Mon, Mar 07, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Ma champions cross-strait compromise

ESCALATING TENSIONS The mayor of Taipei said that Taiwan and China were approaching their relationship dangerously, and said that there was still a chance to change things

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

A large number of people yesterday gather at a rally, titled, ``Against Beijing's annexation of Taiwan'' sponsored by the Taiwan Solidarity Union in Kaohsiung to protest China's planned ``anti-secession'' law, which is currently being reviewed by this session of the National People's Congress.

PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-YI, TAIPEI TIMES

China's proposed "anti-secession" law will hurt the status quo and both China and Taiwan should take a step back and make compromises to resolve the situation, Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.

"China's actions are escalating tensions across the Strait. Both sides should take a step back; if [China and Taiwan] are competing to prove their own bravery, then that is very dangerous," Ma said at ceremony marking the donation of a refugee house in Taipei.

NPC

Ma's comments come on the heels of recent calls from pan-green politicians for him and fellow Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to clarify their stances on the draft law set to be passed by China's National People's Congress within the month.

A statement made by Chinese President Hu Jin-tao (胡錦濤) on Friday eased cross-strait tensions, Ma said, adding that even if Beijing insists on enacting the anti-secession law, it should not excessively irritate those who support Taiwan independence.

Positive factors

In his Friday statement, Hu alluded to President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) reiteration of the "four noes" policy and Chen's recent meeting with opposition People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) as positive factors in cross-strait relations, while reiterating a hard line on Taiwanese independence.

The "four noes" refer to Chen's pledge to refrain from declaring independence, changing the nation's title, pushing for the inclusion of the state-to-state description of cross-strait relations in the Constitution and promoting a referendum to change the status quo on independence or unification during his term in office.

Jeopardy

Saying that the basic rule in maintaining peace between the two sides of the strait is that "China does not use force and Taiwan does not declare independence," Ma noted that if neither side can respect this rule, cross-strait relations will be jeopardized.

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