The different parties within Taiwan each have a different idea of what status quo means. One definition goes back to the 1992 consensus which allowed each side to interpret the meaning of “one China” and maintain the political separation as conditions for unification evolve. Another definition has been labeled “dynamic status quo” which meant that there would be no change in the political relationship between the two sides, but that Taiwan would be allowed to evolve its culture (create its identity) and political arrangements which would in the long-run make independence a more likely outcome. This definition also assumes the current de facto status quo would be continued forever as independence. The third definition, offered by James Soong, leader of the PFP, is “parallel movement” to allow future generations to reach a peaceful decision. He stated that Taiwan couldn’t change China’s leaders, but that they could wait for China to change in a more democratic direction. He used the analogy that Taiwan should get engaged to China, but not married. It would be a long engagement; as many as 40 years. In any case he saw major social and political change on both sides of the Strait and he believed Taiwan should wait until the two sides are closer together before any decisions are made.
Strait Talk, Chapter Five: The Issues
According to EAPASI's e-book titled Strait Talk, there are three definitions of the status quo concept: the 1992 “Consensus” status quo; the “Dynamic” status quo; and the “Parallel Movement” status quo and, as a result, there are four status quo policies.
The first definition is the "Consensus" status quo. The “Consensus” status quo refers to the negotiated settlement reached between the Communist Party of China (CPC) of China and the Kuomintang (KMT) on Taiwan. It originates from the agreement proposed by the KMT in 1992 to identify a framework to develop the cross-strait relationship. Both the KMT and the CPC refer to it as the "1992 Consensus". The KMT interprets the "Consensus" status quo to mean that China and Taiwan can maintain different interpretations of the meaning of ‘one China’.
In contrast, China perceives that the “Consensus” status quo means a commitment to China’s interpretation of the concept of ‘one China’, which is the “One China Principle”. China wants Taiwan, especially the current President Tsai Ying-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), to accept its interpretation of the “Consensus” status quo by verbalizing the phrase “1992 Consensus”, which President Tsai refuses to do.
The second definition is the “Dynamic” status quo. China, Taiwan's KMT and DPP maintain different interpretations of what should occur under the “Dynamic” status quo. The DPP actively implements a "Dynamic” status quo which means it pursues policies that strengthen what it perceives is Taiwan’s yet-to-be-completely institutionalized status as a sovereign and independent state. Their different interpretations tend to result in cross-strait tensions particularly when the DPP is in power, as it is now.
The third definition is “Parallel Movement” status quo. “Parallel Movement” means future generations on each side of the strait could reach a peaceful resolution concerning the nature and scope of China-Taiwan relations.
The U.S., China, as well as Taiwan's KMT and DPP hold different positions on what happens under this form of status quo. The U.S. maintains a "Parallel Movement" status quo policy which means both sides of the strait must avoid taking unilateral actions and making statements that alter the existing status quo in cross-strait relations. This means China cannot resort to the use of force to solve issues with Taiwan, while Taiwan cannot introduce policies that support forces of Taiwanese independence.
China wants Taiwan to accept its interpretation of the “Consensus” status quo by verbalizing the phrase “1992 Consensus”. Since taking political power on Taiwan in 2016, President Tsai Ying-wen's administration (DPP) and China have actively pursued policies that support their respective interpretations of the status quo. The Tsai administration refuses to say the phrase "1992 Consensus" while enacting policies that strengthen Taiwan's political separation from China indefinitely, as well as the Taiwanese national identity. As a result, China has campaigned to suppress Taiwan in the international arena, including poaching Taiwan's diplomatic allies, as well as blocking international activities such as participating in international organizations like the ICAO and WHA. In addition, China continues to use political warfare military actions to coerce the Tsai administration to accept the "Consensus" status quo, which include an unprecedented number of military events around Taiwan. It is not likely that tensions in the cross-strait relationship will lower, unless the Tsai administration acknowledges the "Consensus" status quo and abandons the "Dynamic" status quo. The U.S. needs to maintain a commitment to upholding the "Parallel Movement" status quo, or the U.S. could risk compelling China to take unilateral action to enforce the "Consensus" status quo or encouraging Taiwan's DPP to strengthen the "Dynamic" status quo and move toward formal independence.
People's Republic of China (PRC)
- Statesmen's Forum: Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, PRC "Chinese Foreign Policy and U.S.-China Relations", Center for Strategic and International Studies (CIIS) (2016)
- TAO warns against destabilization of ‘status quo’, Taipei Times (2016)
- Chinese students studying in US express concern over Taiwan issue in letter to Powell (2004)
- President Jiang Calls for Joint Reunification Efforts Across Taiwan Straits (2000)
- Li Zhaoxing: No Change in China's Policy on Taiwan Question (2000)
- Qian Qichen: China's Policy on Taiwan Issue Consistent (2000)
Republic of China (ROC Taiwan)
- Cross-strait relations should have new model: MAC minister, Focus Taiwan News Channel (October 11, 2017)
- Tsai administration committed to cross-strait status quo: MAC, Focus Taiwan News Channel (September 28, 2017)
- Taiwan to re-evaluate cross-strait situation after Panama severs ties, Focus Taiwan News Channel (June 13, 2017)
- Maintaining status quo remains top choice for Taiwanese: survey, Focus Taiwan News Channel (April 21, 2017)
- Xi knows unification is futile now: Ma, Taipei Times (March 26, 2016)
- Ma hopes for maintained status quo with mainland after Tsai becomes leader, The China Post (March 09, 2016)
- ‘Status quo’ backed as Beijing postures, Taipei Times (March 05, 2016)
- China acknowledgement helps ties: Ma, Taipei Times (February 28, 2016)
- DPP says new government will maintain ‘status quo’, Taipei Times (February 18, 2016)
- Tsai Ing-Wen's Victory Speech, Focus Taiwan News Channel (January 2016)
- Wang Yi Stresses Two Sides of the Strait Belong to One China, All Taipei Newspaper (2016)
- DPP to Redraft Bill on Monitoring Cross-Strait Pacts, Taipei Times (2016)
- President Ma New Year's Address: Eight Years of Reform Create a Better Taiwan, Office of the President Republic of China (Taiwan) (January 01, 2016)
- When I said 'Mr. Xi': Ma Ying Jeou, USA Today (November 22, 2015)
- Ma reiterates commitment to cross-strait status quo, Taiwan Today (September 18, 2015)
- On the basis of Taiwan’s mainstream public opinion, the government will continue striving to maintain the Taiwan Strait status quo, pursue institutionalized negotiations, and create favorable conditions for cross-strait peace, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Republic of China (Taiwan) (July 17, 2013)
- The Republic of China’s Mainland Policy: Piloting Cross-Strait Relations to Create a Peaceful Environment for Benign Interaction between the Two Sides of the Taiwan Strait, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Republic of China (Taiwan) (July 07, 2011)
- President Ma's Inaugural Address: Taiwan's Renaissance, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Republic of China (Taiwan) (May 20, 2008)
- Associated Press Interview with President Chen Shui-bian, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Republic of China (Taiwan) (January 01, 2008)
- Taiwan Election May Bring New Ties with China (Interview with Ma Ying-jeou), National Public Radio (NPR) (August 01, 2006)
- Interview with Ma Ying-jeou, Time Asia (July 10, 2006)
- Mainland Affairs Council—China Responsible for Status Quo Change, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Republic of China (Taiwan) (February 26, 2006)
- Interview with Chen Shui-bian, The Washington Post (March 13, 2006)
- President Chen's Opening Remarks at National Security Conference (February 27, 2006)
- Democracy and peace to answer China's war authorization law, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Republic of China (Taiwan) (March 24, 2005)
- President Chen Presides over a High-level National Security Meeting, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Republic of China (Taiwan) (November 10, 2004)
- President Chen on "One Country on Each Side" (August 03, 2002)
- President Chen's 520 Inaugural Speech:Taiwan Stands Up:Advancing to an Uplifting Era (excerpt), Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Republic of China (Taiwan) (May 20, 2000)
United States of America (U.S.)
- U.S. reiterates interest in stable cross-strait relations, Focus Taiwan News Channel (June 20, 2017)
- Press Conference by the President (Full text of Remarks on China, Taiwan), The White House - Office of the Press Secretary (December 16, 2016)
- Why Taiwan Matters, Part II, Committee on Foreign Affairs House of Representatives (October 04, 2011)
- Remarks by Joseph Donovan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State at the CSIS/Brookings Symposium: Mid Term Assessment of the Policies of the Ma Ying-jeou Administration, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) (May 19, 2010)
- Cross-Strait Relations in a New Era of Negotiations, U.S. Department of State Archive (July 07, 2010)
- Overview of U.S. Policy Toward Taiwan: James A. Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State Archive (April 21, 2004)
- Press Briefing by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on President's Travel to Europe, The White House Archives (June 06, 2001)
European Union (EU)