Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has said he will convey the stance of what he described as the "mainstream view" of Taiwanese people to maintain the cross-strait "status quo" to US officials when he visits the US next month.
Ma made the remarks during an interview with the Lianhe Zaobao, a Chinese-language newspaper in Singapore, which carried the interview in yesterday's edition.
On President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) announcement a day earlier that the National Unification Council (NUC) would "cease to function," Ma warned that Taiwan might be "too optimistic" if its damage assessment is based on the initial, seemingly moderate responses of China and the US to the decision.
Chen's decision has impacted on the mutual trust between Taiwan and the US and has rocked the triangular strategic relationship between Taiwan, China and the US, according to Ma.
The decision has "driven Taiwan and the US apart, but pushed China and the US closer," Ma claimed, adding that this was the price that Taiwan will have to pay in the long run.
Ma said the most important role he and his allies in the opposition camp can play is to express the voice of the "mainstream" of Taiwan and to arouse the concern of the international community.
He said that when he starts his visit to the US on March 19, he will communicate with the US and explain his party's stance, which is that the mainstream view of Taiwan supports "maintaining the status quo." He said he would also try to "mend Taiwan-US relations."
Talking about any possible follow-up action by China, Ma said that judging from its remarks, Beijing seems to have defined Chen's move as "the first step toward Taiwan independence."
Ma said he assumed that Washington and Beijing are continuing bilateral communication and that developments during a meeting between US President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in Washington in April will be a focus of attention.
Although Chen's decision has thrown new uncertainty into cross-strait relations, the KMT will follow an agreement reached between former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and Hu when Lien visited China in April last year to continue to promote cross-strait peace and prosperity, Ma said.
Ma also said that he has no plans to visit China in the near future.