Mon, Oct 20, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers disagree on Ma comments

DOUBT Tsai Ing-wen said the president inspires little confidence and any peace accord between Taiwan and China should be dealt with by someone who is trusted

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers reacted differently yesterday to comments in an Indian quarterly by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on the subject of a cross-strait peace accord.

While KMT lawmakers keenly supported Ma’s initiative to ink a peace accord with China during his term in office, DPP lawmakers were highly skeptical of such an agreement, expressing fears that it would undermine Taiwan’s independent status.

In an interview published in India and Global Affairs quarterly on Saturday, Ma said he hoped to pursue a peace pact with China during his term in office, in response to a question on whether he thought the more than 1,000 missiles targeted by Beijing on Taiwan would be removed during his presidency.

KMT Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) endorsed Ma’s efforts to make peace with China, saying that signing a cross-strait peace deal would be the right thing to do. But he cautioned that Ma still needs to overcome many challenges.

Lu called for a cross-strait bill and improved understanding with China to pave the way for the clinching of the proposed peace accord.

KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said that signing a cross-strait peace agreement would mean a normalization of bilateral relations. If that happened, Taiwan would enjoy greater international space and the prospects of peace in the strait, the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world would be better guaranteed, he said.

Lin praised Ma for putting forward what he called a politically far-reaching proposal.

DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), however, opposed the idea of a cross-strait peace pact on the grounds that it would make Taiwan an appendage of China and push Taipei to embark on a path of unification with Beijing.

Kuan suggested that a referendum be held to decide whether the president should sign such a peace accord with China.

DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) accused Ma of preparing a big gift for the upcoming visit by China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) at the cost of Taiwanese interests by raising the proposal without setting any pre-conditions.

DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday there would be huge controversy if Ma proceeds with talks on a peace accord with China, given that people in Taiwan have very little confidence in him.

“Many people in Taiwan have little confidence in Ma’s handling of cross-strait affairs, and if he takes the lead to sign a peace accord with China, I believe it will be very controversial,” she said.

Tsai contended that a peace accord between Taiwan and China should be dealt with by someone who has the people’s trust.

“Negotiating or signing any peace accord will definitely involve the questions of sovereignty and national security,” Tsai said. “If these two questions cannot be properly addressed, a peace accord will harm the country.”

At a separate setting yesterday, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Fu Don-cheng (傅棟成) said Ma proposed the signing of a peace treaty during his inaugural address.

As cross-strait negotiations are conducted step by step, Fu said, the government is well aware that “certain conditions” must be met before a peace agreement can be reached.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KO SHU-LING

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