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Mar 28, 2008

'92 all over again

Edit: Michael Turton beat me to it ...

As the Chinese People's Daily website leads with Hu Jintao's call to resume talks on the '92 consensus, Taiwan media and politicians are discussing exactly what that means.

China's position

By the PRC's definition, the '92 consensus was an oral agreement that "both sides of the Taiwan strait strongly uphold the One China principal" (以口头方式表达的“海峡两岸均坚持一个中国原则”的共识。). The PRC says that as long as this principal was upheld, and both sides worked toward unification, the Chinese were willing to avoid talking about the contents of Taiwan's "One China" definition (海峡两岸都坚持一个中国的原则,努力谋求国家的统一。但在海峡两岸事务性商谈中,不涉及‘一个中国’的政治涵义。).

It is this agreement which China insists on referring to as the "One China principal" (
一个中国原则) and which the KMT has started to call "One China, two interpretations." But China objects strongly to any "two interpretations" phrasing, saying that although the political content of 'One China' could be ignored, there simply was no "two interpretations" to the consensus in that November 1992 agreement (既然没有讨论,根本就没有什么“各自表述”的共识。).
Other PRC mouthpieces began to slam the KMT's position for dropping the goal of unification, copying the Green camp's position and weaseling out of the "One China principal." They called Ma's positioning a mistake, and if you read between the lines, China's saying it can tolerate Ma saying these things to get elected, but will not seriously accept this line in negotiations.

KMT's position

By the KMT's most recent understanding, the important spirit of the '92 consensus is both sides of the strait maintain a degree of ambiguity when upholding the One China principal in order to 'seek consensus while maintaining differences.' As far as they're concerned, it doesn't even matter if there's a real, unified understanding between China and Taiwan about the '92 consensus or not (they note this because there's not one), because it still provides a workable framework. (九二共識的主要精神就是兩岸為求同存異,各自保留對一中表述的模糊空間,有沒有九二共識根本不重要,重要的兩岸都願意在這個架構下展開談判···)

I think, though, that these difference in the KMT and CCP's definition of 'One China' won't prevent the resumption of dialogue between Taiwan and China. Both parties think it is in their interests to start talking and resolve certain outstanding issues.


But as one Liberty Times column reminds us, the problem is that Taiwan and the 'mainland' being part of one political entity simply isn't reality. Taiwan is a sovereign country, and this has to be Taiwan's starting position in negotiations. Even if China cannot accept this, they have to at least be willing ignore it instead of denying it. The PRC has no claim to this island, and having the KMT pretend they still own China, Tibet and Mongolia does nothing to solve the problem of PRC claims to Taiwan's soil. The KMT's position is ultimately self-defeating in that it does make eventual political unification the only logical outcome of the starting point of negotiations.

But alas, I think Green-camp hopes for talks on real equal footing will never happen.


skiingkow said...

As I stated in "A View from Taiwan", the 1992 consensus is akin to squaring all of the evidence gathered in paleontology with hard-core creationism.

You can't call it a 'consensus' when you consider the details.

When you agree to something, generally the semantics of the main principle are regarded as...umm...necessary.

The 1992 consensus is political wool that is meant to be pulled over the eyes of non-critical thinkers -- not unlike creationism.


jmclin8 said...

As long as China insists on "One China principle" without any slightest possibility of "two intepreatations", how can Ma's "Common Market" works out in any way? Apparently, such a "massaged" slogan has helped Ma/KMT win a substantial amount of votes. Most people, except for economics scholars in Taiwan, so desperate for a better economic prospect yet so ignorant of the concept of Common Market, are more than willing to accept "a big pie in the air."

Moreover, how can you possibly reply on an "oral concensus" made by those PRC delegates who are always ready to even deny and defy any "written" consensus or contract? A case in point is the recent Tibet event.

So you wake up, my friends!

jmclin8 said...

Sorry for the typo: "two mistepreatations", which should read "two interpretations".

jmclin8 said...

Again, sorry for another typo: "concensus", which should read "consensus".