So here's the WSJ talking about the "1992 Consensus" in which the two sides agreed to disagree. This was much touted by President Ma early in his Regional Administratorship as the basis for cooperation between the thugs in Beijing and their new friends in Taipei.
Of course, those of us who follow the news know that a couple of years ago Ma's former NSC head Su Chi, who was in on the negotiations, said that the 1992 consensus was invented and that nothing had ever been agreed on. In 2006 Su Chi, then a legislator, said:
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Su Chi (Fast forward to today. The much touted "1992 Consensus" appears to exist only in KMT heads, according to Beijing. The WSJ reported:
蘇起) yesterday admitted that he made up the term "1992 consensus" in 2000, before the KMT handed over power to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Su said he invented the term in order to break the cross-strait deadlock and alleviate tension.
"[Then president] Lee Teng-hui (
李登輝) was not in the know when the term was invented. Lee found out about it later from the newspaper, but he never mentioned later that it was improper," said Su, who was chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council at the time.
Su made the remarks yesterday in response to Lee who, during a Taiwan Solidarity Union seminar on Monday, said that the so-called "1992 consensus" was a fiction.
"Little monkey boy's trying to make up history," Lee said of Su, daring him to respond on the matter.
But whether there really was a consensus and what the consensus was became an issue this week.Some observations:
It started with a senior official from China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, an organization in charge of China’s negotiations with Taiwan, talking about Beijing’s definition of the ‘92 consensus in Taipei on Wednesday, saying “Both sides insisted on the One China principle in 1992.”
Taiwan’s Presidential Office and Cabinet both protested within 24 hours, saying Taiwan believes both sides agreed then that there is only one China, and that both sides are entitled to represent themselves. For Taiwan, One China means the Republic of China, the official title of the island, the two Taiwan departments said.
In 1992, both sides agreed to put aside the political disagreements on identifying each other to start nonpolitical negotiations, former and current negotiators said.
“There were agreements and disagreements in 1992,” said Jan Jyh-horng, a former Taiwan negotiator involved in the negotiation in 1992. “If there really had been a consensus, there wouldn’t have been incidents like Beijing launching missiles to the Taiwan Strait in 1996.”
Despite several agreements reached since, and other advances, such as direct flights between the two, Beijing and Taipei remain divided on the ‘92 consensus. Both sides have avoided explicitly talking about their definitions of it in the past two years.
In one major cross-Strait academic conference attended by retired ambassadors and retired military officials in November, attendees from both sides criticized each other over the interpretations. Beijing blamed Taipei for not talking about One China, and Taipei accused Beijing of not mentioning the part about both sides’ right to represent themselves.
Analysts in Taiwan believe Beijing is eager to push for political negotiations with Taiwan after both sides reached an important trade pact in June, but Taiwan’s reluctance to accept Beijing’s interpretation of the One China principle remains a key obstruction.
1. "Pragmatic" and "flexible" President Ma and his government won't budge on the 1992 Consensus. When the Chen Administration similarly wouldn't budge on certain core issues, it was "unpragmatic" and "provocative."
2. The 1992 Consensus wouldn't even be an issue if President Ma hadn't made it one in his campaign and post-election speeches. Further: it wouldn't be necessary to Ma and his government unless he was a True Believer in the ROC mythology. He could just quietly forget it like all his other promises.
3. It would be ironic if political talks foundered because Beijing refused to recognize the principle of some ghostly ROC sovereignty. Ironic because it is exactly analogous to Beijing refusing to talk to the Chen Administration over that Administration's insistence on Taiwan's sovereignty. But don't worry, Beijing will be blamed for this, and everyone will thank all gods that the horrible sovereignty-insisting Chen Shui-bian is out of office and "pragmatic" non-sovereignty insisting Ma is in.
4. Here is the KMT desperately trying to sell Taiwan to Beijing with a few conditions of no particular importance in the long run, and here is Beijing not. giving. an. inch. There's no percentage for them in not. giving. an. inch. But they won't. This is totally consistent with the cut-off-nose-to-spite-face behavior that Beijing always engages in. Engaging in that behavior is even more important than annexing Taiwan.
5. Damn, it was hot out there today. I'm just sayin'.
6. Of course, it may be that the KMT negotiators are out there trying to find an excuse to put off formal and open political talks. Should they engage in political talks before the 2012 election, Ma might well be toast in the 2012 elections.
7. Add your own in the comments.
UPDATE: The Ma-Su Chi version in Chinese is 一個中國、各自表述 "represent" probably doesn't quite capture its meaning (表達陳述) -- to express, to narrate, according to my man Feiren. The KMT always called it "one country with different interpretations."
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