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Scholars: Letter from Taiwan isn't good news

By Luo Wangshu | China Daily | Updated: 2016-09-14 06:57

Announcement failed to mention 1992 Consensus, casting shadow on relations

The new chief of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation took office on Monday with no mention of the "1992 Consensus", showing that the island's administration is reluctant to pursue stronger cross-Straits ties, scholars said.

Island leader Tsai Ing-wen's office announced at the end of August that Tien Hung-mao would be the new chairman of the foundation. But a letter from the foundation to its mainland counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, informing it of Tien's appointment, did not mention the consensus, which acknowledges that the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China.

"The mainland has never softened on the consensus," said Zhu Songling, director of Beijing Union University's Institute of Cross-Straits Relations. "The only way to push forward communication is for Taiwan to recognize the one-China principle."

"Connect or halt - it depends on Taiwan's attitude," he said.

Liu Xiangping, head of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at Nanjing University, said that if Taiwan does not uphold the consensus, a precondition of the mainland for increased communication, then any policy or mechanism, including the naming of the foundation chief, is meaningless.

"The key is not to appoint any specific person to shoulder the task of expanding communication across the Straits," he said. "The key is to uphold the 1992 Consensus and recognize the one-China principle."

"Tien belongs to the pro-independence camp, and is expected to make no effort to improve cross-Straits ties," Liu said.

The top foundation post had been vacant since Tsai took office in May.

Taiwan-based Economic Daily News reported that foundation members had resigned after Tien took office.

"It shows that people who want to improve cross-Straits relations are disappointed," Liu said.

On Monday, Chen Deming, president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, said in a statement: "Only if the foundation is authorized to recognize the 1992 Consensus - the political foundation of the one-China principle - can authorized communication between both sides resume."

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