Beijing blast an ill wind for Taiwan’s cross-strait affairs moderate
- Chiu Tai-shan’s first remarks as head of Mainland Affairs Office described as deliberate attempt to ‘distort and confuse’
- Linking of 1992 consensus and one country, two systems an ‘unacceptable’ attempt to blame Beijing for deteriorating relationship
Beijing has accused Taiwan’s new head of cross-strait affairs of deliberately distorting the context of the 1992 consensus in an attempt to lay the blame on the mainland for their deteriorating relationship.
But his remarks on assuming the post at a ceremony on Tuesday drew a sharp response from Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing, who described them as “unacceptable”.
Beijing insists on ‘1992 consensus’ in response to first remarks by Taiwan’s new mainland chief
“This man deliberately mixed the 1992 consensus with “one country, two systems’ … in an attempt to distort it and create confusion,” Ma said.
The consensus – an understanding between the two sides that there is one China, but each can have their own understanding of what that means – was rejected by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, leading Beijing to suspend official exchanges and step up military and diplomatic pressure on the self-ruled island.
Why has the relationship between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan taken a turn for the worse?
Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province, to be returned to the mainland by force, if necessary.
In his remarks, Chiu said Beijing’s “new interpretation” of the consensus had left the island with little room to manoeuvre and made it difficult for the Taiwan public to accept. He also said the two sides needed to find a way to address the issue.
But Ma said the consensus and one country, two systems were two different things. While the former was the political basis for the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, the latter was a proposal, raised to resolve the cross-strait unification issue.
‘One China’ explained
In his 2019 address, Xi had called for the two sides to hold talks based on the one-China principle of the consensus and proposed the one country, two systems model as an option for talks, Ma said.
If Taiwan really wanted to resume talks with the mainland, “it should go ahead and accept the consensus instead of denying it” he said.
Ma also dismissed as “sheer fabrication” Taipei’s accusation that Beijing had pressured German pharmaceutical firm BioNTech over a deal to supply the island with 5 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine.