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Global Commentary
Friday, 15 October 2004
Cross-strait talks unlikely in the near future
Topic: Politics
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian had, on 10 October, called for a resumption of cross-strait talks between China and Taiwan. However, because of his failure to accept the one-China principle, China has now rejected his proposal.

On 13 October, Zhang Mingqing, spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, responded to President Chen: "Chen Shui-bian claims that he has intentions of easing tension and confrontation across the strait, but in his speech he obstinately sticks to his stand of one country on each side across the strait."

Zhang called the remarks "an open and audacious expression of Taiwan independence", adding that it "constitutes another grave provocation to the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait".

China wants the one-China principle to be acknowledged by Taiwan before starting talks. Agreement on this principle, according to Beijing, was the basis on which the two sides met in Hong Kong in 1992, and is often called the 1992 consensus.

Zhang reiterated China's stand on the 1992 consensus on 13 October: "It is our consistent stand and we have reiterated many times that if Taiwan authorities acknowledge the 1992 consensus, cross-strait dialogue and talks can be resumed immediately. This stand has never changed."

And it is unlikely to change in the near future. China wants unification. Taiwan wants greater communication links for its businesses. Starting talks without agreement on the one-China principle confers relatively little benefit to the mainland, but suits the Taiwanese government just fine.

For the latter reason, cross-strait talks is a bargaining chip which Beijing would want to withhold until Taiwan concedes on the one-China principle. And as long as President Chen panders to the pro-independence groups in Taiwan, that concession is unlikely to happen.

Posted by lim_cs at 12:20 PM JST | post your comment (0) | link to this post

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