Free Press Journal

Beijing threatens to shelve talks with Taipei


Beijing: China today threatened to suspend talks with Taiwan if the newly sworn-in Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen does not acknowledge the “1992 consensus”, which refers to a purported understanding that they belong to a single sovereign nation.

Only by confirming the adherence to the common political foundation of the 1992 Consensus that embodies the ‘one China’ principle can cross-Strait affairs authorities continue regular communication, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman of China’s Taiwan affairs said.

He said officials on both sides maintained active interactions for more than two decades after establishing a regular communication mechanism based on the 1992 Consensus.

Ma said this mechanism paved the way for the two sides to contact each other in a timely fashion, avoid misjudgements, keep disagreements under control and it was also conducive to enhancing understanding and mutual trust, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

“With the operation of the regular communication mechanism, some ‘impossibilities’ in cross-Strait relations have become realities,” Ma said referring to normalisation of trade and political relations between the two estranged countries which were separated in 1949.

The 1992 consensus refers to understanding reportedly struck between unofficial representatives of Beijing and Taipei that Taiwan and China belong to a single sovereign nation, but it leaves open to interpretation who the legitimate government should be.

Ma’s warning was the latest following a strongly worded statement issued by his office yesterday describing Tsai’s inaugural address as an “incomplete test answer”.

In her speech, which was closely watched by Beijing, Tsai, 59, who was sworn in as the island’s first female president yesterday, avoided explicitly mentioning the word “consensus”.

Instead, she said she respected the “historic fact” that a meeting took place in 1992, during which Taiwan and the mainland sought common ground and tried to set aside their differences, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

Beijing has repeatedly insisted that Taipei must abide by the consensus if it is to continue exchanges and interactions with the mainland.

The process of normalisation proceeded smoothly with wide cross straits contacts until the pro-Beijing President Ma Ying-jeou from the Kuomintang Party was in power till last year.

He was resoundingly defeated in the elections early this year by Tsai, from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is opposed to close ties with Beijing.