The China Post staff
Kuomintang lawmaker Su Chi admitted yesterday what is known as the “consensus of 1992” is his own handiwork, as former President Lee Teng-hui said it was. Lee said Sunday he never knew there is any consensus of 1992 and charged Su with creating that non-existent unsigned agreement between Taipei and Beijing. However, there exists what amounts to a bout de papier or aide memoire type agreement between the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association of Relations across the Taiwan Strait in 1992. As an aide memoire, it was unsigned but dated and typed on the paper with the titles of the two quasi-government organizations charged with the conduct of “unofficial” relations between Taiwan and China. Had it been a bout de papier, it would have been typed on “just paper” and undated.
But the agreement per se is not typed on one piece of paper. Rather the two organizations exchanged their aides memoire to complete the agreement, under which Taipei and Beijing both accept one China whose connotation can be individually and orally stated. This agreement was characterized by Su, then chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, as the principle of “one China with different interpretations.” China did not contest his characterization, however. “I tried what I could to come up with a solution to the imminent impasse between Taipei and Beijing right after President Chen Shui-bian’s election in 2000,” Su recalled. Su knew President Chen would never accept the principle of one China with different interpretations. He also knew he had to do something to prevent the stalemate. “That’s why I decided to repack the principle of ‘one China with different interpretations in the consensus of 1992,” Su pointed out. He said he did not tell President Lee of his decision and went ahead with the announcement of his creation. “President Lee did not know beforehand,” he continued, “and he came to know only after reading the newspaper.” “But,” Su pointed out, “President Lee did not complain.” Lee is now complaining Su was trying to “create history.” Under that aide memoire agreement, C.F. Koo, SEF chairman, met his Chinese counterpart Wang Daohan twice in 1993 and 1998 to sign agreements to solve “issues of technicalities” between Taiwan and China. Koo went to see Chinese President Jiang Zeming in Beijing after his meeting with Wang in Shanghai in 1998. On the other hand, Su said the consensus of 1992 sounds better and is of more use to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party than the principle of one China with different interpretations. “Well,” the Kuomintang legislator said, “the consensus of 1992 makes it possible for Taipei to differently ‘interpret’ one China.” Beijing wants dialogue with Taipei in accordance with the consensus of 1992. However, China now insists on the principle of one China whose connotation can be individually and orally stated. The change came about after James Soong, chairman of the People First Party, met and talked with Hu Jintao, Chinese president, in Beijing in May last year.