Sat, Jan 12, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ma not ruling out presidential run; defends ‘consensus’

By Shih Hsiao-kuang and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Former president Ma Ying-jeou yesterday waves to people watching a live stream of Pop Radio’s interview with him in Taipei.

Photo: CNA

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said that “many people” would like to see him in the Presidential Office again.

Ma made the remarks during an interview with Taipei-based Pop Radio, where said that “teary-eyed” members of the public had urged him to “return as soon as possible.”

He later added that he is instead focused on developing policy solutions to the problems affecting Taiwan.

Taiwan should return to its previous “peaceful and prosperous” relationship with China, while people with presidential ambitions should be able to handle economic, energy system and rule-of-law issues, he told radio host Huang Wei-han (黃暐瀚).

Ma refused to say outright whether he would seek a nomination for next year’s presidential race, even though Huang asked him the question repeatedly.

Asked to comment on the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) rules for its presidential primary, Ma said that the party’s process has been changed many times and could be further adjusted.

As the rules stand, votes by party members and polling of the general public would be weighed 30 percent and 70 percent respectively in the KMT’s presidential primary, but candidates could collectively decide to suspend that rule, he said.

“As a general principle, the important thing is that the primary should be fair and transparent,” Ma added.

Asked what he thinks about former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and KMT Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Ma said that anyone with ideas and passion should be encouraged to run and that all of them are good friends.

Chu last month expressed his interest to run for president, while Wu and Wang have been testing the waters, but have not yet committed.

Regarding President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) remarks last week about the definition of the so-called “1992 consensus,” Ma said that Tsai was wrong when she equated acceptance of the “consensus” with capitulation to China’s “one country, two systems” framework.

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 Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

“One country, two systems” is China’s plan for a post-unification Taiwan and is “not concurrent or synonymous” with the “1992 consensus,” Ma said, adding that the Tsai administration is attempting to use the unpopularity of the “two systems” model to bury the “1992 consensus.”

“Xi’s talk has been tough because he is distressed by the [diminished] prospects of unification, but I must say that China’s understanding of what the ‘1992 consensus’ entails is quite different from ours,” Ma said.

“Even Su this week said that he can no longer recognize the ‘1992 consensus.’ With Tsai eagerly moving away from it, the differences between the sides of the Taiwan Strait have grown to a point where the situation has started to resemble that during former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration,” Ma said.

“The two sides need to return to the original ‘1992 consensus,’” he said.

Asked whether he has plans to visit China or meet with Xi after restrictions on his travel as a former head of state expire on May 20, Ma said that he has no plans to do either, but would not rule out the possibilities.

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