Tue, May 14, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ko Wen-je says presidents should seek to avoid war

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je talks to reporters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said that presidents should focus on avoiding war.

While the Ministry of National Defense and the chief of the general staff are to maintain the nation’s combat ability, the most important thing the president and high-ranking officials could do is set a strategy to avoid war, Ko said.

The US has the power to defeat China in a trade dispute, but while it can beat China up, “Taiwan has to make sure that China will not beat us up in return,” he said.

After stating in a television interview last week that he does not agree with President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) diplomatic strategy of “befriending the US and confronting China,” Ko on Sunday said that while befriending the US should be the main focus, Taiwan should not provoke China, because it would be like “a grasshopper messing with a rooster.”

Tsai on Sunday said that Ko’s remarks were oversimplified and inaccurate, and that the government’s policy is aimed at protecting national sovereignty, maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and contributing to regional stability.

“There is nothing wrong with protecting Taiwan’s sovereignty, but there are different methods,” Ko said yesterday, adding that the US-China trade dispute would likely have global effects for the next 15 years, so Taiwan should be especially cautious.

“We are still a smaller nation, so we should not think about being leverage in a dipute between two great powers,” he said.

Asked to comment on Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Terry Gou’s (郭台銘) “two Chinas,” Ko said that rejecting the existence of the Republic of China (ROC) would make the so-called “1992 consensus” inapplicable to Taiwan, and if the ROC does not exist, then the role of Taipei mayor would be questionable, because they are elected according to ROC laws.

“International reality is that the one China the world recognizes is the People’s Republic of China, which is why the cross-strait relationship is so peculiar,” Ko said.

Gou last week said that “each side of the Taiwan Strait having its own interpretation” of the “1992 consensus” means “the ROC and the People’s Republic of China.”

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 Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government that both sides of the Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

Separately yesterday, former premier William Lai (賴清德), who is seeking the Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential nomination, said that Ko’s remark was incorrect, because “Taiwan has never provoked China, but China continually suppresses Taiwan.”

“The problem we face is that when China is pressing and bullying Taiwan, the nation’s political parties do not stand together to protest against China’s action,” Lai said.

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