A controversial term in cross-strait relations

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2011, 12:00am


The '1992 consensus' is a controversial term on the mainland and in Taiwan. In that year, both sides accepted the doctrine of 'one China', but differed on its definition. Taiwan insisted on the right to interpret the term as 'The Republic of China', while Beijing stuck to 'The People's Republic'. The sides failed to reach an agreement on the exact wording after several rounds of negotiations in Hong Kong that year.

The term '1992 consensus' was coined in April 2000 by the island's former Mainland Affairs Council chairman, Su Chi of the Kuomintang, before the KMT government handed over power to Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party. Under the consensus, each side was allowed its own interpretation of the meaning of 'one China', which allowed the two sides to hold talks.

While Taiwan first used the term in 2000, it took Beijing another eight years to use it, after the KMT's Ma Ying-jeou was elected president in late March 2008. The term was first reported by Xinhua in its English version in 2008. It was picked up by the mainland government soon after when Beijing and Taipei started talks on improving cross-strait ties.