China / HK Macao Taiwan

Cross-Straits agreement remains vital

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily) Updated: 2012-11-26 22:43

The Communist Party of China has sent a strong signal about upholding the 1992 Consensus, with the CPC's top Taiwan official telling a symposium commemorating the 20th anniversary of the agreement that it is still relevant to cross-Straits relations.

The message from the CPC came only weeks after it installed new leadership.

The 1992 Consensus is a crucial cross-Straits agreement that recognizes the one-China principle.

The CPC's top Taiwan affairs official, Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee, has attached great significance to the 1992 Consensus and said it has contributed a lot to promoting cross-Straits ties at the initial stage of exchanges.

Speaking at the 20th anniversary symposium in Beijing on Monday, Wang said the agreement still has relevance to new issues that are emerging from a deepened two-way engagement.

The 1992 Consensus refers to an agreement reached by the two sides in 1992, in which both sides recognize there is only one China — both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan belong to the same China — and each can verbally express the meaning of one China according to their own interpretation.

"It has helped build basic trust by putting aside differences and it has made initiating dialogue possible," Wang said. "It will be used to handle issues arising from future exchanges with Taiwan."

Yet he admitted that complicated issues cannot be solved in an instant, and it is necessary to allow the other side to hold its own opinions while working toward a common view.

"As long as both sides have the sincerity to work together, differences can be narrowed and consensus can be expanded," he said.

Monday's symposium has seen experts urging authorities to put aside differences and seek common views in order to broaden the Consensus.

Chen Yunlin, president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, a non-governmental organization entrusted by the Chinese mainland authorities to engage in cross-Straits talks, has called upon his organization and its island counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation, to set up offices on the other side as soon as possible to better address people's interests and offer prompt responses to their concerns.

Wang Liaoping, president of the Association of Economy and Trade Across the Taiwan Straits, said the current platform for cross-Straits dialogue has fallen short of the rising challenges posed by the global financial crisis and the need for industry upgrading on both sides.

Zhou Zhihuai, deputy director of the National Society of Taiwan Studies, has echoed Wang's sentiments and urged experts on Taiwan affairs to conduct research into policy innovation with an open mind to expand the consensus to include more commonly held views.

The 1992 Consensus has gained unprecedented importance after being incorporated into the report of the 18th CPC National Congress, which concluded earlier this month.

The report stated the two sides of the Taiwan Straits should uphold the common position of opposing Taiwan independence, following the 1992 Consensus, and increase their commitment to upholding the one-China framework.

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