In a recent seminar with top military officers, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was quoted as saying “there will be no war across the Taiwan Strait in the next four years.” But he also said that, considering Taiwan’s situation, China poses the greatest threat to national security. Ma called on the military not to drop its guard and to keep up its fighting morale.
On the surface, this suggests that Ma feels the same way about the Chinese threat to Taiwan as do the other 23 million Taiwanese. But his actions since his inauguration reveal that he does not care about the grave Chinese threat. Instead, he prefers to stress the idea that the existence of China is “an important and grand opportunity” for Taiwan.
His administration’s policy could be summed up as one of taking down barriers and opening up — measures on which his Cabinet has been going full steam ahead, even at the cost of compromising Taiwan’s sovereignty. Thus we should say that it is, rather, the existence of the Ma government that is “an important and grand opportunity” for China to annex Taiwan.
During the seminar, Ma reiterated his “three nos” policy — no unification, no independence and no use of force. While advocating “eventual unification,” Ma claimed that he would not discuss unification with his counterparts from the other side of the Taiwan Strait during his presidency. However, as soon as he took office, he recognized the so-called “1992 consensus” of “one China with each side having different interpretations.” It is clear that while Ma’s “no independence and no use of force” policies are real, the part about “no unification” is a pretense.
In view of China’s insistence on seeking unification and its refusal to renounce the possibility of using force against Taiwan, Ma’s remarks about “no unification and no use of force” are no more than wishful thinking. For the past five months, Ma’s economic measures have quickly tilted toward China while his political policies have downgraded Taiwan’s sovereign status. Obviously, all this is an attempt to prepare for unification. This is not a matter of discussing unification any more, but rather a matter of actively promoting it.
Ma deliberately stressed the idea of safeguarding “the Republic of China” (ROC) at the seminar, as if he expected the military to fight for the development of the ROC. However, he not only recognizes the “1992 consensus” but also defines cross-strait relations as a non-state-to-state special relationship. He said Taiwan was a region under the “one China” framework and he and his Chinese counterparts could address one another as “mister.”
When even the president fudges on the issue of national identity, how can the military not get confused about why or for whom it would fight in a cross-strait conflict. If Taiwan’s weaponry ends up being used to protect “one China,” how ironic that would be from the point of view of Taiwanese taxpayers.
During its time in opposition, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) repeatedly boycotted arms procurement bills. Since it regained power, it has remained unenthusiastic about the bills and has thus missed the opportunity to reinforce national defense. As a result, the cross-strait military balance has shifted toward China. Even so, Ma still said that “there will be no war across the Taiwan Strait in the next four years.” Does he want to commission the Chinese government to control our national security?