Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential nominee Lai Ching-te (賴清德) on Sunday rejected claims that his election would heighten the risk of war with China.
In a television interview, Lai said his commitment to “peace through strength” and “standing with the democratic camp” to deter Beijing would minimize the chances of a cross-strait conflict.
The incumbent vice president was responding to comments from opposition Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) that Lai’s position as a “pragmatic worker for Taiwanese independence” would lead to war with China.
While the country should be open to “being friends with China,” national security and peace cannot depend on Beijing’s goodwill alone and should not come at the price of Taiwan’s sovereignty, Lai said.
Lai added that in the interest of the well-being of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, he was willing to engage in exchanges and cooperation with China.
However, this should be done only on the basis of reciprocity and dignity, and not by accepting the so-called “1992 consensus” as advocated by the KMT, Lai said.
According to the KMT, the “1992 consensus” was reached between Beijing and the then-KMT administration headed by former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) prior to Taiwan’s democratic transition, and refers to a tacit understanding that both sides recognize there is only “one China,” with each free to interpret what “China” is.
The term “1992 consensus” was first used to publicly describe the alleged agreement by former Mainland Affairs Council chief Su Chi (蘇起) in 2000 before the KMT government handed over power to the DPP.
The DPP refuses to accept the “1992 consensus,” arguing that it implies acceptance of China’s claims over Taiwan, given that Beijing has never acknowledged the existence of the Republic of China, Taiwan’s official name.
(By Yeh Su-ping, Lu Kang-chun and Chung Yu-chen)