Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

【#340】Taiwan-China Summit Filled with Fictions

Koh Sekai / 2015.12.08 (Tue)

December 7, 2015

     On November 7, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou made the following proposal at the beginning of his meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping:
     “Consolidate the ‘1992 Consensus’ and maintain the present peaceful circumstances. Cross-strait exchanges (between Taiwan and China) should be expanded. Both sides should make cooperative efforts to revitalize the Chinese nation. People on both sides are the Chinese nation.”
     At a press conference after their talks, the Chinese side quoted Xi as saying:
     “China and Taiwan belong to ‘One China’ and have no country-to-country relations. People on both sides belong to a nation. Political parties and groups in Taiwan should look at the ‘1992 Consensus.’ The largest threat to the peaceful development of cross-strait relations is the separatist movement by Taiwanese independence forces.”

Staging “One China” before Taiwan’s government change
     Both Ma and Xi emphasized the “1992 Consensus,” which means that Taiwan and China recognize there is only one “China” but that Taiwan can say the meaning of that one China is the “Republic of China” and China can say it is the “People’s Republic of China.”
     The San Francisco Peace Treaty after World War II said Japan would give up Taiwan. But it failed to specify any country to which Taiwan would belong. Therefore, Japan and some other countries do not recognize Taiwan as part of China. Thus it is a fiction that the “Republic of China” that should have been extinguished in 1949 exists in Taiwan. In fact, Ma did not assert even the presence of the “Republic of China.”
     On the “1992 Consensus,” then Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui and Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Koo Chen-fu, then in charge of negotiations with China, have stated such consensus has not existed. Ma and Xi have based their negotiations on an accumulation of fictions.
     Expecting that the Democratic Progressive Party would take government from the pro-Beijing Kuomintang (Chinese National Party) in January’s Taiwanese presidential election, Ma and Xi might have attempted to further impress Taiwan as part of China and put Taiwan deeper into the “One China” framework.
     It was important for Ma to promote his pro-Beijing policy and acquire a historic reputation of holding the first ever Taiwan-China summit. As for Xi, he was trying to join hands with Taiwan at a time when China’s power politics in the East and South China Seas was coming under fire from relevant countries.

Taiwan should choose to win independence
     Given the strategic importance of Taiwan that is located between the East and South China Seas and faces the Pacific Ocean, the incorporation of Taiwan into China would not be a small thing for Japan and the United States. In Taiwan, more than 80% of people favor the present situation in which Taiwan is outside China. Moreover, given the presence of Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians in China, “one Chinese nation” can also be said as a fiction.
     Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, who is well expected to win in the coming Taiwanese presidential election, was disappointed that Ma failed to discuss the hopes of Taiwanese people at the meeting with Xi despite his own presidential election campaign commitment to decide on the fate of Taiwan through a vote of 23 million Taiwanese people.
     The future challenge for Taiwan will be to pursue its independence that Xi described as “the largest threat,” oppose China’s aggression and cooperate with Japan, the United States and others in protecting a free democratic society.

Koh Se-kai was formerly Taiwan’s top representative to Japan.