President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday warned China not to “humiliate” Taiwan in international forums and risk “wiping out” the mutual trust and goodwill that has built up during the past two years.
Ma’s warning, made in an interview with Central News Agency, marked the sternest reaction yet to a flare-up between China and Taiwan at the Tokyo International Film Festival last month.
Jiang Ping (江平), the head of the Chinese delegation at the festival, set off consternation in Taiwan after saying Taiwan should participate under the name “Taiwan, China” or “Chinese Taipei.”
“It took us a year and half to work out the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement [ECFA], which has received widespread praise,” Ma said.
“However, another Jiang Ping incident or two could instantly wipe out the achievement,” he said.
Ma said that despite the improved ties since he came to power in 2008, differences between Taipei and Beijing remain.
“The Jiang Ping incident is simply the tip of an iceberg,” Ma said, without elaborating.
He called on the two sides to set aside the existing sovereignty disputes and keep building mutual trust.
Ma’s comments were also in reference to former vice president Lien Chan’s (連戰) raising the issue of Taiwan’s international space at a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) on the sidelines of the APEC leaders’ summit in Japan at the weekend.
Ma said he had concerns over China’s continued obstruction of the efforts by Taiwanese civic groups to participate in international events, emphasizing the importance of a “virtuous cycle” on this matter.
”Our NGOs have recently encountered harassment and obstruction from … China and this has upset many people [in Taiwan],” he said.
“It would be difficult to -improve cross-strait relations” if Taiwanese NGOs keep encountering obstruction by China at international events, Ma said, adding that these organizations are usually among the most active in Taiwan.
On Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, Ma put an emphasis on the virtuous-cycle theory, which he said would help deepen cross-strait ties.
At his meeting with Lien on Sunday, Hu did not give any guarantees, merely saying that “negotiations should be sought regarding Taiwan’s participation in international affairs … so that disputes can be avoided.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA
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