1992 Consensus: Modus Vivendi Squeezed by the Sino-American Competition and Taiwanese Identities

Ruan, Ganchang, East Asian Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Harding, Harry, University of Virginia
Womack, Brantly, University of Virginia

Since 2000, the 1992 Consensus has served as a modus vivendi between Kuomintang and the Chinese mainland. Unfortunately, since a cascade of domestic and international changes, notably the Sunflower Movement and the recent US-China competition, this modus vivendi has gradually stepped down the altar. Squeezed by the tempestuous Sino-American relationship and the emerging Taiwanese identities, however, Kuomintang mysteriously maintains an ambiguous attitude toward the 92 Consensus and to some degree is still adhering to it, albeit without defining this superordinate. In this thesis, I analyze the interaction between the US-China relationship and Kuomintang’s mainland policy from 2000 to 2022. First, I argue that Beijing, Washington, and Kuomintang accommodated the 92 Consensus as a modus vivendi during the early 2000s based on their respective short-term considerations. Second, by studying China and America’s Taiwan policy during the 2010s, I argue that security shapes Washington’s Taiwan policy while Beijing perceives China in a condition of “two profound changes,” which make them squeeze the space for Kuomintang to define the 92 Consensus. Third, I investigate the emergence of four kinds of Taiwanese identities and discuss their impacts on Kuomintang’s adherence to the 92 Consensus. I conclude that Kuomintang chooses an under-balancing approach because of its inability to influence the deteriorating US-China relationship and its consideration for domestic survival.

MA (Master of Arts)
1992 Consensus, US-China Relations, Taiwanese Identities
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