Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Locking in the ‘1992 consensus’

In addition to raising questions about future political talks, the appointment of Su Chi on the SEF board sends a signal to Beijing that the KMT is bent on destroying any chances of the DPP finding an alternative to the '1992 consensus'  

Upon being re-elected chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) on Friday, Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) vowed to forge ahead with negotiations under the so-called “1992 consensus,” a clear sign, if one was needed, that Beijing and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) intend to leave no room for the emergence of alternative approaches to cross-strait talks.

Chiang’s pledge plays right into the KMT’s insistence on abiding by the controversial consensus, whose existence is denied by both the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was in office at the time the agreement was alleged to have been struck.

Chiang showed that the nation’s top cross-strait negotiator is anything but neutral, since it has been widely rumored that the DPP is hard at work trying to ensure that communication with Beijing would not cease if the party’s presidential candidate, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), were elected on Jan. 14. Although the DPP has refused to confirm the rumor, at least two of Tsai’s advisers are reportedly engaged in talks with Chinese officials on alternatives to the “1992 consensus” that would be palatable to both sides — perhaps a sign that Beijing realizes that a DPP return to the executive office is not altogether impossible.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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