Chinese media claim Tsai gave first official rejection of ‘1992 Consensus’ in interview

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) - The 1992 Consensus states that there is one China, but both parties are free to intrepret what it means.

Claims that President Tsai Ing-wen rejected the “1992 Consensus” in an interview with the Washington Post were refuted by the Presidential Office Friday (July 22), which stressed that Tsai was only responding to the question at hand.

In a Q&A posted on the Washington Post website, senior associate editor Lally Weymouth asked whether it was correct that some academics say mainland China leader Xi had a certain deadline by which he wants her to agree to the “1992 Consensus.”

In response, Tsai said,“it isn’t likely that the government of Taiwan will accept a deadline for conditions that are against the will of the people.”

 Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang clarified that Tsai was only responding to the part of the question about a “certain deadline set by Chinese authorities.”

 On the topic of Tsai’s stance on the“1992 Consensus,” Huang reiterated that the president made her position clear in her May 20 inauguration speech and denied that she rejected the consensus during the interview, as argued by experts and the media.

The interview marks Tsai’s first with a foreign newspaper since taking office, and will be published in print on July 24.

First ever official refusal: Chinese media

Tsai’s response was interpreted by Chinese state-media Global Times as the first time she officially refusing to accept the “1992 Consensus.” It was announced on the media outlet’s Weibo account.

Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang reiterated that safeguarding the peaceful development of cross-strait relations is the public will shared by both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Only through accepting the “1992 Consensus” and agreeing that both sides of the  Taiwan Strait belong to “one China” will the continuation of peaceful cross-strait relations be guaranteed, Ma said.

The consensus refers to a tacit understanding under which both sides of the Taiwan Strait recognise the existence of “one China” and agree to differ on its definition.

Tsai’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party has never accepted the “1992 Consensus.”

Govt must follow public will: Tsai

As the Washington Post article posted online contained only an abridged version of the interview, the Presidential Office released a transcript of the full interview Friday.

While the interview was held mostly in Mandarin Chinese with an interpreter at hand, Tsai cut in several times to clarify her response in English, according to Huang.

The full transcript contains some remarks not included the Washington Post article, including Tsai stating that she believes in Xi’s ability to make an “excellent” and “correct” decision regarding cross-strait relations based on all available information.

In the transcript, Tsai goes into further detail about her refusal to accept any deadline from Beijing, with the president stressing that the government must abide by public opinion because Taiwan is an “extremely democratic place.”

“I also believe that they (China) should have that understanding,” she says in the transcript.