Fri, Jan 22, 2016 - Page 1 News List

INTERVIEW: Tsai’s cross-strait policy to rest on democratic will

In an exclusive interview with the Chinese-language ‘Liberty Times’ (the ‘Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), president-elect Tsai Ing-wen told staff reporter Tzou Jiing-wen that the election result showed Taiwanese support maintaining the ‘status quo’ in cross-strait ties and that she would build policy on precedents

President-elect Tsai Ing-wen gestures during an interview with the Liberty Times in Taipei on Wednesday.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

Liberty Times (LT): Many people believe that cross-strait relations will be the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] administration’s biggest challenge. The administration of Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) based its cross-strait policy on the so-called “1992 consensus” [the existence of which the DPP denies]. However, your policy is to “maintain the status quo.” How will you obtain China’s understanding while truly maintaining the “status quo”?

Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文): The results of this election demonstrate that maintaining the “status quo,” which is my policy, is the mainstream view of Taiwanese. Maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait and the stable development of the cross-strait relationship are the common wish of all groups concerned.

However, that responsibility is not unilateral. Both sides must work to build a consistent, predictable and sustainable cross-strait relationship.

On the evening of the ballot count, I said in the news conference that I would use the Republic of China’s [ROC] constitutional institution, the results of bilateral negotiations, talks and exchanges, and the democratic will expressed through the democratic principle as the basis for developing cross-strait relations.

I reiterate as president-elect that, when the new administration is inaugurated on May 20, it will be based on the constitutional institution of the ROC; it will act from a vantage point that transcends partisanship; it will follow Taiwan’s most recent democratic will and the most commonly shared consensus; and pursuit of the perpetuation of a peaceful and stable “status quo” in cross-strait relations will be grounded on the common interest of the people.

In 1992, the two parties [the Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits] from the two sides communicated and negotiated through an approach of mutual understanding and “seeking common ground while shelving differences,” and I understand and respect this historical fact.

I also believe that since 1992, there have been 20 years of bilateral exchanges and negotiations that accumulated [contributions to] the “status quo” and accomplishments, which both sides are to protect and maintain.

It is on this basic fact and established political basis that peace, stability and development in cross-strait relations will be promoted.

LT: You just mentioned “political basis.” What is this political basis comprised of? How is it different from that of the Ma administration’s?

Tsai: The “established political basis” I mentioned has several key components.

First, there was a bilateral summit in 1992 as a matter of historical fact and there was a mutual cognizance of “seeking common ground while shelving differences.”

Second, the ROC constitutional institution as it exists now.

Third, the results of 20 years of bilateral negotiations and exchanges.

Fourth, Taiwan’s democratic principle and democratic will.

Taiwan is a democratic society. The democratic will and democracy are the twin pillars of the government’s cross-strait policy.

If the government’s policy deviates from the democratic will and democracy, it would not be sustainable and might even lose the support of the people.

We insist on obeying the democratic will and the democratic principle and we insist on ensuring the freedom of Taiwanese in the right to choose their future. This is the most significant difference between the new administration and the Ma administration.

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