The search for a new path for Taiwan’s main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) was bound to involve its choosing of a different type of leader. Johnny Chiang Chi-chen , 48, is its youngest-ever chairman and has promised to implement reforms that include a changed approach towards Beijing. What exactly that means has yet to be defined, but he has assiduously avoided mention of the “1992 consensus”, an agreement made with the Communist Party of China four decades ago recognising that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to “one China”. There can be no shying away from that basis for relations and it has to be adhered to; the island’s future development and vitality are firmly rooted in good ties with the mainland. A dismal showing in presidential and legislative elections in January prompted deep reflection by the Beijing-friendly KMT. President Tsai Ing-wen and her independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party won a second term with a continued refusal to acknowledge the consensus by campaigning on a policy of protecting Taiwan against mainland China’s influence. The approach, spurred by Beijing’s efforts to reunify the island under the “one country, two systems” model and political events in Hong Kong, had strong appeal with young voters. It was inevitable that the KMT’s older generation of leaders would have to give way to younger members so that a new course could be charted in hopes of the party returning to power in 2024. Chiang faces a dilemma, though. The consensus is the basis for the Communist Party to keep close ties with the KMT and represents a conduit through which there can be peace and stability across the strait and eventual reunification. It is also what defines the KMT and ensures it has a separate identity that voters can relate to. Understandably, the new leader’s failure to mention the consensus in his acceptance speech as the chairman meant that for the first time, there was no congratulatory message from Beijing. The KMT cannot abandon the consensus. But it can reformulate its stance with an eye on appealing to most Taiwanese. It has to tread wisely as it formulates reforms and a strategy.