KMT to stick to ‘1992 consensus:’ party chairman

KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (front, center). CNA photo Sept. 6, 2020

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Kuomintang (KMT), Taiwan’s main opposition party, will continue to stick to its long-held stance of upholding the “1992 consensus” as the basis of its policy toward China, the party’s chairman said on Sunday.

Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said while addressing the KMT’s annual National Congress that the consensus was formulated based on the Republic of China Constitution; therefore, his party will continue to abide by it as its guideline for cross-Taiwan Strait exchanges.

The “1992 consensus,” a tacit understanding reached between the then-KMT government and the Chinese government in 1992, is interpreted by the KMT as both sides of the strait acknowledging that there is only “one China,” with each side free to interpret what “China” means.

Beijing, however, has never publicly recognized or rejected the second part of the KMT interpretation.

On Sunday, the KMT National Congress also passed a resolution reiterating the party’s insistence on upholding the “1992 consensus.”

According to the resolution, the consensus has successfully promoted cross-strait exchanges and should continue to be used for that purpose.

The party also reiterated its opposition to Taiwan independence and the “one country, two systems” proposed by China, while calling on Beijing to renounce the use of force against Taiwan.

The resolution was passed as some younger KMT members urged the party to ditch the “1992 consensus,” which they said is an outdated policy that does not resonate with the younger generation and is one of the reasons why the party suffered a huge defeat in the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections.

Asked to comment on the issue, former President and ex-KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who attended Sunday’s National Congress, acknowledged Chiang for sticking to the “1992 consensus.”

The intention of the consensus lies in that “there is only one China, with each side free to interpret what ‘China’ means,” Ma said, noting that the so-called “one China” means the ROC, which now exists in Taiwan, and therefore it is exactly in line with the Constitution of the country.

Although many younger Taiwanese do not understand the “1992 consensus,” they all agree that the Chinese communist regime should face the existence of the ROC, Ma said.

“The ‘1992 consensus’ is a subtle and delicate way to force the Chinese side to accept the existence of the ROC,” he said, adding that the tactic is crucial toward maintaining peace in the strait.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has contended that the consensus is “a mere illusion” because China does not recognize the idea that each side is free to interpret “one China” as it sees fit.

As a result of the DPP’s policy on the issue, China has taken a hardline stance against Taiwan since the party’s Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office as president in May 2016.