|Kwao Peppeh |||Sep 17, 2015 05:33 AM EDT|
(Photo : REUTERS/Pei Chen/Pool ) People First Party (PFP) Chairperson and presidential candidate James Soong (L) shakes hands with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (R) as Taiwan President and Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou looks on before a televised debate in Taipei. China has warned that the next leader of Taiwan must uphold the 1992 Consensus.
The spokesman for China's State Council Taiwan Affairs Office said on Wednesday that the next president of the island nation has to maintain the status quo in cross-strait relations.
Ma Xiaoguang made this remark against a backdrop of growing concerns that ties between China and Taiwan may deteriorate if Tsai Ing-wen, the chairperson of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), wins. Tsai is currently ranked as one of the forerunners to win the elections scheduled for January 2016. Although she has noted that she is in favor of maintaining the status quo in cross-strait ties, Tsai has not elaborated her position on China.
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"Curbing the spread of historical views that uphold 'Taiwan independence' and contain secessionist schemes are historical obligations that all responsible political parties and politicians should undertake," Ma explained. "Without the common political foundation of the 1992 Consensus, political mutual trust and institutionalized consultation built upon the foundation would collapse."
Ma condemned the criticisms against Taiwan politicians who attended China's 70th anniversary V-Day Parade. He said secessionist forces sought to "erase" the contributions of nationalists in the anti-Japanese war.
According to Ma, only by upholding the 1992 consensus and opposing calls for Taiwan's independence can "the peaceful development of cross-strait ties be maintained and broadened."
A majority of Taiwanese residents seem to agree with Ma's assertion. The result of an annual study conducted by the United Daily News shows that a growing majority of the people in Taiwan want to maintain good ties with China. Up to 55 percent of the survey respondents expressed support for maintaining the status quo in cross-strait ties. Meanwhile, just 28 percent of the respondents supported "rapid independence" from China.
The relationship between Taiwan and China has improved remarkably under the current pro-China Kuomintang government led by President Ma Ying-jeou. However, several experts - and even President Ma - have admitted that a lot is left to be desired.
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