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

TT: But the problem is, with its advantageous position in the world, China promotes its version of “one China” to the international community — and that “one China” is the PRC — and this puts us at a disadvantage because China outnumbers us in terms of allies.

Ma: Why are you so lacking in confidence? With freedom, democracy and openness in Taiwan, I don’t think we would be in a disadvantageous position.

TT: Some say that we are too naive on the “one China” issue. It’s not a matter of confidence, but a matter of international reality.

Ma: If we refuse to sign agreements, our products will be taxed with higher tariffs in mainland and local industries will not survive. Is this less naive?

TT: Will there be any supplementary measures to protect Taiwan’s sovereignty and national interests if the CECA is signed?

Ma: Take the agreement on cross-strait direct flights, for example: What did we lose by signing the agreement? We opened eight airports [to the flights], while mainland opened 11 airports and later upped it to 21 airports for cross-strait direct flights.

What did we lose? Did we consider it a domestic route? Or is it a special air route? Did we say that Taiwan became part of the PRC after signing the agreement? No, we never made such claims.

We should have confidence in ourselves. Communist China has its own assertions and we have ours. We cannot force it to accept our assertions at this stage and it cannot force Taiwan to accept its ideas either. As to how the international community perceives the [“one China”] issue, it depends on the stances of different countries. Some countries agree with us, and our allies won’t think Taiwan becomes part of communist China when it signs an agreement.

Those who are familiar with international relations know that major countries recognize the CCP as the only legitimate government of China when establishing diplomatic ties with communist China, but when it comes to the relations between communist China and Taiwan, those countries do not consider Taiwan a part of the PRC. There are several models adopted by different countries in this matter.

For example, Canada has used the term “takes note of” in response to communist China’s assertion [that Taiwan is part of China]. The US and England have said they “acknowledge” the assertion and Japan has said it “understands and respects” the assertion, rather than using the term “accept.”

The 1992 consensus and “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” are not Taiwan’s [model] alone. Almost all major countries that have established ties with communist China have different interpretations of the one China principle. How would they develop relations with us otherwise?

Does the US need communist China’s agreement to send someone to Taiwan? No, they don’t. So you need to understand that although these countries do not recognize us officially, they do not deny us, either. If they denied us as a country, why would they send people here and develop relations with us? The US sold weapons to Taiwan. Does the US think it is selling weapons to a ghost country?


TT: Your administration adopted a “diplomatic truce” policy for foreign affairs. Does China acknowledge this policy?

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