Ma tells China to dismantle missiles

UNACCEPTABLE: The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman said that talks would never take place while Taiwan faced a deadly threat from China

AP AND CNA , TAIPEI AND LONDON

Mon, Feb 13, 2006 - Page 3

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has said that China must agree to discuss dismantling its missiles pointed at Taiwan before the country would agree to hold talks.

"No one likes to live under the threat of guns, knives or warheads of missiles," Ma said in comments aired on Saturday by ETTV. "This should be included in the agenda if we hold talks in the future."

Ma, who is viewed as a shoo-in for the KMT nomination in the 2008 presidential election, made the comments to a group of Taiwanese and Chinese students at Cambridge University in England.

China has deployed hundreds of missiles along its southeastern coasts facing Taiwan. Ma said dismantling the missiles is contained in the peace framework proposed by former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) during his trip to China last year.

At Cambridge, Ma said unification will become more likely if the two societies narrow their political, economic and social gaps.

"The opportunity is there ... but whether it can be achieved is up to the people in Taiwan to decide," he added.

New model

Ma is expected to put forth a "new model" for handling relations between Taiwan and China, hoping that the two will go through confrontation, conciliation and cooperation ("three Cs") to reach peaceful co-existence and joint prosperity (" two Ps").

Ma is scheduled to make public his so-called "2P3C" theory in a speech at the prestigious London School of Economics today.

He said yesterday that cross-strait issues are not limited to commonly seen disputes over sovereignty, but rather cover a wide range of issues including Taiwan's internal problems such as ethnic division, controversy over independence or unification, birth places (in different provinces of China) and economic issues, as well as international issues.

He said his "2P3C" proposal is aimed at solving all of these issues in a bid to form a new model for handling cross-strait relations.

Ma said his "new model" will be more than simply returning to the so-called 1992 consensus, a rough term about an understanding between Taipei and Beijing that they agreed to disagree on the meaning of "one China."

Ma said his party is "going beyond old modes of thinking" in pursuit of new visions for peace and prosperity on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Meanwhile, the notion that there should be no talks with China if it does not remove its missiles aimed at Taiwan is the mainstream opinion in Taiwan concerning the development of cross-strait relations, a member of the KMT legislative caucus said.

KMT Deputy Party Whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) said that no people in the world would be willing to live under the threat of missiles and that Beijing has no chance of forcing Taiwan to return to the negotiating table with the threat of missiles.

Unification

If China intends to see ultimate unification across the Taiwan Strait, Tsai said, it should give careful thought to how to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwan people, instead of aiming missiles at Taiwan while at the same time making "goodwill" overtures toward the nation.

Tsai was responding to Ma's remarks made at Cambridge University in England on Saturday.

Tsai claimed that the idea of peaceful unification with China has been the mainstream opinion in Taiwan. If Beijing insists on continuing to deploy missiles targeting Taiwan, this will only serve to defy the common aspiration of Taiwanese, he said.

Showing genuine goodwill to the people of Taiwan to win their hearts is the only right way for Beijing to seek peaceful unification with Taiwan, Tsai stressed.

The KMT legislative caucus also said yesterday that the National Unification Council (NUC) and the National Unification Guidelines serve as a safety valve in the often tense relations between Taiwan and China, warning that doing away with these nominal institutions might trigger a war between the two.

As President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) statement that it's time to "seriously consider" scrapping the NUC and its guidelines has sparked a controversy, the KMT caucus advised him to take heed of his political credibility and put aside his agenda to abolish the NUC, focusing his energy instead on revitalizing the nation's economy.

Tsai claimed that scrapping the NUC and its guidelines "absolutely contradicts" Chen's own "five noes" pledge of not declaring Taiwan independence, not changing the nation's official title, not pushing for inclusion into the Constitution of the "state-to-state" description of cross-strait relations, not holding a referendum on independence versus unification and not abolishing the NUC. Chen made the "five noes" pledge in his inauguration addresses in 2000 and 2004.

"If the president insists on pushing ahead with his proposal to abolish the NUC, then his political credibility will again be open to doubt," Tsai said.

On the president's argument that he was proposing abrogating the NUC in deference to a Legislative Yuan resolution to do away with all illegal organizations under the Presidential Office, Tsai said if the issue flares up again at the legislature, it could be seen internationally as an attempt by the Chen administration to tilt toward independence.