DPP demands Ma apology over policy

‘ONE COUNTRY, TWO AREAS’::The party said the president had ignored legislative oversight, in addition to breaking his promise of not pursuing unification with China

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday condemned the ruling party’s controversial “one country, two areas (一國兩區)” proposal and demanded that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) apologize and clarify his stance on Taiwan’s status.

If Ma failed to disclose the policymaking process behind the proposal, which the DPP said would make unification Taiwan’s only option, the DPP would not rule out “any form of action that could express Taiwanese people’s anger,” DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) told a press conference.

The party announced its formal position on the proposal, which had been heavily debated in the legislature for days, after its weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.

The proposal, touted by former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) during his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) on Thursday last week in Beijing, has changed the “status quo” of Taiwan’s territory and sovereignty and has violated Ma’s own policy of “no independence and no unification,” Lin said.

“Under this policy, unification [with China] would be Taiwan’s only option,” he said.

The policy is dangerous in that the international community would likely interpret “one country” as being the People’s Republic of China (PRC), making Taiwan a region under the PRC, Lin said.

What is even more unacceptable was the opaque policymaking process, he said, as top intelligence and cross-strait affairs officials were kept out of the decisionmaking circle.

Ma not only ignored legislative oversight and failed to communicate with the public, but he has also stayed silent on the matter to avoid responsibility, Lin added.

While Ma has not personally commented on the “one country, two areas” proposal, the Presidential Office on Monday said that the complete definition for cross-strait ties is “one Republic of China, two areas.”

Lin said the DPP has always maintained that Taiwan is a sovereign country and any change in the “status quo” should go through a national referendum.

“Taiwan’s sovereignty should not be a bargaining chip on the negotiation table, nor can it be transferred between political parties,” Lin added.

Lin said Ma should apologize and explain his policy, adding that the party would not rule out measures to give voice to public anger.

However, Lin declined to confirm if participation in a protest planned by several groups on May 20 — the day of Ma’s inauguration for his second presidential term — was one of the options.

The DPP yesterday also reached a resolution on another much-discussed issue — a presidential pardon for former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption.

A number of pro-localization groups and DPP lawmakers, among them a senior legislator, Mark Chen (陳唐山), have recently advocated a presidential pardon for Chen and have launched a petition.

Lin said the DPP supports Chen’s judicial rights and right to medical treatment.

However, the party has urged its members to refrain from taking unilateral action before a more specific resolution is made, so the issue “would not be exploited by its political rivals as a tool to divide the DPP,” he said.