Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) statement that cross-strait relations are “not international relations” during his Double Ten National Day speech on Thursday was unacceptable.
“If cross-strait relations are not international relations, I would like to know what they are,” Su said.
Taiwanese elect their own leader and the People’s Republic of China has been established for more than six decades, Su said, adding that neither the public nor the DPP can accept Ma’s comments.
“Why did Ma make this comment after the election rather than during his election campaign?” Su said.
Aside from describing cross-strait ties as “not international relations,” Ma said that “people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are all Chinese by ethnicity (zhonghua minzu, 中華民族).
Tsai said that Ma had placed his own political interests above that of the public and exceeded his mandate by making such comments.
Ma should not risk sacrificing the nation’s interests to shift the focus away from his poor domestic governance, Tsai said on the sidelines of an event held by her Thinking Taiwan Foundation.
“The last thing we want to see is an embattled president making concessions to China or other countries to consolidate his own political status,” Tsai said. “The most important task for a national leader is to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty. With regards to the cross-strait relationship, it should be decided by Taiwan’s 23 million people, not by the president.”
Making such a bold pronouncement without going through the democratic process and respecting public consensus would be a breach of duty and a violation of his mandate, she said.
At a separate setting, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chih (王郁琦) defended Ma’s comments, saying what the president said was consistent with the government’s cross-strait policies.
“President Ma has said in the past that cross-strait relations are not state-to-state relations, and his remarks on National Day carried the same meaning,” Wang said.
Last year, Ma said that cross-strait relations are not state-to-state relations, but rather a “special relationship because the two sides do not recognize each other’s sovereignty, but would not deny each other’s existence.”