The Ma Ying-jeou Foundation yesterday held a policy forum on the future of cross-strait relations to mark the third anniversary of the historic meeting between then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore in 2015.
It was the first time in 66 years leaders of the two sides in the Chinese Civil War had met since the retreat of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime to Taiwan in 1949.
At the forum, Ma said that the “1992 consensus” was an actual political accord between Taiwan and China.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration’s refusal to recognize the consensus is tantamount to unilaterally abolishing the accord, Ma said.
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 of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
Ma said the Tsai administration does not seem to understand that the consensus is a mark of trust, and without it cross-strait relations are deteriorating, leading to a complete standstill in quasi-governmental interactions and affecting Taiwan’s economy, politics and diplomacy.
Declining Chinese tourists numbers, the inability to sell Taiwanese produce in China and increased Chinese pressure on international organizations are all examples of how Taiwan is being affected, Ma said.
He also criticized the Tsai administration for failing to come up with an alternative to the consensus.
Ma called on Beijing not to attack the formula of “one China, with different interpretations,” saying that the existence of the ROC is the only thing preventing the realization of Taiwanese independence.
The acknowledgment that there is “one China” is crucial to preventing Taiwanese independence, Ma added.
The eventuality of unification is stated in the preface of the ROC Constitution, although it lacks a time line, Ma said.
The preface to the amendments in the Constitution states: “To address needs prior to the country’s unification, we have made the amendments to the Constitution as follows,” he said.
Any deal on unification should be conducted democratically, peacefully and take time, but such prerequisites have yet to be met, Ma said.
Taiwan should remain open to the possibility of unification, should not endorse independence and should call on China to avoid the use of force, Ma said.
The two sides must work toward a mutually agreed resolution, as reliance on any third party could bring negative effects, he said, adding that the US and Japan understand this possibility well.
Ma said that any cross-strait policy — regardless of political party — proposed during the 2020 presidential electoral campaign must stand up to public scrutiny.
Political parties owe it to the people to propose policies that discuss the direction of cross-strait relations, identify potential problems and provide viable solutions, Ma said.
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