Thu, Jan 17, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ma says he might visit China after travel ban lifted

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Former president Ma Ying-jeou, left, adjusts his headphones during an interview with UFO Network radio host Tang Hsiang-lung in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he would be willing to visit China after a travel ban imposed on him is lifted in May, and maintained his support for the so-called “1992 consensus,” calling it a “life-saving elixir.”

Ma made the comments during a morning interview with UFO Network radio host Tang Hsiang-lung (唐湘龍), who asked what kind of a role the former president intends to play in cross-strait politics and the discussion of unification with China.

“Since I am already out of office, I have nothing to do with the administration or [the president’s] duties. That said, if there are key issues that concern the survival of the nation, I must not stay silent,” Ma said.

Asked if has plans to travel to China after the three-year travel ban expires on May 20, Ma said that although he did not yet have such a plan, he does not rule out the possibility of making the trip.

Turning to the “1992 consensus,” Ma reiterated that it was not unilateral, but agreed upon by both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

“The reason Beijing has some reservations about the ‘one China, with different interpretations’ part is because it worries we might have reckless interpretations, fears that stem from former president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) characterization of cross-strait relations as a ‘special state-to-state relationship’ in a 1999 interview,” Ma said.

Ma also criticized President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for equating the “1992 consensus” with China’s “one country, two systems” formula, saying that Tsai does not know how to handle the “1992 consensus” dilemma.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has maintained that 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 party 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.

However, in a speech about Taiwan on Jan. 2, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said the “1992 consensus” means that “both sides of the Strait belong to one China and will work jointly to seek national unification.”

He also announced his plan to explore a Taiwanese version of the “one country, two systems” model.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) yesterday said that Ma’s efforts to push for peaceful development of cross-strait relations during his presidential term had yielded positive outcomes.

“We are willing to interact and exchange views on cross-strait ties and the future of the Zhonghua minzu [中華民族, “Chinese ethnic group”] with all political parties, groups and individuals from Taiwan that adhere to the ‘1992 consensus,’ oppose independence and support peaceful development of cross-strait relations,” Ma Xiaoguang said.

Additional reporting by Chung Li-hua

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