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: Maybe the footage you saw was different from what we saw.

Ma: Maybe so, but our policy is very clear. After I heard about [the ban on national flags,] I went on TV to explain that I would never clamp down on the national flag. Besides, when Chinese visitors come to Taiwan, organizations with national flags inside the building don’t need to take the flags away. On the other hand, buildings with no national flags inside don’t need to put the flags there.

TT: We do not use the title “ROC” in international organizations and this is contradictory to the “one China” principle because the concept of “one China, with each having its own interpretation” called for mutual acknowledgment, with China as the PRC and Taiwan as the ROC. But Beijing has not acknowledged the ROC or Taiwan in the international community and our participation in international organizations under their conditions amounts to recognizing its “one China.”

Ma: When Taiwan entered the WTO in 2002, the former DPP government used “Chinese Taipei” as the title. The DPP government could have chosen not to participate in the organization, but do you have a better choice? If we could solve the problem using the title “Taiwan,” we would use it.

Participating in international organizations under the title of “Taiwan” or “ROC” may have been possible in the early years, but it has become much more difficult now. That’s why we have to come up with a pragmatic and flexible title so that we can maintain national dignity and at the same time achieve the goal of meaningful participation in international organizations. This is the challenge for our diplomacy, and the DPP encountered the same difficulty when it was in power. The former government did not solve the problems. Instead, they created a lot of trouble.

TT: Since you took office, however, the general impression of the international community is that Taiwan has accepted China’s “one China” framework. Customs in some countries even use “Taiwan, a province of China” when addressing Taiwan.

Ma: We have never recognized such a title; that was communist China’s assertion. Some countries may adopt the title to pander to communist China, but we do not recognize such a title.

Don’t feel like we’ve been swallowed by communist China because the sovereignty of the ROC has not been damaged. Give me one example of Taiwan’s sovereignty being damaged. Have we lost the freedom to make decisions? Are we governed by the other side? Such things have not happened.

We joined the WTO under the title “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.” If the former DPP government insisted on entering the WTO under the title “Taiwan,” it would not have joined the WTO. Could they do that? They couldn’t.

Again, if the DPP insisted on entering APEC under the title “Taiwan,” it wouldn’t have joined the organization.

Should we insist on our sovereignty in this way? That is not an insistence on sovereignty, but an insistence on the [specific] title. If we insisted on all occasions and withdrew from all organizations, we’d be besieged in Taiwan now. Would our sovereignty be upheld or shrink that way?

What we are doing now will make the world see Taiwan and we can have meaningful participation in the world.

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