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Taiwan, China testing each other's bottom lines: security agency

ROC Central News Agency

2016/06/05 17:32:15

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) Taipei and Beijing, deadlocked over the "1992 consensus," are testing each other's bottom lines in regard to the political foundation of their bilateral relations, the National Security Bureau (NSB) has said, suggesting that Taipei keep communicating with its rival and try to build a bridge of mutual trust.

The NSB made its assessment and suggestions in a written report to the Legislature, prior to NSB head John K. Young's (楊國強) appearance at a legislative committee meeting Monday. Young, along with the ministers of national defense, foreign affairs and mainland affairs, will jointly attend the meeting, which is aimed at discussing the East Asia situation and Taiwan's steps to deal with it.

Summing up China's response to President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) May 20 inauguration speech, Young's agency said that China thinks Tsai has taken "one step closer" to its version of the "1992 consensus," but is not satisfied with her attempts to evade the "core meaning" of its definition of "one China" -- that Taiwan and China belong to "one China."

That consensus was reached by officials from Taipei and Beijing during meetings in Hong Kong in 1992, when the two sides agreed that there is only "one China," with each side free to interpret what that means. Taipei defines "one China" as "the Republic of China" -- Asia's first democracy, established in 1912.

Even though Tsai is committed to conducting cross-Taiwan Strait relations based on the ROC Constitution and relevant laws, regarding both the "mainland area" and the "Taiwan area" as integral parts of the ROC, Beijing is suspicious of her Democratic Progressive Party's pro-Taiwan independence platform.

As there is insufficient trust between Taipei and Beijing, the NSB said, Beijing would rather watch what the Tsai administration will do than what it will say about cross-strait relations.

The Ministry of National Defense has forecast that Beijing will adopt a multifaceted strategy toward Taiwan, including political division, military threat, and economic integration, and increasing pressure on Taiwan in the international community, to stifle Taiwan's efforts to broaden its international space.

So, according to the NSB, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are currently engaged in a game of nerves to test each other's bottom lines and find a mode of coexistence in which both sides can live with each other, with as much common ground as possible, while shelving their dispute on differences.

During this period of uncertainty, the NSB suggested that the government stick to its principle of "more communication, no provocation and zero surprises" vis-a-vis China, making an effort to build a bridge of talks and mutual trust, in the hope of restoring cross-strait negotiations and exchanges.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) urged both sides to value the hard-earned achievements of the past years and to restart official talks to ensure a peaceful and stable development of cross-strait ties.

China has suspended talks between the MAC and its Taiwan Affairs Office and between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits in the wake of Tsai's inaugural speech.

In the East Asia context, the NSB said the rapid rise of China's national power, the United States' "Pivot to Asia" policy and the rising sense of national sovereignty in other Asian countries are adding variables and increasing risks of conflict throughout the region.

International disputes might therefore grow more and more complex and become prolonged, creating far-reaching impact on the overall situation in East Asia, said the NSB.

(By Wang Cheng-chung and S.C. Chang)
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