President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday heaped scorn on a claim by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) that he would seek unification with China if re-elected, focusing on his efforts to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty and national dignity.
In an interview with the Broadcasting Corp of China, Ma challenged Tsai to back up her accusation with evidence, urging her not to irresponsibly incite social and political confrontation with baseless accusations.
“Does she have any evidence to show that I stand for ultimate unification?” he asked. “I want Chairperson Tsai to tell me, which of the 16 cross-strait agreements we signed has sacrificed our sovereignty? The nation’s sovereignty remains intact.”
Ma made the comments in response to Tsai’s criticism of his cross-strait policy on Friday night during a policy platform presentation, when she said that if Ma was re-elected, “our generation could very possibly face the question of ultimate unification.”
Citing the government’s achievement in attending the World Health Assembly (WHA) as a member country and enhancing economic cooperation with many countries, Ma slammed Tsai and the DPP saying they blamed the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for such international participation, even though they failed to achieve a similar international profile for Taiwan when the DPP was in power.
“Taiwan is able to move forward and enhance international participation, including our attendance of the WHA. Did that not promote Taiwan’s sovereignty?” he said. “The KMT has achieved things that the DPP was simply unable to in the past, and we did so without damaging sovereignty and Taiwan’s dignity.”
Ma said that the so-called “1992 consensus,” which refers to a consensus with Beijing on the concept of “one China,” but with each side having its own interpretation, is designed to help the two sides of the Taiwan Strait put aside political differences and focus on cross-strait exchange.
He again pointedly questioned Tsai on her earlier comments that the Republic of China (ROC) is a government-in-exile.
“She has said that the ROC is a government-in-exile, and now she is running for the ROC presidency. Would that not make her a president-in-exile if she is elected?” he asked.
Ma won a decisive victory in the 2008 presidential election. However, his support has declined since taking office, and many opinion polls have put the two candidates neck-and-neck
When asked to comment on public indifference over the government’s performance, Ma dismissed criticism of his preference for quoting statistics when promoting government policies, insisting that such figures best reflected the government’s achievement in various fields.
“The DPP did very little when it was in power and so the party does its best to avoid talking about statistics,” Ma said.
“It tries to appeal to voters with stories, but the problem is that once the stories have been told, what’s left? Can they govern the nation with nothing but feelings?” he asked.