President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has dispatched a “secret emissary” to China after saying his proposal to sign a cross-strait peace accord was contingent on a referendum rattled Beijing, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.
Ma allegedly sent Kao Huei (高輝), director of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Mainland Affairs Department, to explain the initiative, which has crossed Beijing’s red line of “no referendums,” DPP spokesman Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) told a press conference.
Liang urged Ma to disclose Kao’s itinerary to the public and disclose which Chinese officials he was scheduled to meet.
“Cross-strait peace and a cross-strait peace accord are completely different things,” DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said at her national presidential campaign headquarters.
While almost everyone wants peace across the Taiwan Strait, it should be achieved with both sides’ respect for each other’s sovereignty, the DPP presidential candidate said.
A peace accord under the precondition of the “one China” principle that defines Taiwan as a belligerent in the Chinese Civil War instead of a sovereign country is “absolutely unacceptable,” Tsai said.
The DPP insists on achieving peace without abandoning dignity, security and the consensus of Taiwanese, she added.
“Peace is not a free meal,” Tsai said, adding that it would only be achieved through building solidarity and strength.
Wu Nai-ren (吳乃仁), Tsai’s chief campaign manager, told reporters he did not understand why Ma came up with the initiative of a peace accord, adding that he believed that the proposal actually hurt Ma’s presidential campaign.
“The initiative basically tells Taiwanese — most of whom prefer maintaining the ‘status quo,’ according to most surveys — that they have to make a decision on unification in 10 years, rather than 30 or 50 years,” Wu said.
In Taiwan, Wu said, most people know that the KMT prefers eventual unification, while the DPP leans toward Taiwanese independence, adding that most people are opposed to unification.
“So why has the KMT still been able to win elections? It is because voters knew before they would not have to make the decision [on unification] in the near future if they voted for the KMT,” he said.
The hasty proposal has changed the dynamics, and is not likely to benefit Ma’s campaign, Wu said.
Articles published by pro-China media in recent days also suggest Beijing is unhappy with Ma, he said.
Approached for comment, KMT spokesperson Lai Su-ju (賴素如) denied the allegations and accused the DPP of “smearing” the Ma administration’s efforts to consolidate cross-strait peace through the proposed pact.
Lai acknowledged that Kao was in China, but insisted he was on a scheduled trip to visit Taiwanese businesspeople there rather than Chinese government officials to explain the suggested peace pact and referendum.
“The KMT has not sent any secret envoys to explain the pact to the mainland [China] ... President Ma was seeking to systematize cross-strait peace when he proposed the pact and the DPP should stop making groundless accusations and distorting our efforts to achieve cross-strait peace,” she said.
Ma has made it clear the government is only “considering” signing a peace agreement with China and the proposal is not a solid plan at this juncture.
“Kao’s trip has nothing to do with any discussions of the peace pact with the mainland. The peace pact has yet to become a mature plan that we can explain or discuss with the other side,” Lai said.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih
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