Taiwan moves a step further away from the P.R.C. - SupChina
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Taiwan moves a step further away from the P.R.C.

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Happier days for cross-Strait relations: Wáng Yì 王毅, now foreign minister, was head of the Taiwan Affairs Office in 2012 when he celebrated the 20th anniversary of the “1992 Consensus.” Image source: China Times.

From Taipei, Kathrin Hille reports for the Financial Times (paywall) that the Kuomintang (KMT), smarting from a drubbing in Taiwan’s last elections, is poised to abandon the “1992 consensus.”

The 1992 Consensus is an agreement “between semi-official envoys from Beijing and Taipei in 1992 that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to ‘One China.’” The vagueness of the agreement allowed Taiwan to continue running as an independent country while letting Beijing pretend that it still ruled Taiwan.

“A rejection of the diplomatic phrase will pose a test for Beijing’s strategy for dealing with Taiwan,” notes the FT: “The Chinese government has refused to engage with any Taiwanese government that — like the administration of Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文  Cài Yīngwén), the current president — does not commit to the 1992 consensus.”

The move is an attempt by the KMT to get closer to voters. Per the FT, “Johnny Chiang [江啟臣 Jiāng Qǐchén], a KMT lawmaker and one of the candidates in Saturday’s vote, said the Communist party’s ‘distortion’ of the ‘One China’ formula and the Taiwanese people’s ever more skeptical view of Beijing meant his party could no longer win elections.”

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Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.

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