Defend Taiwan's sovereignty, says Ma

ABOUT FACE? : The KMT candidate's latest statement appears to run counter to his prior stance of having people on both sides of the Strait to decide Taiwan's future

By Mo Yan-chih and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Sat, Mar 15, 2008 - Page 1

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday voiced his opposition to China's "Anti-Secession" Law and declared his determination to defend Taiwan's sovereignty if elected.

"I expressed my opposition to the law three years ago, and I continue to strongly oppose it today. Taiwan enjoys sovereignty, and Taiwan's future should only be decided by Taiwanese people," Ma said at a press conference yesterday, marking the third anniversary of the passage of the law.

China enacted the law on March 14, 2005, allowing the government to use "non-peaceful" means if Taiwan were to declare de jure independence.

Ma also placed advertisements in major newspapers yesterday to mark the day, saying the KMT "firmly maintains that the future of Taiwan should be decided by Taiwanese people."

The statement represented a departure from Ma's previous stance. In an interview with Sing Tao Daily, a Hong Kong-based Chinese-language newspaper, during his visit to Europe in February 2006, Ma said that the "Taiwan problem should be jointly decided by the people on both sides of the Strait."

At Taipei Youth Center in Taipei yesterday, Ma, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) led 18 KMT local government heads and party legislators in signing a declaration vowing to oppose the law and other moves that would "hurt Taiwanese people's feelings" and to defend Taiwan's sovereignty and dignity.

The KMT politicians also vowed to implement the "three noes" policy to maintain the status quo and pledged to push for peaceful cross-strait relations.

Ma proposed the so-called "three noes" policy -- no unification, no independence and no use of force -- as his approach to improve cross-strait relations.

Ma condemned China for failing to recognize the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) deliberate tactic to heighten cross-strait tensions and understand the Taiwanese public's desire to maintain the cross-strait status quo.

Although there were no major breakthroughs in cross-strait relations, Ma said cross-strait economic and cultural exchanges had strengthened in the past three years, and the key to further breakthroughs depend on the attitude of the governments of Taiwan and China.

"I joined the presidential election to turn my determination to defend Taiwan's sovereignty into action," he said, while vowing to create friendly and peaceful cross-strait relations if elected.

DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) welcomed his KMT rival's "progress" in defending the public's right to determine the nation's future.

"Three years ago, Ma blamed Taiwan for the passage of the law as he said that the law resulted from Taiwan's provocative moves," Hsieh said.

He said that advocating the concept that "only the 23 million people in Taiwan can decide the nation's future" was why many DPP members were sent to prison in the past.

"It's a good thing that Ma is following in our steps," Hsieh said. "I am happy that we have reached a consensus on that because of the election. Only through co-existence and cooperation can Taiwan defend itself against intruders."

Also See: Presidential election 2008: 7 days to go: MAC chair slams 2005 communiques