Taiwan will avoid military competition with China under his administration, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday, defending his efforts to maintain the cross-strait “status quo” against Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) charges of his possible attempts to seek unification.
Ma, whose talk of a cross-strait peace agreement within the next decade raised concerns about possible political negotiations with China, reiterated his “three noes” policy as the major principle of cross-strait relations during a meeting with military generals, stressing that his administration would prevent war across the strait.
“Faced with the rise of the mainland and its growth in military power, it is impossible and unnecessary to engage in military competition with the mainland. We should work to systematize the ‘no use of force’ part, so that Chinese leaders would be reluctant to solve cross-strait issues via wars,” he said.
The “three noes” policy refers to Ma’s proposal of maintaining the cross-strait “status quo” with no unification, no independence and no use of force.
In recent discussions about cross-strait policies during presidential debates and policy platform presentations, Tsai remained critical of the Ma administration maintaining close ties with China and warned that if Ma were re-elected, Taiwan could face the question of ultimate unification.
In defending the government’s efforts to improve cross-strait relations over the past three years, Ma said that the so-called “1992 consensus” — which refers to an alleged consensus with Beijing on the concept of “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” — is designed to help the two sides of the Taiwan Strait put aside their political differences and focus on cross-strait exchanges.
The signing of 16 agreements under the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), he said, helped revive Taiwan’s economy while maintaining the nation’s dignity.
“No matter what we sign, maintaining the cross-strait ‘status quo’ under the constitutional structure and pushing for peace across the Taiwan Strait under the ‘1992 consensus’ remain our major principle,” he said.
Ma, who is seeking re-election in the Jan. 14 election, yesterday launched another wave of “home-stay” campaigns, visiting local night markets in Chiayi and staying in the city overnight.
He is scheduled to continue the home-stay trip in Miaoli and Taoyuan today and tomorrow before returning to Taipei.
Ma is scheduled to begin a nationwide campaign tour on Tuesday, canvassing in the streets of the eastern cities of Hualien and Taitung, and then continuing to Pingtung, Greater Kaohsiung and Tainan, before holding large-scale campaign parties in Changhua, Taipei, Taoyuan and Greater Tainan on the weekend before the presidential election.