Editorial: Recognition of 1992 Consensus key to solving mainland-Taiwan impasse

The much-anticipated meeting between the Communist Party of China (CPC) General Secretary Xi Jinping and Taiwan's Kuomintang Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu was held in Beijing on November 1.

In fact, since 2005 when the then Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan made an ice-breaking tour of the Chinese mainland to meet then CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao, successive Kuomintang chairpersons (except Ma Ying-jeou who met with Xi in Singapore in 2015) have visited the Chinese capital, warming up the cross-Strait ties. But the Xi-Hung meeting carries a different significance.

One the one hand, it is the first meeting between the two parties' paramount leaders after the Kuomintang relinquished power to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) this year. The meeting also comes at a time when the cross-Strait relationship is frozen after Tsai Ing-wen took office; on the other hand, inside the Kuomintang, there were people who were opposed to Hung's mainland trip. Therefore, what Xi said to Hung during the meeting is of importance to both the Kuomintang and the DPP.

During the meeting with Hung, Xi put forth six suggestions on promoting peaceful development of the relations between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan: Stressing the adherence to the 1992 Consensus which represents the One China principle; firmly objecting to the activities conducted by pro-independence forces; promoting cross-Strait economic and social integration and development; jointly publicizing Chinese culture; enhancing the life quality of compatriots in the Chinese mainland and Taiwan; and making joint efforts to realize the great Chinese renaissance.

Xi's statement indicates that Beijing will never change its attitude toward the 1992 Consensus and Taiwan's pro-independence forces. At the same time, he also sent a signal of goodwill to the Taiwanese people by mentioning improvement of the compatriots' life.

At present, both the Kuomintang and the DPP are experiencing a hard time.

Since May 20 when Tsai was elected as Taiwan's top leader, cross-Strait industrial exchanges have increasingly diminished due to the cooling of the political ties caused by Tsai's refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus, leading to protests and falling support for the DPP.

Compared with the DPP, the Kuomintang faces a worse situation. The Kuomintang has been losing ground to the DPP in local and legislative elections since 2014 when the party took a heavy hit in the 9-in-1 elections. Recently, the ruling DPP has stripped the Kuomintang of its business and property assets. Worse still, the Kuomintang is also mired in internal strife.

However, the adversity can be turned into an opportunity. It is imaginable that anyone who wants to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus has to take into account Taiwan's realistic political environment. As a political party with a history of nearly a century, the Kuomintang needs to consolidate its stand to back the 1992 Consensus in order not to lose its political tradition. Amid the frosty cross-Strait ties, the channel that the Kuomintang can use to communicate with the Chinese mainland can be its core advantage.

In the statements respectively by Xi and Hung, the two leaders have shown a joint determination to back the 1992 Consensus, combat the pro-independence forces and improve the life quality of people in the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. The duo also touched upon the political, economic and cultural cooperation in the statements.

To be frank, the agreements reached by the CPC and the Kuomintang during Hung's visit will not be favored by the Tsai administration, which had warned Hung of legal action if her party signs any treaty with Beijing, citing it involves official power. But the Kuomintang could turn its attention to the nongovernmental areas like the peaceful development forum, which is held during Hung's mainland visit and is very popular among Taiwan's civil groups.

Therefore, the Kuomintang should unite again to revitalize its core value. It is conceivable that the cooperation with the CPC in promoting the peaceful development of the cross-Strait relationship could be used as an important way to get Kuomintang out of the predicament. As Xi said, "Justice is rooted in the hearts of people. The contributions made by the CPC and the Kuomintang to promote the peaceful development of the cross-Strait ties have already been written into the history."

The Xi-Hung meeting also sends a signal to the DPP that the CPC can cooperate with any party in Taiwan if it supports the 1992 Consensus.

(The article is translated and edited by Ding Yi.)

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