Ex-NSC official calls for continued cross-strait academic exchanges

Taipei--The former secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC) and chairman of the Taipei Forum, a local think tank, said Thursday that academic exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should continue, even though official exchanges have cooled.

Su Chi (??) made the remarks in a news release that said the Taipei Forum will co-host a forum on Southeast Asia studies with the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences' Southeast Asia Research Institute, which will take place Saturday in Nanning, in China's Guanxi Province.

Su will attend the forum, accompanied by former Foreign Minister Chen Chien-jen (???) and former Straits Exchange Foundation Secretary-General Chiu Chin-yi (???), as well as various experts and scholars.

Cross-strait relations have cooled since President Tsai Ing-wen (???) took office in May 2016, mainly due to her refusal to heed Beijing's calls to recognize the "1992 consensus" as the sole political foundation for cross-strait exchanges.

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

Su said that due to a lack of mutual trust, it has been difficult for the two sides to see any signs of a breakthrough in the current stalemate. Under the circumstances, civilian and academic exchanges have become even more important and should not be disrupted, he added.

Su pointed out that Southeast Asian countries have undergone big changes in the areas of economy, politics and security in recent years. As U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade bloc, the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will become comparatively greater in Asia and the Pacific, he went on.

Su noted that the Southeast Asia Research Institute is a stronghold in the study of Southeast Asia and ASEAN, and he expressed hope that the event will help build a bridge for Southeast Asia studies between civil bodies on both sides.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel