Beijing braces for post-Ma Taiwan

The China Post news staff

“(Cross Strait relations) won’t be smooth sailing all the way from now on.” Those were the stern words Chen Deming (陳德銘), president of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), delivered at the talk between cross-strait top negotiators in Fuzhou, Fujian yesterday, an occasion usually marked by optimistic comments of “cross-strait brotherhood” from the both sides. It was the 11th talk between Beijing and Taipei top officials since 2008, when cross-strait ties warmed under President Ma Ying-jeou’s detente policy. Since then, both sides have made several key agreements, including the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and the controversial Trade in Services Agreement. The latest talk saw the signing of the pacts on double taxation avoidance and aviation safety yesterday.

Even officials from both sides are trying to rush in another round of negotiations before Ma’s tenure ends. Chen, the top Chinese negotiator, however, had some grave things to say. He stressed that things might be as good as it gets now, a thinly veiled warning for the worsening of cross-strait ties after the 2016 presidential election in Taiwan. While expressing that the “family-like” relations between mainland China and Taiwan will not change regardless of the result of the election, Chen quoted Chinese leader Xi Jinping in stressing that “The ‘1992 Consensus’ is our political common ground; deny the ‘1992 Consensus’ and the mountains will shake.” Chen’s warning were reinforced later by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), who said that “all thing we have achieved now could collapse” without the “1992 Consensus,” hinting that signed cross-strait agreements could be upended if Taiwan denies the consensus of “one China, different interpretations.”