China urged to adopt more flexible approach to Taiwan relations

Taipei--Beijing should listen more carefully to what President Tsai Ing-wen (???) has said in her policy toward China and be more creative and flexible in its relations with Taiwan, a visiting American scholar said Tuesday in Taipei.

Evans Revere, who served as United States principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in 2005, noted that Taiwan is facing a lot of pressure from Beijing, including a recent cut back in the number of tourists and students from China.

"That's not helpful" to relations across the Taiwan Strait, he told reporters on the sidelines of a security forum in Taipei called the Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue.

Revere said it would be useful for the U.S. to encourage Beijing to adopt a more pragmatic, realistic and low-key approach to dealing with Taiwan.

"Beijing needs to listen carefully to what President Tsai is saying," Revere said. "She really doesn't want to upset the status quo."

President Tsai has sought to reassure Beijing that her administration intends to maintain the status quo, he said, adding that he hoped that Beijing would accept and understand that.

However, Revere said, on a recent trip to Beijing he got the impression that China was still "skeptical" about Tsai and her approach, although he did not detect much hostility toward her administration.

Noting that Beijing is using its economic leverage to put pressure on Taiwan, Revere said he hoped the Chinese government would realize that President Tsai is committed to a stable, transparent and predictable cross-strait relationship, which the U.S. also wants to see.

Revere said he hoped that after 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China later this year, the Chinese leadership would become more self-confident and willing to build stable relations with Taiwan.

Asked about his ideas for advancing cross-strait ties, he said that "getting beyond the ongoing argument about the 1992 consensus would be one way."

President Tsai has come up with creative ideas for the continuation of good, transparent, cooperative relations, Revere said.

"I am hoping that Beijing will think creatively," he said, adding that it would require some flexibility on Beijing's part.

Cross-strait ties have cooled since Tsai took office in May 2016, mainly due to her refusal to heed Beijing's calls to accept the "1992 consensus" as the sole political foundation of cross-strait exchanges.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which was then under a Kuomintang government, that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.

The Tsai administration has said that it remains committed to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel