Tue, Jun 05, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Missiles must go before talks with China, Ma says

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party's(KMT) presidential candidate, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), yesterday said he would demand that China remove the missiles targeting the nation before Taipei and Beijing can resume negotiations or reach a peace accord.

"If the two sides of the Strait are to resume negotiations, reach any peace agreement or negotiate any kind of military or mutual trust mechanism, I will first request that China withdraw the missiles deployed along its southeast coast because we are not willing to conduct peace negotiations while we are threatened by missiles," he said when approached by reporters at a conference for Taiwanese businessmen based in China.

He said Taiwan and China should regard freedom and democracy as the foundation for cross-strait dialogue.

In an article in yesterday's Chinese-language United Daily News, Ma said on the 18th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre that he would particularly like to emphasize the idea of having "freedom and democracy as the mutual `language' of the two sides of the Strait."

Ma said China's reform is limited to issues concerning people's livelihoods, but that it "has not relaxed its oppression of freedom of the press or other human rights."

"Similarly, China is also hostile to the Republic of China [ROC] for its [pursuit] of the right to participate in international affairs. It is particularly hostile regarding issues such as [the ROC's] participation in the WHO and other international bodies," he said.

"This is a violation of the will and the feelings of the Taiwanese people," Ma said in the article. "Today [yesterday] also marks a year until the beginning of the 2008 Beijing Olympics [sic]. We hope China can reconstruct its image through this international event."

"We also hope China can quicken its pace to democracy so as to nurture a new cross-strait dialogue," the article quoted him as saying.

"We are confident that Taiwanese democracy will be more mature. As a result, we are not afraid of pursuing exchanges with China but support broadening the scope of cross-strait exchanges because doing so will be advantageous to not only the Taiwanese economy but also China's democratic development," he said.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday criticized Ma's proposed cross-strait policies, saying that he had failed to provide any assessment of the feasibility of his ideas.

"It shows it [Ma's cross-strait platform] is simply a campaign tool and he could not ensure his ideas would be implemented," the MAC said in a statement released later yesterday.

If Ma signs a peace agreement or negotiates with China based on the so-called "1992 consensus," it would be very likely be framed according to Beijing's "one China principle," unless Ma asked Beijing to clearly state that the "1992 consensus" has nothing to do with the "one China" principle, the MAC statement said.

"It would be degrading and would seriously damage the rights and interests of the 23 million people of Taiwan," the statement added.

Additional reporting by Jewel Huang

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