2012 ELECTIONS: Ma ambiguous, flip-flops on cross-strait issues: DPP

By Chris Wang and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporters

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has been ambiguous and has constantly flip-flopped on his position on the unification of Taiwan and China, and he intends to change rather than maintain the “status quo,” the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

Ma, who is seeking re-election next month, has failed to speak out on many issues, including his position on unification, signing a peace agreement with China with the prerequisite of a referendum and his Taiwanese-Chinese identity, among others, making his honesty highly questionable, DPP legislative candidate Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) and former DPP legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮) told a press conference in Taipei.

Ma has publicly stated his goal of unification at least eight times since 2005, but he has denied those comments whenever he has been challenged, Lo said, adding that Ma has also backed out of his pledge to make a referendum the prerequisite of a peace accord with China and he has refused to amend the Referendum Act (公民投票法).

Ma’s “three noes” policy — no unification, no independence and no use of force — which he says is a pledge to maintain the “status quo,” could be interpreted as an attempt to change to the “status quo” because “he does not rule out unification, denies Taiwan’s sovereignty and he has surrendered Taiwan’s self-defense,” Lo said.

The DPP submitted six questions to Ma.

The party asked whether unification is the ultimate goal of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) after the president told Newsweek magazine in an interview published in December 2005 that “unification is the ultimate goal for our party.”

The DPP also questioned what his advocation of “no unification” actually means.

“Does it mean that unification is not an option or does it mean he does not rule out unification as he told the Chinese-language CommonWealth magazine in an interview in January 2009?” Lo asked.

Lo asked Ma whether his initiative to sign a peace agreement with China in 10 years would be based on the Guidelines for National Unification, as his running mate Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) has said, and whether the agreement would function as a prelude to eventual unification.

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has said that the guidelines ceased to apply in 2006 and that they have not been reinstated during Ma’s term in office.

Ma appeared to make conflicting comments when he said in a speech at the London School of Economics and Political Science in February 2006 that he would love to “create ideal conditions for unification” and a peace agreement would be a “medium-term goal,” but now he is saying that a peace agreement should be signed in 10 years, Lo said.

While a majority of the international community recognizes that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) represents “China” in the “one China principle,” Kuo said, Ma insists that “China” represents the Republic of China (ROC).

"How are you [Ma] going to deal with the PRC then? Do you intend to eliminate the PRC or to sign a peace accord under which Taiwan is named as part of China?” he asked.

The final question emerged after China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokesman Yang Yi (楊毅) said that “Taiwan and China belong to the same country and bilateral relations were not, are not and will not be state-to-state,” Kuo said.

Whether both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to “one China” — regardless of whether “China” is the PRC or the ROC — is the core issue of the co-called “1992 consensus,” he said, adding that Ma needs to make his position on the issue clear and to fulfill his promise that all major political decisions on cross-strait relations would be determined by Taiwanese.

Kuo said that in terms of his cross-strait policies, People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) has been more honest than Ma, as the former has insisted that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to “one China.” Soong has said that Ma should reinstate the Guidelines for National Unification if he agrees with the “one China” principle.

Yesterday’s press conference was the third of its kind hosted by the DPP’s “interpellation group on national affairs,” which was set up to examine Ma’s performance and to raise questions on cross-strait, domestic and foreign affairs, as well as defense policies, until election day on Jan. 14.

In response, Ma’s re-election campaign office spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) said Ma would not address the issue of unification during his term in office as he has promised, adding that Ma’s proposed peace agreement with China would only proceed under this premise.

"President Ma has repeated his stance on numerous occasions — that he will not discuss the issue of unification [with China] during his term — that is what ‘no unification’ means. The president has made that very clear,” Yin said.

The “three noes” policy and the “1992 consensus” remain the main principle policies for cross-strait development, while Ma’s proposed cross-strait peace agreement would only be signed with strong domestic support and the supervision of the legislature, Yin said.

"President Ma is candid on the issue of unification. Does Chairperson Tsai dare to be candid about the issue of independence?” Yin asked, accusing Tsai and the DPP of adopting double standards on cross-strait issues, and challenging Tsai to offer clear explanation as to whether her proposed cross-strait peace mechanism is based on the premise of independence for Taiwan.

"Why is it that your [Tsai’s] proposal is a promotion of peace, while other people’s proposed peace agreements sell out Taiwan? This is a clear double standard,” Yin said.