Without consulting anyone, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has reached an agreement with Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore today, within the “one China” framework and with the “leaders of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait” addressing each other as “Mr.”
If the 23 million Taiwanese, who were kept in the dark beforehand, are given no say in the matter and only have to accept it as a fait accompli, then how are they going to be able to determine the future of Taiwan — an even more serious matter?
Such illegal action by someone who thinks he has the right to change the nation’s future on his own must be opposed to the end.
Even before Ma left the nation, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) had already set the tone with the international community. And Ma, during a press conference at the Presidential Office on Thursday, defined the event as “a meeting between the leaders of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.”
This man, living inside the “one China” framework, seems to think that Taiwanese lack international common sense and that he can emulate the “one Korea” meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas and copy former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung’s sunshine policy in an attempt to create the false impression that China is a “divided nation.”
Of course Taiwanese understand the difference.
First, there is a strong consensus among the public in the two Koreas that there should be “one Korea,” but there is no such consensus among Taiwanese when it comes to China. Furthermore, the two Koreas agree to both North and South having a seat on the UN, thus giving the two equal status.
However, China does not allow Taiwan to join the UN, and Ma’s decision therefore causes a situation similar to that between China, Hong Kong and Macau, belittling Taiwan.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that he is destroying the Republic of China (ROC) and this is the reason why Xi allowed the meeting with Ma to take place.
Ma’s motive for working so hard to arrange a meeting with Xi is simple: He wants a place in history.
That place was once occupied by Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), before Mao Zedong (毛澤東) destroyed the nation. Later presidents Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) also had a shot at occupying that place, but they both rejected Beijing’s defeatist framework for a meeting between “the leaders of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.” Ma is preparing to offer Taiwan as a gift to his host as he meets for a photo opportunity and dinner with Xi.
The reasoning behind this is that while the nation’s future should be an open affair, and while Taiwanese have the right to go in any direction they want, Xi wants to push the “one China” framework and suppress Taiwanese independence, which means the only direction open to Taiwanese would take them to Beijing.
However, it is not enough to hear these words from Xi, he needs Ma, who also advocates the “one China” framework and opposes Taiwanese independence, to endorse Xi in his capacity as a popularly elected representative of the public. Ma, of course, is playing along. This is the essence of his attempt to sell out the nation and the rights of Taiwanese to decide their own future.
To cover up Ma’s attempt to facilitate the “return” of Taiwan to China, the Presidential Office said that the goal of Ma’s trip is to “consolidate cross-strait peace and maintain the ‘status quo’ across the Taiwan Strait,” even though peace has been maintained across the Taiwan Strait for 66 years, under the “status quo” that has existed since 1949.
The exact nature of this “status quo” is as follows: Taiwan has never been ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), nor have the militaries of the two sides ever crossed swords.
There has been consistent peace, the situation has always been dynamic and it was already consolidated and maintained before Ma and Xi decided to meet. Where is all this talk about the need for a meeting between the two to consolidate a peace that is already there and maintain a situation that has been there for decades coming from? It does not make sense.
The Presidential Office’s insistence that there would be no agreements or joint declarations was similarly transparent. The same was said when former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) met then-Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in Beijing in 2005 and yet newspapers wrote about the five-point “vision” including the “1992 consensus.”
In the decade since then, the KMT has had a return to government and maintained a legislative majority, and thus continued to harm the nation.
Ma, while he is still in office, has felt the need to up the ante, in preparation for what is to happen after he leaves office in May.
However, where does Ma’s mentality of “whatever I say goes and I want that to continue to be the case” leave Taiwanese?
This is probably a new low in terms of statements Ma has made since he entered the presidential race in 2007. Even a pre-schooler can see through his words; no one trusts him anymore. He is no longer fit to govern, so how can he represent the nation?
A meeting between Ma and Xi under the “one China” principle is not only unnecessary, but it does not enjoy the support of the public, nor would it be subject to legislative oversight, and therefore would never be authorized or endorsed by the public, had public opinion been consulted.
Ma seems to think that he has the right to say anything he wants because the international spotlight is on him and that it would be impossible to impeach or recall him thanks to the KMT’s legislative majority.
However, soon, should the nation choose to do so, Taiwanese would have the chance to do something about it by using their right to vote. Then, in February, the legislature might have an entirely different make-up.
If that happens, Taiwanese would be able to show the KMT who the real boss is in a democracy.
Translated by Perry Svensson and Paul Cooper
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