Tsou Ching-wen 鄒景雯, a senior reporter at the Liberty Times, reported today that Ma Ying-jeou is considering accepting the One China principle – without the usual statement of “each side with its own interpretation” – at the news conference tomorrow, when he will announce the consensus positions of the two sides. Ma has promised that he will not sign any agreement, promise to sign any agreement, or issue any joint communiqué. However, Tsou reports that Ma is considering issuing a press release, and the press release would include a statement of consensus principles. China has asked that the press release mention the “One China principle” while the ROC position thus far has been to insist on the 92 Consensus. The difference is that the latter includes the phrase “each side with its own interpretation.”
This rumor is credible for two reasons. First, Tsou is the reporter who broke the news of the Ma-Xi meeting on Tuesday night. She has good sources, and she has been ahead of everyone else on this story. Second and more important, the media asked MAC Chair Andrew Hsia 夏立言 whether Ma would accept the One China principle, and Hsia did not deny it.
In this video, starting at the 1:00 mark, the reporter says, “On the question of whether to include the One China principle in the post-meeting summary of consensuses, Hsia said, “On this part, wait until tomorrow and we will have further comment, ok?” The reporter in the background asks, “Are you really still negotiating these things?” Hsia responds, “On the final details, we are still communicating with them.””
This is potentially a big move. Essentially, the ROC government position would be moving to the “One China with the same interpretation” 一中同表 position that Hung Hsiu-chu proposed earlier this year. That position had so little support in Taiwan society that the KMT was forced to back away and retreat to the less offensive 92 Consensus. Eric Chu pronounced her to be out of step with mainstream public opinion, her support in the polls fell to the low teens, and the KMT eventually replaced her as its nominee. If the government does take this step tomorrow, it will be doing so in defiance of clearly established popular opposition. This would also a violation of the spirit of his promise not to issue a joint communiqué or promise to sign any agreements – a promise that isn’t even a week old! He would be putting the ROC on record in a very public way in an effort to try to confine it to a particular course.
I really hope this is a groundless rumor.
[Edit: Here is the storm.mg story. It basically reiterates the version of events laid out in the Liberty Times piece and in the TV clip.]