President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration’s participation in the APEC summit has restricted Taiwan’s strategic options and international engagement with its sole focus on cross-strait relations at the annual meeting, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.
“The APEC summit, one of several international events that Taiwan takes part in as a full member, was supposed to be a setting where Taiwan could actively expand its international visibility and interaction. Unfortunately the Ma administration only approached the meeting as an arena for cross-strait political dialogue,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.
Former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), who represented Ma in his capacity as chairman of the Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation, praised the meeting as “fruitful” upon his return from Bali, Indonesia, yesterday.
Ma’s attitude toward the meeting was the reason Siew never challenged Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) political statement about the “one China” principle during their 30-minute meeting on Sunday.
“The international community could mistakenly believe that Taiwan acknowledged that it was part of China,” Su said, adding that the delegation could have proposed more constructive initiatives and have promoted closer country-to-country cooperation if it had not been so focused on China.
Su reiterated the DPP’s opposition of the “one China” framework and maintained that the political feud across the Taiwan Strait was not a continuation of the Chinese Civil War between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party.
“Dialogue and negotiations between the two sides should never be conducted under the ‘one China’ framework. Nor should Taiwan’s sovereignty be sacrificed in exchange for increased international participation,” Su said.
Xi’s comment in his meeting with Siew, in which the Chinese leader said cross-strait political division should be resolved and could not be “passed on from generation to generation,” reflected that Beijing has grown impatient about gridlocked bilateral political negotiation and would likely increase pressure on Ma during the remainder of his term, DPP Department of China Affairs director Honigmann Hong (洪財隆) said.
Hong raised concerns about Ma’s intention to actively promote a meeting between him and Xi at the APEC summit next year, saying it could “cause irreversible damage” to Taiwan’s political and economic sovereignty.