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Chinese official wants 'something new' from Taiwan's top negotiator

ROC Central News Agency

2016/09/06 21:42:55

Beijing, Sept. 6 (CNA) China's Taiwan affairs minister said Tuesday that he would like to know whether Taiwan's top negotiator with China will insist on the "political foundation" for cross-Taiwan Strait exchanges and come up with new ideas for moving bilateral ties forward.

Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) was asked to comment on the latest statement by Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂), who will soon head Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), that China's top leader has yet to speak on the "1992 consensus" and that he hopes that there is still some leeway on the issue.

Tien made the remarks during a radio interview a day earlier, in which he expressed hope that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) will "have a broad vision and thinking" about China's way of looking at the "1992 consensus," in which Taipei and Beijing agreed there is only one China, with each side free to interpret what that means.

The Chinese government and Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) government, which ceded power to Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on May 20, had no problem proclaiming the "1992 consensus" as the political foundation for institutionalized talks between them.

But Tsai is deemed to be inclined toward Taiwan independence -- a taboo for China -- and has not openly accepted the existence of the "1992 consensus," much to the displeasure of the Beijing authorities.

Instead, as Tien said, the president recognizes the fact that there was a meeting held between the two sides in Hong Kong in 1992, which, according to the KMT's Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration, paved the way for improved cross-strait ties during Ma's two terms in office from 2008-2016.

Zhang told reporters Tuesday that the key to resuming cross-strait talks lies in the "political foundation" -- particularly its core meaning of "one China" -- rather than in "who heads the SEF," whose Chinese counterpart is the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS).

Tien, set to assume the SEF chairmanship Sept. 12, said he still hopes for some leeway from Xi before or after the 6th plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China's Central Committee, scheduled to be held in Beijing in October.

Zhang said that the point is how Tien will make his case with regard to the "mutually agreed political foundation" of the 1992 consensus. "Will he have something new to say on this issue? Let's just wait and see," he said.

(By Lawrence Chiu and S.C. Chang)
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