There is no need for the Republic of China (ROC), an independent country, to conduct an independence referendum, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday said in response to a lawmaker’s question about Scotland’s referendum.
During a question-and-answer session in the legislature, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) asked Jiang about the possible impact of the Scottish referendum tomorrow.
Jiang first replied generally, saying that the government is closely monitoring the possible impact, such as the potential political and economic changes to the UK and the rest of Europe.
When asked whether Taiwan’s national interests would be affected, the premier said the immediate effects of a “yes” vote would be minimal, but “if Scotland becomes an independent country, the bilateral relationship [with the UK] might require some adjustment.”
Chiu then asked if Jiang, as Cabinet head, was “inspired” by the Scottish referendum with respect to cross-strait relations and the government’s China policies.
“Is it possible that Taiwan’s ‘status quo’ can be maintained forever? Under what conditions would Taiwan’s ‘status quo’ be altered?” Chiu said. “How long can the ‘status quo’ be maintained by the principles of ‘no independence, no unification and no use of force,’ or the so-called ‘interim agreement?’”
The “status quo” could be changed in two ways, Chiu said.
“One is by our initiative, which is out of an idea of deciding our own nation’s future, and the other is to have it changed passively, which could happen if Taiwan could no longer handle a tilt in the balance of power,” he said.
Jiang denied that there was a basis for comparison between Taiwan and the Scottish referendum.
“The relationship between Scotland and the UK and that between the ROC-Taiwan and [China] are totally different. The ROC is an independent country, so the question of announcing independence via referendum is simply a nonstarter,” Jiang said.
He also rejected the possibility of a referendum calling for “unification” with China, reiterating that maintaining the “status quo” is the government’s stance.
“Any kind of referendum that aims to change the ‘status quo’ would be unwise,” Jiang said. “Keeping the ROC on Taiwan as an independent, sovereign state is our topmost priority. Any idea diverging from this would be at odds with the Constitution and against our citizens’ interests.”
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