Mon, Sep 24, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Ko says he approaches cross-strait ties ‘practically’

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday responded to comments by Sunflower movement leader Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) that his handling of cross-strait relations could create an opening for Beijing’s infiltration of the nation, saying that he approached cross-strait issues “practically.”

Taiwan’s commitment to resisting China’s encroaching expansion is under challenge from within, Lin said in an article published in The Diplomat.

Beijing is trying to infiltrate Taiwanese politics in the run-up to Nov. 24’s nine-in-one elections, Lin said, and singled out Ko’s stance on cross-strait relations as an area of concern.

He said China has continually sought to penetrate Taiwan’s political system by aligning with pro-Beijing politicians and political forces, such as those in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the majority of whom adhere to the so-called “1992 consensus.”

The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese government that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

While the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has refused to accept the “1992 consensus,” Ko’s stance of embracing the concept of Taiwan and China being “one family” and his popularity among Chinese political figures inject uncertainty into Taiwan’s efforts to counter China’s aggression, Lin said.

Asked about the article, Ko said that Taiwan and China are “mutually engaged in attack and defense,” and said he would listen to and respect different opinions on cross-strait ties.

“I think we have a better social system than Mainland China, because Taiwan is a democratic society that allows diversity and openness, and everyone is entitled to express their opinion,” he said.

Ko criticized “abolishing military conscription and cutting national defense budgets while calling for independence,” without specifying the target of his criticism.

DPP Taipei mayoral candidate Pasuya Yao (姚文智) praised Lin’s remarks, saying that Ko had “stepped into China’s trap of accepting its ‘one China’ principle.”

“We have continuously reminded the public that it [the ‘one family’ rhetoric] is just another way it [Beijing] rephrases its ‘one China’ principle, just like the ‘1992 consensus,’” he said. “Its goal is [to achieve] its nationalistic dream of unification.”

Recent actions by China — such as threatening to boycott Taiwan-based bakery cafe chain 85°C because a California outlet gave President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) a gift bag during her visit last month, issuing new residency permit cards for Taiwanese and spreading fake news online — show that it is using various means to intimidate Taiwanese and penetrate Taiwanese society, adding that Lin’s article serves as a reminder.

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