Xi initiated to establish institutional arrangement for solving Taiwan question

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/2 17:33:39

Xi’s speech shifts Taiwan focus from maintaining stability to reunification

President Xi Jinping's keynote speech on solving the Taiwan question on Wednesday marks a shift in the Chinese mainland's stance from focusing on maintaining stability across the Taiwan Straits to actively promoting the reunification of the country, analysts said.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, proposed that the mainland and Taiwan should conduct democratic consultations on cross-Straits relations and the future of the nation, and establish an institutional arrangement for peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.

He made the remarks at a gathering in Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of issuing the historical Message to Compatriots in Taiwan.

Political parties and all sectors on both sides of the Straits may recommend representatives to conduct extensive and in-depth democratic consultations on the basis of the common political foundation of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence," Xi said.

Yu Keli, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Taiwan Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Xi's speech "is a consistent stance of the mainland, and the reason the mainland initiated the establishment of an institutional arrangement is to break the current political deadlock across the Straits."

Currently, exchanges, cooperation and communications between people on the two sides are already taking place. Experts say standing in the way of further political progress is Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the pro-separatist party which is currently "the ruling party" of the island province. It refuses to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus, causing a deadlock in political exchanges and consultations across the Straits.

The 1992 Consensus reached in Singapore states that both sides recognize there is only one China and both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan belong to the same China. The agreement simply known as the 1992 Consensus enabled exchanges between people on both sides of the Straits to flourish, until the DPP came to power in 2000 and again in 2016.

In his speech, Xi stressed that achieving national rejuvenation and cross-Straits reunification is the trend of history, which can never be blocked by anyone or any force. "China must be and will be reunified."

Yu said that "this is a clear signal to political groups within the island of Taiwan that maintaining the status quo is not the final goal for cross-Straits relations, and future development of relations should be oriented toward reunification."

"In the past, the foundation for cross-Straits exchange has always been impacted and shaken by the transition of power on the island. When the DPP came to power for example, the achievements reached with the KMT [Chinese Kuomintang Party in Taiwan, which acknowledges the 1992 consensus] were negated," said Song Luzheng, an analyst of Taiwan affairs and research fellow at the China Institute of Fudan University in Shanghai.

Some KMT politicians during former leader Ma Ying-jeou's tenure between 2008 and 2016 also refused to push forward reunification and instead stuck with the status quo.

This is also part of the deadlock and the deadlock should not be accepted forever, so that's why Xi called for the establishment of an institutional arrangement, "which will not be impacted by power transitions within the island," Song noted.


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