Fri, Feb 20, 2009 - Page 1 News List

EXCLUSIVE MA YING-JEOU INTERVIEW: Nothing to fear from a CECA with Beijing: Ma

The government’s cross-strait policies have prompted concerns over the potential impact on Taiwan’s sovereignty. In an interview with staff reporters Huang Tai-lin, Ko Shu-ling and Mo Yan-chih and executive deputy editor-in-chief Charles Cheng on Wednesday, President Ma Ying-jeou responded to his critics, calling on the public to have confidence in Taiwan despite the obstacles it faces in securing participation in international organizations

More importantly, the thresholds for a referendum are so high that many referendums have failed in the past.

TT: So what you mean is that to seek a public consensus on the CECA, opinion polls are the best option before such an agreement is signed. Once it is signed, it must be approved by the legislature.

Ma: Yes, as long as the polling questions on normalizing economic and trade relations with mainland are not designed to encourage the public to give the pollsters the answers they want, I believe most people will support it.

Many people expressed concern that once direct cross-strait transportation links were established, the door to Taiwan would be wide open and infiltrated by the mainland. However, many polls show that about 65 percent to 85 percent support the four agreements signed last year. All in all, more than 60 percent of the public supports the initiatives.

SOVEREIGNTY

TT: Is there any risk involved in signing the CECA? Will it belittle Taiwan’s sovereignty?

Ma: What do you mean by belittle Taiwan’s sovereignty? Do you mean that Taiwan will be ruled by the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] or controlled by the CCP? I want to be clear on your question.

TT: Chinese President Hu Jintao [胡錦濤] has said that they would push for the CECA with the condition that it is under the framework of “one China.”

Ma: Then what framework do you think we should accept?

TT: Then, Mr President, do you mean you will accept the “one China” framework?

Ma: The Republic of China [ROC] Constitution was enacted in 1946 and implemented in 1947. The communist China was not yet established. It was not established until 1949.

There was only one China when the ROC Constitution was enacted. So the ROC Constitution was not for “two Chinas.”

TT: But do you think Hu’s “one China” refers to the “ROC” or the “People’s Republic of China”?

Ma: No matter what he thinks, we think “one China” refers to the ROC. This is what we insisted in 1992 and we have never changed that position since.

TT: But does the explanation that “one China” refers to the ROC conform to the international reality?

Ma: If we do not interpret it this way, do you think we should say “one China” refers to the “PRC”?

Do you remember when former [US] president George W. Bush talked to Chinese President Hu Jintao on March 26 last year, Hu said over the telephone that both sides of the Taiwan Strait accept the “one China” principle but have different interpretations of “one China.” That is what we call “one China, with each side having its own interpretation.” That is the only interpretation according to our Constitution.

TT: But apart from Taiwan’s allies, all countries think Beijing is the only representative of China.

Ma: If we agree with those countries, there is no room for Taiwan to survive.

TT: So, if we are to sign agreements, including the CECA, under Hu’s so-called “one China,” would it be tantamount to acknowledging to the many countries that have diplomatic ties with China that we belong to the PRC?

Ma: That depends on how you look at it. It means that whatever agreements we sign with the mainland, we will run into this issue. So, then, should we not sign anything? And if we don’t sign anything, how can we develop relations?

Taiwan’s investment in mainland increased most rapidly in the past eight years under the former DPP government. With such an increase in investment, is it pragmatic for us not to sign anything with it now?

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