The Washington Post has published a letter criticizing President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Written in response to a Post interview with Ma published on Feb. 18, the letter said that the earlier story revealed, “perhaps inadvertently,” inconsistencies in Ma’s position.
From Gerrit van der Wees, a senior policy adviser at the -Formosan Association for Public Affairs, the letter said that Ma is seeking more US arms, in particular F-16 fighter jets.
“We should wholeheartedly support that,” Van der Wees said.
He added: “But why did Ma vociferously oppose the same arms sales from 2000 to 2008, when his predecessor, [then-president] Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), was in power? That the new F-16s are still not -flying in Taiwan’s airspace is largely due to Ma playing politics under the previous government.”
The letter said that another inconsistency was that Ma declared in the interview that Taiwan “is a sovereign state.”
Van der Wees said: “This is indeed a fact, something the previous government, led by the Democratic Progressive Party, attempted to emphasize. However, since 2008, Ma and his Kuomintang [Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)] government have directly and indirectly undermined Taiwan’s sovereignty by pushing Taiwan into China’s sphere of influence and by eroding Taiwan’s hard-won freedom and democracy.”
Van der Wees wrote that Ma’s “sovereign state” was not Taiwan, but the old “Republic of China [ROC],” which he said was “brought over from China by the authoritarian Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).”
He added: “The constitution Ma refers to is the anachronistic 1947 ROC Constitution, which stipulates that his ROC still holds sovereignty over China, Tibet, Mongolia, etc. It would be desirable if Taiwan would ditch this Constitution and move forward with a new one based on the reality of a free and democratic Taiwan.”