Beijing open to 'one country, two areas' concept
Beijing has said it will not rule out talking with Taipei about the controversial 'one country, two areas' concept recently brought up by the honorary chairman of Taiwan's Kuomintang, Wu Poh-hsiung.
'We have said many times that any issues can be discussed as long as the 'one China' principle is recognised,' Yang Yi, the spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said in Beijing yesterday, Xinhua reported.
He was responding to reporters' questions during a news conference on the controversial concept that has triggered mounting criticism in Taiwan of the island's mainland-friendly president, Ma Ying-jeou, and accusations he was trying to surrender the island's sovereignty to the mainland.
In a meeting with President Hu Jintao in Beijing last Thursday, Wu said cross-strait ties were not a 'country-to-country' relationship, but a 'special relationship' which should be considered as 'one country, two areas' - with the island identified as the 'Taiwan area' and the other side of the strait as 'the mainland area'. Wu later said Ma wanted him to relay the message to Hu.
Taiwan's pro-independence camp, led by the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, lashed out at Ma, accusing him of appeasing Beijing.
Yang said Hu and Wu reiterated their opposition to 'Taiwan independence' and their recognition of the 1992 consensus during their meeting. The consensus is a tacit understanding reached by negotiators of the two sides during talks in Hong Kong in 1992, in which both sides agreed there was only one China, but each could have its own interpretation of what 'China' stood for.
Yang said Hu and Wu agreed that the cross-strait relationship was not a 'country-to-country' relationship, and that they should uphold the common ground that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China, and shelve other differences.
In Taipei, the pro-independence camp continued to heap scorn on the concept, saying it was illegal for Ma to raise it without getting a consensus on the island.
'We plan to mobilise tens of thousands of people to lambast the so-called 'one country, two areas' concept by Ma while he is having his inauguration ceremony on May 20,' said Su Huan-chih, a contender for the chairmanship of the DPP. Ma, re-elected in January, begins his second four-year term on that day.
Ma's office said yesterday that the 'one country' refers to the 'Republic of China' rather than 'People's Republic of China', and the 'two areas' refer to the 'Taiwan area', which includes Taiwan proper, Penghu, Quemoy and Matsu, and the 'mainland area' referring to territories outside Republic of China rule.