Beijing to keep pressure on Taiwan over 1992 consensus: expert

China will not stop putting pressure on Taiwan until the Taiwanese authorities honor the "1992 consensus", a tacit understanding reached in November 1992 between the Kuomintang and Beijing that both sides of the Taiwan Strait recognize that there is only "one China", a US expert said recently.

In an interview with the Sino-US.com, Robert Sutter, professor of practice of international affairs at the Elliott School of George Washington University, cast doubt on the possibility of Taiwan's leader Tsai Ing-wen recognizing the "1992 consensus". However, the China expert predicted that Beijing would not step up its efforts to "punish" Taiwan.

When talking about Tsai's "New Go South" policy, Sutter said that the policy would have some positive significance because it meets the increasing demand of investment and trade in Southeast Asian countries and helps Taiwan gain a seat in the global supply chain in the process of globalization. What's more, the policy has drawn a strong interest from Japan, and the US may also hold a positive attitude toward the policy, the expert said.

However, Sutter pointed out that the "New Go South" policy would be dwarfed by Beijing's ambitious "Belt and Road" initiative, which also covers the Southeast Asian countries. He believes that some countries in the region would be very cautious about cooperating with Taiwan in order not to irritate Beijing.

More than a week ago, Beijing held the much-anticipated Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was attended by 29 heads of state and government leaders, representatives from more than 70 international organizations and more than 1,500 delegates from over 130 countries. So far, the "Belt and Road" initiative has been widely recognized, with more than 100 countries showing support to the initiative and over 40 countries and international organizations signing the related cooperation agreements.

Besides, compared with the Chinese mainland, Taiwan has far less resources that could be used to support the "New Go South" policy, Sutter noted.

Sutter concluded that even though the "New Go South" policy turns out to be a failure and the Taiwanese economy becomes worse, Tsai would hardly honor the "1992 consensus", which is to some extent the principle of her ruling.

From the perspective of the US, Sutter said that the Donald Trump administration would show less attention to the issues related to Taiwan, especially after the US president's telephone calls with Tsai angered Beijing. In East Asia, what the US cares about most is how to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, he noted.


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