Tsai-Xi meeting possible without ’92 consensus: ex-DPP chair

Taipei, A meeting between President Tsai Ing-wen (???) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (???) is not impossible, even without her recognition of the "1992 consensus," Hsu Hsin-liang (???), former chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said Thursday.

"As long as Xi is willing to meet with Tsai, there could be such a meeting, whether or not recognition of the '1992 consensus' is set as a prerequisite," Hsu said.

"It's not the DPP that does not want to accept the '1992 consensus,' but rather it's a large number of people in Taiwan," Hsu said at a seminar sponsored by the Ma Ying-jeou Culture and Education Foundation to mark the third anniversary of Ma's historic summit with Xi in Singapore in 2015.

Describing Tsai as an elite rather than a staunch supporter of Taiwan independence, he said the DPP would have gone down if it has accepted the "1992 consensus," given that the party had long refused to recognize the tacit agreement between Taiwan and China.

"If the DPP had been forced to accept the consensus after it came to power, it would have crashed," Hsu said, referring to the tacit agreement reached in Hong Kong in 1992 by officials of the then Kuomintang government and the Communist Party of China.

Under the "1992 consensus," both sides agreed that there was only one China, with each free to interpret what that means, a consensus that Ma upheld as the basis of exchanges between Taiwan and China during his presidency from 2008 to 2016.

Since Tsai came to power in May 2016, however, cross-Taiwan Strait relations have soured because of her refusal to openly recognize the "1992 consensus."

Hsu said the DPP should not be blamed for the current stalemate in cross-strait relations, but rather China should be held responsible, in light of its constant bullying of Taiwan over many years.

"China has spared no effort to bully Taiwan, and now is being bullied by the United States," Hsu said, adding that China should reflect on its own behavior or risk global isolation.

Also at the seminar, former DPP lawmaker Hong Chi-chang (???) said there was a string of conditions from 2008 to 2015 that eventually led to the landmark Ma-Xi.

"In the same way, a Tsai-Xi meeting could be held," he said, adding that both leaders must have the vision and insight and be willing to seize an opportunity to build peace.

Speaking after the closing ceremony of the two-day seminar, Ma said the chances of a meeting between Tsai and Xi are slim, given the current situation in which the two sides are sharply divided and have no common foundation.

On the question of which direction Taiwan should take, Ma suggested that it "stick to the Constitution."

"It is the best direction and I will not rule out the possibility of a reunification of the two sides," he said. However, "there is no timetable for unification and it would require public consensus on when and how the two sides should make such a move."

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel