President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that Taiwan’s sovereignty has not been denigrated nor its national dignity compromised under his leadership, but rather strengthened.
“The Republic of China [ROC] has not changed a bit and I am still the president of the ROC,” he said in an interview with Radio Taiwan International (RTI).
Ma said the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration did not get its priorities right because it insisted both sides could talk only if Beijing recognized there was “one country on each side of the Taiwan Strait.”
“They not only could not get what they wanted, but also could not make any progress on other priority issues,” he said.
Ma said he would like to know which of the six agreements signed so far with China had sabotaged Taiwan’s sovereignty or denigrated its dignity.
No one has been able to explain it clearly to him yet, he said.
Ma said some people have complained that his administration has undermined national sovereignty because it accepted the “1992 consensus.” In his view, the consensus meant each side of the Taiwan Strait has its own interpretation of “one China,” he said.
The “1992 consensus” refers to a supposed agreement between the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait in 1992 in Hong Kong that stipulated each side of the Taiwan Strait had its own interpretation of “one China.” There was no consensus: National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi (蘇起) admitted in 2006 that he invented the term in 2000 when he was head of the Mainland Affairs Council.
“The ROC Constitution is a ‘one China’ Constitution and the government does not drop national sovereignty during negotiations because they are conducted under the framework of ROC Constitution,” Ma said.
The international community has endorsed his China policy, Ma said, so Taiwan is no longer viewed as a troublemaker and eased cross-strait ties have been beneficial to the region and the world.
There was still a long way to go before the country could participate in international organizations, but if he “properly handled cross-strait relations,” there would be more room to maneuver, he said.
“The source of all problems, including our diplomatic space or international participation, is cross-strait relations,” he said.
He hoped cross-strait relations would move forward, but he was not a wishful thinker, he said. It would be more fruitful if he continued to push cross-strait relations based on the ROC Constitution and the “1992 consensus,” he said.
Both sides cannot avoid political issues at the negotiation table, Ma said, but the priority issue at the moment was economic and those concerning people’s livelihood.
As for the country’s bid to join the World Health Assembly next year, Ma said it will depend on the attitudes of the WHO and China.
While RTI’s broadcasts are heard in China, Ma’s interview was blocked and the Internet version provided by the Phoenix network was edited to eliminate the word “president.”
Ma also pledged to rebuild the trust with Washington, saying that US president-elect Barack Obama has sent him two letters, one after he won the March election and one after his inauguration in May.
The procurement of arms from the US reflected the reparation of trust with Washington, he said.