issue Friday with the characterization of the "1992 consensus" by both Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in recent speeches they made.
Wu described his party's definition of the "1992 consensus" between Taiwan and China as the free interpretation of "one China" by either side, and rejected Xi's inclusion of the "one country, two systems" framework as part of the consensus.
"The free interpretation of 'one China' is in fact the '1992 consensus," Wu said categorically.
Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), with approval from then President and KMT Chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), exchanged documents with mainland authorities on Nov. 16, 1992 in which the two sides agreed that "free interpretation represented the content of the '1992 consensus,'" Wu said.
"The two sides of the Taiwan Strait, based on the 'one China' principle, agreed that either side can freely interpret what 'one China' means in a verbal form" following the meeting, he said.
"This means that the mainland can claim that the People's Republic of China represents all of China, while we can also claim that the Republic of China (Taiwan) represents the whole of China," he said.
Based on that spirit, then SEF Chairman Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫) and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Daohan (汪道涵), chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), held historical talks in Singapore in April 1993, he said.
On Wednesday, Xi said Taiwan "must and will be" united with China based on the "1992 consensus" and under the "one China principle," and suggested a Taiwan version of the "one country, two systems" model to achieve "peaceful reunification."
Xi's speech triggered a strong response from President Tsai, who said she has rejected the "1992 consensus" since assuming office in May 2016 because its goal is "Taiwan's unification with China."
"We have never accepted the '1992 consensus.' The fundamental reason is because the '1992 consensus' as defined by Beijing is in fact the 'one China principle' and 'one China, two systems' formula," Tsai said.
Wu said Tsai's denial of the existence of the "1992 consensus" was wrong.
Later Friday, former New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) also came to the defense of the KMT's stance toward the "1992 consensus," saying that the "1992 consensus" and the "one China, two systems" framework are two totally different things.
"The Republic of China (ROC) has always adhered to the path of democracy and freedom and will surely do so in the future," Chu said.
To the KMT, a free interpretation that the ROC represents all of China is the party's stance toward the "1992 consensus," he said.
Chu, who left office in December, has declared his bid to vie for the KMT's nomination as its candidate in the next presidential election in early 2020.