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Politics

'One China' consensus does not exist, say 45% of Taiwanese

Public perception divided on 1992 cross-strait agreement with Beijing

President Tsai Ing-wen says Taipei has never accepted Beijing's definition of the "1992 Consensus" that includes Taiwan as part of China.   © Reuters

TAIPEI (Kyodo) -- Nearly half of Taiwanese believe that no consensus was reached in 1992 between Taiwan's then ruling party and the Chinese Communist Party on the meaning of the term "one China," according to the results of a survey released Thursday.

The results of the survey, conducted by the Cross-Strait Policy Association, point to a lack of understanding and consensus among the public with regard to what for many years was the foundation of cross-strait negotiations.

In the survey, about 45 percent of respondents replied in the negative to the question: "Do you think a consensus was reached in 1992 between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait?"

By comparison, 32.6 percent said a consensus was reached while as many as 22.4 percent, or over one-fifth of respondents, said they did not know or did not give an opinion.

The results come one day after President Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party categorically rejected Chinese President Xi Jinping's terms for political negotiations, saying Taiwan has never accepted Beijing's definition of the "1992 Consensus" that includes Taiwan as part of China.

It was the first time Tsai clearly dismissed the "1992 Consensus," which acknowledges that Taiwan and China are both part of "one China," with each side free to interpret what that means.

Previously, Tsai, who came to power in 2016, avoided mentioning the terms "1992 Consensus" and "one China" altogether. Instead she said that in the "1992 talks" both sides "arrived at various joint acknowledgements and understandings" in a spirit of "a political attitude of seeking common ground while setting aside differences."

The Nationalist Party (KMT), now in opposition, and the CCP see the 1992 agreement as the political foundation for peaceful relations, even though it means something else to each side.

When asked what was actually agreed to in the 1992 talks, 44.4 percent said the two parties agreed that both sides of the Taiwan Strait were two different countries.

The next highest group, or 20.9 percent, said it meant both sides were two separate parts of one country that is yet to be reunited. Nearly the same number, or 20.6 percent, said it meant each side of the Taiwan Strait respectively claims it represents China.

At the low end, 7.1 percent said it meant the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan, is a regional government of the People's Republic of China, while 7 percent said they did not know or did not give an opinion.

As many as 84 percent of the respondents said it would be somewhat unacceptable or totally unacceptable if recognizing the "1992 Consensus" meant only "one China" and no room for the Republic of China, only 9 percent said they found it somewhat acceptable or totally acceptable.

More than 62 percent of the respondents supported Tsai's stance on the "1992 Consensus," only 28 percent said they did not support it and 9.5 percent said they did not know or did not give any opinion.

The survey, conducted on Thursday and Friday last week by computer-assisted telephone interviewing among a random national sample of 1,081 adults around the island, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.98 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

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