An editorial in the Chinese Communist Party-affiliated Global Times argued today that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has “lost all chance of avoiding conflict with China” after she avoided recognizing the so-called “1992 consensus” in her National Day Address on Monday.

Beijing insists the “1992 consensus” forms the basis for cross-Strait talks. The consensus, whose very existence has been called into question in Taiwan, includes a “one China” clause with both sides (or so Taipei insists) historically having separate interpretations of what “one China” means.

In her speech during the “Double Ten” National Day celebrations on Monday, President Tsai acknowledged that relations between Taiwan and China had “cooled” recently, but emphasized that her administration would not “bow under pressure (from China) but would also work to avoid conflict.”

“I call upon the authorities of mainland China to face up to the reality that the Republic of China exists, and that the people of Taiwan have an unshakable faith in the democratic system,” she said.

Tsai also urged talks between the ruling parties in Taiwan and China, saying that as long as it was for the good of the people, “anything can be discussed.”

“We [the Tsai administration] respect the historical event that is the 1992 meeting, and both China and Taiwan should value the 20 years of development achieved through business since, and to strive for further development in cross strait developments,” Tsai said, repeating comments she had made soon after her election earlier this year during an interview with the Chinese-language Liberty Times.

The full English text of President Tsai's speech is available here.

However, the call for continued dialogue apparently was not good enough for China.

In its editorial today, the Global Times said the Tsai administration had set the stage for tenser cross-Strait relations with her refusal to acknowledge the “one China” policy.

“Both sides should try to avoid military conflict, but that depends on what other ‘radical action’ Tsai might take,” it said.

Tsai has been consistent in her refusal to acknowledge the “1992 consensus” since her inauguration speech on May 20.

▶︎ See also: "China Responds to President Tsai's WSJ Interview"

Back in Taiwan, Liao Da-chi (廖達琪), a professor at National Sun Yat-sen University’s Institute of Political Science, said Tsai’s speech indicated a softer approach to cross-Strait relations, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported.

Liao said Tsai’s address showed the international community that it is China that is limiting the possibility of discussions.

First Editor: J. Michael Cole
Second Editor: Olivia Yang