The China Post news staff
The last hustings among the three presidential candidates are over. Eric Chu, Tsai Ing-wen, and James Soong have all presented their cross-strait policies. Only Tsai, the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) standard bearer, did not make her position clear.
Tsai was questioned throughout the three hustings and two presidential television debates on how to maintain her “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait without accepting the “1992 Consensus,” which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has laid down as a sine qua non for the continued peaceful development of cross-strait relations. The consensus reached in that year is an unsigned modus vivendi, known as “one China with different interpretations” in Taiwan, under which both Taipei and Beijing are agreed that there is but one China, whose connotations can be orally and separately enunciated. As Tsai was queried on her choice of many bases for the cross-strait policy — the DPP platform of Taiwan independence, the “two-China” principle, and the “Republic of China as a government in exile” theory — she conceded that the “1992 Consensus” is an option, though she defined it as the spirit of an agreement reached by negotiators of both sides through an exchange of letters. She only promised not to provoke China and induce any shocking “surprise.” Both Chu and Soong, chairmen of the Kuomintang (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP), respectively, want to continue the cross-strait status quo in accordance with the tacit agreement under which the dispute of sovereignty is shelved in order to resolve urgent issues facing the two sides. Eligible voters will go to the polls on this coming Saturday to elect one of the trio and a new Legislative Yuan or parliament. All public opinion surveys have predicted Tsai will win a landslide and her party could knock out the ruling KMT and control the Legislature for the first time since legislative elections began in Taiwan. If the predictions are borne out, Taiwan will face an unpredictable future.