2012 ELECTION: Peace proposal poses grave risk: Lee

CRISIS IN THE MAKING?:Lee Teng-hui, in a written speech, said the Ma administration’s ‘self-negation’ of Taiwan’s equal status among nations with China amounted to treason

By Su Yung-yao  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Nov 20, 2011 - Page 1

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) added to the chorus of heavy criticism of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) proposal to sign a peace agreement with China, as he said yesterday it posed a grave risk to national sovereignty.

“Politically speaking, Ma’s proposal to sign a cross-strait peace accord is another step toward pandering to [Beijing’s] ‘one China’ framework, which could lead to the greatest crisis Taiwan’s sovereignty has faced since its democratization,” Lee said in a written speech that was read out by former Academia Historica president Chan Yen-hsien (張炎憲) at a forum held by the Taiwan Brain Trust think tank in Taipei.

Lee was unable to attend the forum because he had been released from hospital just the day before after recuperating for almost three weeks from surgery for colon cancer.

In the speech, Lee also expressed thanks to the public for their concerns over his health.

Lee said in the speech, titled “Surpassing the Crisis of Foreign and Domestic Dangers Posed to Taiwanese Democracy,” that in the past three years, the Ma administration has increasingly been leaning toward China, saying it was plunging Taiwan into the “one China” maelstrom and binding the foundations of the Taiwanese economy to China based on the non-existent basis of the so-called “1992 consensus.”

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) claims the consensus was an agreement reached by Taipei and Beijing in 1992 that there is just “one China, with each side having its own interpretation,” whereas late Straits Exchange Foundation chairman Koo Chen-foo (辜振甫), who participated in the negotiations in 1992, and Lee had denied the existence of such a consensus.

In the speech, Lee also criticized the Ma administration over its signing of the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) last year, saying that not only has Taiwan not signed more free-trade agreements with other countries as the Ma administration had said it would, but that Taiwan has also seen a decrease in both domestic and foreign investment inside the country.

Pointing to the history of Taiwan’s democratization, Lee said Taiwan was already a sovereign, independent country and was also a democratic country in which power rested with the people. The relationship between Taiwan and China has proceeded on a nation-to-nation basis since the Constitution was amended in 1991, he said.

At the very least, their relationship had a special nation-to-nation basis, Lee said, adding that it was not a domestic relationship under the “one China [framework].”

Lee said the Ma administration was taking away Taiwan’s sovereignty by calling the cross-strait relationship a “special relationship,” adding that this sort of “self-negation” not only amounted to treason, but also exceeded the president’s powers.

The people absolutely did not give the government they voted in the power to “take away the sovereignty of Taiwan,” Lee said.

Lee also stressed that the sovereignty of Taiwan was an international issue and the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait could not be unilaterally changed.

“The KMT and the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] should not think their closed-door negotiations on the future of Taiwan can pass unnoticed and unhindered, because such closed-door negotiations are a unilateral decision to change the ‘status quo’ in the Taiwan Strait,” Lee said.

“The relevant benefits of the situation in the Taiwan Strait not only concerns both sides of the Strait, but also neighboring nations,” Lee said, adding: “Such benefits cannot be decided in private by the KMT and the CCP.”

Lee added that the January presidential election will be a turning point for Taiwan and that “‘abandoning Ma to save Taiwan’ is the most direct action toward saving Taiwan.”

Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer