Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) used an interview on CNN's Talk Asia program to accuse the Dem-ocratic Progressive Party (DPP) of endangering Taiwan's security and international status by advocating independence.
During the 30-minute interview, which was broadcast yesterday, Ma reiterated the KMT's cross-strait policy of maintaining the status quo and dismissed concerns that the China-friendly KMT would sacrifice the nation's sovereignty or seek immediate unification with China.
"We will maintain the autonomy of the island, maintain our dignity as a sovereignty, but we should improve relations with the mainland," Ma said.
"We could adopt a policy that would on one hand really take care of the `one China' principle, but on the other hand maintain Taiwan's dignity. What I mean is we should magnify the benefits but minimize the threat," he added.
Condemning the DPP for making the nation's economy suffer and endangering national security with its independence agenda, Ma said that while the KMT continues to see the Chinese Communist Party as a threat, it sees [China] as an opportunity and would normalize relations with China by adhering to the `one China' principle and seeking increased economic, cultural and educational exchanges.
"There is no chance that we can solve the sovereignty issue in our lifetime, but instead we can manage the issue ... so that we can shift our emphasis, our energy onto other more urgent issues, such as economic, security, education and cultural issues," he said.
Asked to comment on the KMT's blocking of the arms procurement bill in the legislature, Ma denied his party had stalled the bill.
"We did not block it ... We only chose those weapons that we believed could be used most efficiently for our defense," Ma said.
The KMT and the People First Party have asserted that the failed referendum held in 2004 in conjunction with the presidential election had made it "illegal" for the government to purchase three Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile batteries from the US.
Ma also took the opportunity to proclaim his innocence in response to allegations he embezzled money from his special allowance during his tenure as Taipei mayor.
"It is a special allowance for public relations. More than 6,500 government officials have it. We all use the fund according to the rules. At the moment, I believe that I've done nothing wrong. So far, no charges have been brought against me," he said.
Ma acknowledged that the scandal had done some damage to his image, but shared his confidence in leading the party to regain power next year.
"Most people believe I am a clean and upright person," he said, while declining to confirm whether or not he would run for president.
Describing himself as a "man of principle," Ma said he entered politics to promote the rule of law and aimed to upgrade the quality of democracy, calling on all politicians to be honest.
"I don't think that politicians should cheat and fight ... People don't like that," he added. "Honesty is the best policy."
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