China / Society

Experts: Consensus made peaceful progress possible

By Peng Yining (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-11 08:21

The 1992 Consensus is the basis for the current peaceful cross-Straits relations and should remain intact, experts said.

"In the past decade, cross-Straits relations have made great progress, including the momentous meeting between top leaders from both sides," said Xu Shiquan, former director at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "Without the endorsement of the 1992 Consensus, none of this would have happened."

The consensus, an outcome of a meeting in 1992 between the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and the island's Straits Exchange Foundation, declares that the mainland and Taiwan are both parts of one China.

"The mainland endorsed the consensus with the purpose of solving the Taiwan question through peaceful means," said Xu. "It has been a mutual endorsement. It was not one side forcing the other to accept it."

Xu said the 1992 Consensus is a milestone that continues to affect cross-Straits relations. Since it was reached, a communication mechanism was established that handles day-to-day issues.

Top cross-Straits officials from both sides have met seven times, and 23 cross-Straits agreements have been signed.

One month after the meeting in November between President Xi Jinping and Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou, the heads of cross-Straits affairs on both sides used a newly established hotline to talk to each other.

Meanwhile, cross-Straits trade reached $188.5 billion last year, according to the General Administration of Customs of China.

More than 4 million visits to Taiwan were made by mainland tourists, surpassing the number from Japan and making them the biggest spenders there last year.

According to Xu, "the denial of the 1992 Consensus by Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shuibian, both former Taiwan leaders, brought crisis to cross-Straits ties. Their attempts at independence for Taiwan all failed. The interests of people from both sides were affected."

The 1992 Consensus is not only the political foundation of cross-Straits ties, but also is essential to mutual trust in economic and cultural cooperation, he added.

Zheng Zhenqing, a professor at the Taiwan Studies Institute at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said: "Peaceful development of cross-Straits relations is a premise for mainland tourists and students going to Taiwan. Only when the Taiwan leadership endorses the 1992 Consensus will people feel secure.

"If tensions rise, cooperation across the straits, including trade and investment, will be damaged," Zheng added.

Hot Topics