Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday slammed President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for refusing to acknowledge the so-called “1992 consensus” and plunging cross-strait relations into a state of “cold confrontation,” while placing all of her hope on the US.
“Tsai’s administration has adopted a lopsided foreign policy that is slanted toward the US, but have Taiwan-US relations really improved?” Ma asked in a speech at a Taipei seminar on national security.
Despite US President Donald Trump having signed off on the Taiwan Travel Act, no ministerial visits have been made by either side, Ma told the seminar, which was hosted by his foundation.
In 2014, during Ma’s time in office, then-US Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy visited Taiwan, and some of his Cabinet members visited the US, he added.
Before the Solomon Islands broke off ties with Taiwan last month, Washington vainly voiced its concern over the potential switch in diplomatic ties, Ma said.
Due to Tsai’s “backsliding cross-strait ties,” the nation has lost seven diplomatic allies, whereas the nation only lost one during Ma’s eight years in office thanks to the “diplomatic truce” his administration had with Beijing, he said.
Tsai — nicknamed “the spice Taiwanese girl” by her fans — claims she is protecting the nation’s sovereignty when she has only degraded it, Ma said, adding that if Tsai does not right her wrongs, she is doomed to go down in history as the “cut-ties president” who humiliated Taiwan.
Talks between Taiwan and the US under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) have not been held since 2016, he added.
The Tsai administration has tried to use “hipster-esque language” to talk up its achievements in furthering Taiwan-US relations, but bilateral ties under Tsai have been quite “FBI” (friendly but inconsequential), Ma said.
His and Tsai’s administrations have both purchased weapons from the US, but his administration used arms procurement as a third layer of defense, following a secure Taiwan Strait and a diplomatic truce, Ma said.
Tsai’s administration first provokes China, then buys weapons from the US, which not only fails to promote peace in the Taiwan Strait, but also draws the criticism that her administration is paying the US tribute (protection fees), he added.
When the Trump administration unveiled the Indo-Pacific strategy aimed at stemming Chinese influence, the Tsai administration quickly opted in, but China has become the second-largest economy in the world, and Japan, India and ASEAN no longer capitulate to the US on every issue, he said.
Tsai is adamant about working with the US to confront China, which could cause Taiwan to lose its strategic advantage and turn the nation into a bargaining chip in a power struggle between the US and China, Ma said.
Tsai has instilled fear in Taiwanese by evoking “dried mango strips” (芒果乾) — a word play on “a sense of the nation’s impending doom” (亡國感) — banking on increased anti-China sentiment to bring her votes in next January’s presidential election, he said.
Ma said he remembered Tsai saying on Facebook shortly before taking office that people should “discard a government that escalates competition in an election by creating social division and terrorizing the public like they discard tainted food products manufactured by unscrupulous means.”
The post seems a fitting portrayal of Tsai’s performance in office, he said, adding that people should oust the Tsai administration in next year’s elections to help bring Taiwan back to the right path.
Separately yesterday, Tsai said that Ma’s awareness of what is happening around him seems not to have been updated for a long time.
If the so-called “dried mango strips” are true, Ma likely planted the mangoes in the first place, she said.
The so-called “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.
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