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Taiwanese youth have misgivings about political talks with China: Chu

Taiwanese youth have misgivings about political talks with China: Chu

Taipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) Kuomintang (KMT) chairman and presidential candidate Eric Chu (???) said Monday that young people in Taiwan will have misgivings if the government "leaps" into "pure political talks" with China. Cross-Taiwan Strait relations should develop step by step, Chu said, noting that his party insists on developing ties with China based on the "1992 consensus" -- a tacit understanding between the KMT government and Beijing that there is only one China, with each side free to interpret what "one China" means. Based on that consensus, President Ma Ying-jeou has set a guideline for Taiwan's China policy -- "No unification, no independence and no use of force" -- a guideline that has helped promote the peaceful development of cross-strait ties, Chu said during a TV interview. Chu replaced Hung Hsiu-chu (???) as the KMT's presidential candidate over the weekend as his party was concerned Hung's China policy proposal to sign a peace treaty with China would alienate voters who prefer the status quo. His Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rival Tsai Ing-wen (???), a heavy favorite to win the presidency, has vowed to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan Strait if she takes power next year, but her DPP refuses to acknowledge the existence of the 1992 consensus. In the interview, Chu made clear he wanted to stay the course of the current administration and try to slowly improve relations. He said that when he met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last May, "I told him that this generation has managed to minimize hostility based on the '92 consensus' while President Ma pushed forward his agenda for peaceful development of cross-strait ties." "The next generation will surely maintain the efforts and work toward a cooperative framework that will create a win-win situation for both sides," Chu said. Reducing animosity and promoting peaceful development and mutually beneficial cooperation -- all positive ways of dealing with each other -- can all be achieved on the principle of "shelving differences while seeking common ground," Chu said. But differences cannot be shelved forever, he said, adding that something must be done to narrow the differences between the two sides of the strait, and he thinks "empathy" will be a good way to begin bridging the two sides' differences. "I know many people would like to leap to the next goal, but people would say that in the process there may arise great risks," Chu said. On the question of signing a peace treaty with China to end the civil war that came to a halt in 1949 when the KMT government retreated to Taiwan, Chu said before that can be negotiated, a cooperative framework should have been built first. Officials of the two sides should meet not only on such occasions as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, he said. When they can discuss other issues, including environmental protection and cultural and educational projects in international organizations, "people will have a different feeling" about ties with China, he added. For the next generation on both sides of the strait, "it is imperative that they move from peaceful development to mutually beneficial cooperation." he said. His calls for young people to seek cooperation with China could be seen as a response to a generation of Taiwanese youth who formed a Sunflower Movement last year and staged a series of protest against the government's high school history book guidelines earlier this year. The Sunflower Movement protesters forced the Legislature to put off approval of a trade-in-services pact with China and helped rally support for opposition politicians during the year-end local government elections in 2004, leading to the ruling KMT's crushing defeat in the polls. (By Hsieh Chia-chen and S.C. Chang)


Updated : 2021-09-29 03:59 GMT+08:00