Opposition leaders yesterday said they would launch an impeachment drive against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) if he signs a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with China without the consensus of the Taiwanese public.
“If the Ma government does not change its wrong-headed policies and thinking, especially its wish to sign a CECA with China and allow Chinese students to study in Taiwan’s schools, we will gather all the public power available to us to oppose him and an impeachment drive against Ma may be unavoidable,” Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said on the second and final day of the Taiwan Citizen Conference on National Affairs convened by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the TSU.
Huang said Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in a speech to mark the 30th anniversary of Beijing’s “open letter to Taiwanese compatriots,” on Dec. 31 said that Taiwan and China could sign a CECA under the “one China” principle and that it would be an important step toward “reunification” with China if Taiwan accepted the political conditions and signed the agreement.
Huang said that although various polls have showed that 60 percent to 70 percent of Taiwanese opposed unification with China, Ma’s government was still forging ahead along its own path.
Former DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) criticized the Ma administration, saying it had “found the wrong doctors” when trying to cure the economy. Su said signing a CECA with China was not helpful and was very inappropriate.
He said the opposition parties and the public would take to the streets if Ma carried out his CECA proposal.
DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) warned that the signing of a CECA would involve delicate political issues that may cause serious social conflict if the government did not first seek public approval.
Tsai told reporters after the conference that while impeaching Ma might not be possible, taking into account the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) overwhelming majority in the legislature, an impeachment drive could make the government review its policies.
The government would pay the price if an impeachment drive were launched against Ma, Tsai said.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Office yesterday dismissed concerns that signing a CECA would be one more step toward unification and insisted that the government would make the nation’s interests the priority when dealing with China.
“A CECA would be signed with a ‘Taiwan centric’ premise in mind and the president’s ‘three noes’ policy remains unchanged,” Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said.
The ‘three noes’ relate to Ma’s promise of no unification, no independence and no use of force.
Wang made the remarks in response to a Washington Post article published on Saturday that suggested signing a CECA “represents an important step toward the possibility of unification of the longtime adversaries.”
The article quoted Li Fei (李非), deputy director of the Taiwan Studies Center at Xiamen University, as saying the agreement would be a “significant milestone.”
“It’s a start toward full cross-strait economic integration and a necessary condition for marching forward toward final unification,” he said in the article.
Wang said that Ma’s administration was seeking a reasonable framework for the normalization of cross-strait economic and trade relations with the signing of such an agreement.
The government would seek a social consensus before signing a CECA and the “three noes” policy remained key to Ma’s cross-strait strategy, he added.
Also at the Presidential Office, KMT China Affairs Office Director Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) dismissed the article and lashed out at opposition parties for causing “political panic” by exaggerating the issue in order to obstruct cross-strait economic cooperation.
Signing a CECA with China was part of Ma’s election platform after soliciting opinion from local businesses. Failing to sign the agreement with China would prevent the nation from competing economically with its neighbors in Asia, Chang said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday that the signing of a CECA would be based on the WTO framework.
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