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First presidential debate revolves around 92 Consensus, economy

First presidential debate revolves around 92 Consensus, economy

Debate revolves around 92 Consensus, economy

The election debate on Sunday continued to revolve around the “1992 Consensus” and cross-strait relations as Kuomintang presidential candidate Eric Chu repeatedly attacked his contender over the subject.

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen however retaliated Chu that she has expressed her stance on the 1992 Consensus many times before, adding that the DPP will do its utmost to maintain the status quo, as well as to maintain good communication so that there are no misunderstandings while managing the relationship.

The first televised debate among three presidential candidates was hosted by Public Television Service (PTS) in the afternoon, one of the nine media sponsors agreed upon by the candidates. After giving out their opening speeches, the three candidates – Eric Chu of the ruling KMT, Tsai of the DPP and James Soong of the People First Party (PFP) – then faced five questions posed by media sponsors, before each was allowed to challenge their counterparts with their own questions and make a closing statement.

“I have already mentioned that the 1992 Consensus is an option, but it is not the only solution,” Tsai responded.

“But I promise to follow public opinion and abide by our democratic mechanism to promote cross-strait relations,” she said.

By pointing out the differences on "how to term" the 1992 consensus between Taipei and Beijing, Tsai stuck to her party's position that the consensus is non-existent, although something did happen in Hong Kong in 1992 between Taipei's and Beijing's negotiators.

Commenting on a question posed by the United Daily News (UDN) regarding the 1992 Consensus and whether Taiwan should continue to tie its economy more closely to China, Chu again seized the opportunity to slam Tsai for not acknowledging the consensus, saying DPP’s hindrance to the preferential trade agreement - the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) – was enough to show that she did not support open trade because of her approach on China.

“Promoting stable cross-strait relations have always been on our agenda. We are not afraid of China’s red supply chain, and we certainly must not deprive ourselves from China’s economic lure,” Chu said, adding that ECFA must go through, as with other international trade agreements.

Tsai again countered Chu that she never once said Taiwan should not do business with China or denied the island’s investments on the mainland.

“However, we must not tie our economy only to China, but should instead help to foster other trade interests in other regions,” she said.

Regarding China’s Tsinghua Unigroup’s attempt to gain control of Taiwan's Siliconware Precision Industries, Tsai said the government should extend its efforts to help Taiwan's industry upgrade itself in order to face the fierce Chinese competition.

Updated : 2021-09-25 05:49 GMT+08:00