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Backgrounder: "1992 Consensus" on "one-China" principle
Updated: 2004-10-13 14:44

The "1992 Consensus", on the "one-China" principle and its respective verbal wording of both sides, was reached in a meeting in November 1992 held in Hong Kong by the Association for Relations Across Taiwan Straits (ARATS) of the mainland, headed by Wang Daohan, and the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) of Taiwan, led by Koo Chen-fu. The consensus is that "both sides of the (Taiwan) Straits adhere to the 'one-China' principle" and orally explain the principle respectively.

As exchanges in trade, economy and other fields across the Taiwan Strait have kept increasing since late 1987, the Taiwan authorities adjusted its policy of "no contact, no concession and no negotiation" and set up SEF to contact and negotiate with the Chinese mainland over problems occurred. The Chinese mainland agreed to hold negotiations by setting up ARATS in December 1991 to promote exchanges across the Straits.

At the start of negotiations about affairs concerning both sides of the Taiwan Straits, ARATS put forward that it was necessary to persist in the "one-China" principle in negotiations and agreements, though the political content may not be discussed as long as the "one-China" stand is advocated, and the ways to express "one-China" could be fully discussed.

The "national reunification committee" in Taiwan also reached aconclusion about the content of "one-China" in August 1992.

From Oct. 28 to 30, 1992, the ARATS and SEF held negotiations over the use of notarized documents across the Strait in Hong Kong,and each side proposed five definitions about the ways to express the issue of adherence to the "one-China" principle, but failed to reach a consensus.

SEF representative soon suggested that both sides could state their stands orally and added three other oral expressions, and ARATS were asked to take down the verbal expressions about the "one-China" stand tabled by the SEF.

On Nov. 3, SEF informed ARATS of the oral expression about "one-China" it tabled being approved by the relevant leading departmentin Taiwan. ARATS agreed to the SEF's suggestion of stating the "one-China" attitude based on their respective oral explanations ina letter sent to the SEF on Nov. 16, but emphasizing both sides of the Straits persist in the "one-China" principle and work had to pursue reunification, without talking about the political meaning of one China in negotiations of affairs concerning both sides of the Straits. The SEF showed no disagreement in its letter of replyto ARATS on Dec. 3.

A Summary of the Wang-Koo Talks published by the SEF in August 1993 stated that the consensus reached by ARATS and SEF were quite clear: both sides had worked hard to seek common points while reserving differences in explaining the political content of one China.

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