Sun, Oct 26, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Lee Teng-hui pans Ma over belief in ‘1992 consensus’

By Ko Shu-ling and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday that both sides of the Taiwan Strait did not reach a consensus in 1992 on “one China” and that the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) should be abolished and replaced by official channels of negotiation.

Saying President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had led Taiwan into a serious crisis since taking office on May 20, Lee urged Taiwanese to strengthen their oversight of the Ma administration, especially at a time when Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) is set to visit next month.

Lee made the remarks during a forum organized by the Taiwan Advocates, of which Lee serves as the chairman. The theme of the event was national sovereignty and security.

“If there is no strong protest against the administration’s effort to denigrate national sovereignty, it is possible that at the upcoming meeting [between the SEF and ARATS], this denigration will be written down, thus producing a ‘2008 consensus’ more dreadful than the false one in 1992,” Lee told the forum.

The difficulties Taiwan is encountering, both at home and abroad, derive from the administration’s incompetence, Lee said, adding that it is “foolish” for the Ma administration to pin all its hopes on Beijing.

“Taiwan must depend on itself, not anyone else,” he said.

<>NO CONSENSUS<>

Lee said the SEF and ARATS did not reach a consensus on “one China” in 1992 and criticized Ma for recognizing the non-existent “consensus,” saying that Ma’s political thinking seemed not to have changed since before 1992.

“The Ma administration keeps saying that it will protect the Republic of China [ROC], but what they’re actually doing is annihilating the ROC,” he said. “I have no doubt that they will eliminate Taiwan.”

Lee said that cross-strait relations had been between two states since 1991 when the ROC Constitution was amended and the Temporary Provisions Effective during the Period of National Mobilization for the Suppression of the Communist Rebellion (動員勘亂時期臨時條款) were abolished. The constitutional amendments in 1992 further ensured Taiwan’s sovereignty by enshrining direct presidential elections.

“The ROC on Taiwan was already an independent sovereignty back in 1992,” Lee said. “It is no longer the ‘Taiwan region’ and that is the consensus of the 23 million people of Taiwan.”

<>‘ERRONEOUS’<>

Calling the Ma administration’s policies “erroneous,” Lee said Ma mistakenly defined cross-strait relations as domestic, thereby boosting Beijing’s confidence to claim sovereignty over Taiwan and creating a “rare historic opportunity” for China to annex Taiwan.

Lee said that negotiations must be conducted state-to-state and that the job of the SEF is redundant, adding that it ignores political reality to rely on a private agency to negotiate with China.

“The era of the SEF must end,” Lee said. “Cross-strait negotiations should be government to government and the official channel of negotiations should replace the old negotiation model of the two agencies.”

He also said it was hard to say whether such a private agency would sacrifice national interest for personal interests or the interests of a particular business or party.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝), who served as chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) in 1992, said bilateral negotiations in 1992 collapsed and that no consensus was reached.

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