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United Daily News: 'One China, respective interpretations' tested

The most important effect of the historic meeting between Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou (???) and China's President Xi Jinping (???) was that it consolidated the "1992 consensus." The meeting also tested the concept of "one China, respective interpretations." Ma stressed in the meeting that the "1992 consensus" was the foundation of cross-strait relations, but he also clarified the meaning of the term in front of Xi, pointing out that the "1992 consensus" meant that the two sides agreed that there is only "one China," with each side free to interpret what that means. Ma also said the Constitution of the Republic of China does not allow one China and one Taiwan, and used that to express the existence of the Republic of China. His words were directed at both Xi and opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen, and were intended to emphasize the existing ROC constitutional system. Ma was not able to influence Xi on the definition of the "1992 consensus," but it was the first time that a Taiwanese leader had mentioned such terms as "one China, respective interpretations," "the Republic of China Constitution" and "the Republic of China president" in front of a Chinese leader. We cannot call this insignificant progress, nor can we accuse Ma of not making an effort. Furthermore, it was not an easy thing for Xi to "shelve" his own identity and title as president of the People's Republic of China to meet and have dinner with Ma. Both sides understand they had to face "one China, respective interpretations" or the meeting could not have taken place. The equal and dignified arrangements (such as paying their own dinner bills and not hanging national flags at the hotel) at least tested "one China, respective interpretations" in form. The entire Ma-Xi meeting was a wrestling match to define what "1992 consensus" means. Xi wanted the "one China principle" and Ma wanted "one China, respective interpretations." But the bottom line for both sides was the "1992 consensus." The meeting immediately increased the friction between Beijing and the DPP. The DPP's rigid stance on anything related to "one China" is in stark contrast to Ma's strategy to "seek common ground while reserving differences." The DPP has said that cross-strait talks should be held without any preconditions, but a "constitutional one China" and/or "one China, respective interpretations" are the premises and limits placed on the ROC president by the ROC Constitution. In their closed-door meeting, Xi had harsh words for Taiwan independence and said upholding the "1992 consensus" and opposing Taiwan independence was the "magic needle in the ocean" that ensures cross-strait peace. Is Tsai planning to get rid of that "magic needle in the ocean"? (Editorial abstract -- Nov. 8, 2015) (By Christie Chen)

Updated : 2021-09-17 22:08 GMT+08:00