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Editorial: Tsai should prove sincerity about peace across Taiwan Straits

Updated: 2016-01-16 20:24

Now that the Democratic Progressive Party leader Tsai Ing-wen has won Taiwan's "presidential" election, she should waste no time to prove that she is sincere in maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. She should work to make people in Taiwan feel safe, instead of creating anxieties with her ambiguous mainland policy.

Tsai has played the card of "maintaining the status quo" during her election campaigns. But she has never made it clear how she would approach the 1992 Consensus.

As the cornerstone of cross-Straits relations, the consensus insists there is only one China, of which both the mainland and Taiwan are a part, though the meaning of "one China" is open to interpretation by both sides.

For a Taiwan leader, whether to accept the consensus or not decides which direction he or she would lead the island in: peace and stability, or conflicts and tension. The issue bears no ambiguity.

Thanks to the consensus, cross-Straits relations have developed smoothly over the past eight years. A slew of agreements have been signed to boost trade and tourism, bringing benefits to people on both sides. The two sides' top leaders met last November, for the first time since 1949.

All this has not come by easily, and should not be taken for granted. It requires efforts from both sides to make sure the momentum will not be interrupted by a leadership change, or derailed by any political missteps and misjudgment. After all, peaceful development of cross-Straits relations conforms to the interests of both Taiwan and the mainland.

Tsai has reportedly expressed wishes that both sides could work together for peace across the Taiwan Straits. If she means what she says, and accepts the 1992 Consensus, prospects for cross-Straits relations will remain promising.

The mainland has kept the door to dialogue open with the DPP so long as it accepts that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. The mainland has also taken a flexible approach when handling relations with the DPP. The channel of communication remains unblocked.

Many differences remain between the mainland and Taiwan, not only in lifestyle and social system, but also in how and when the two sides should be reunited. But under no circumstance should the differences be used as excuses to seek Taiwan independence, which means war, as the mainland's Anti-Secession Law suggests. The bottom line shall never be tested.

Any attempt to steer the island closer to independence will be a fool's errand.

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