President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said he floated the issue of a cross-strait peace agreement in his “golden decade” national vision because his government cares more about the lives of the people than ballots. Ma made the remarks on Friday in an interview with Global Views Monthly about why he floated the issue at a sensitive time in the run-up to the Jan. 14 presidential election.
Ma, seeking re-election, said it was because it was an issue that could not be avoided in the next decade.
“The government cares about peace, because peace will bring prosperity to Taiwan,” he said, adding that “the main concern is about the lives of the people and their money, and not just votes for me in the presidential election.”
If the “golden decade” is a blueprint for the nation over the next 10 years, then it is a question that cannot be avoided, Ma said, reiterating that he had not called for immediate talks on a cross-strait peace agreement.
Ma first made public his proposal to sign a peace agreement with China within the next decade when he elaborated on his 10-year plan on Oct. 17. At the time, he said his administration would “cautiously consider” the proposal under the three prerequisites that a peace accord was needed by the country, supported by the public and supervised by the legislature.
On Oct. 19, the Presidential Office issued a statement adding the Ma administration would first obtain public approval through a referendum before pushing for a peace agreement with China.
On Oct. 24, Ma elaborated that negotiations for a peace agreement with China would need “10 guarantees,” which he said were “one framework, two prerequisites, three principles and four assurances.”
The first guarantee is maintaining his policy of “no unification, no independence and no use of force” under the framework of the Republic of China Constitution (ROC), while promoting cross-strait exchanges based on the so-called “1992 consensus.” The two prerequisites refer to a high degree of domestic consensus and mutual trust between Taipei and Beijing.
It would also have to meet the true needs of the country, have strong public support and be supervised by the legislature, Ma said, adding that a peace agreement would also have to safeguard the ROC’s sovereignty, Taiwan’s safety and prosperity, ethnic harmony and cross-strait peace, as well as a sustainable environment and just society.
On criticism over a perceived lack of resolve in his administration, Ma cited the recently published list of his party’s legislator-at-large candidates as showing that “doing the right thing firmly is my way of showing resolve.”
The list, which includes many new faces, has generally won praise among the public, he said. He also said that the Democratic Progressive Party had accused him of selling out Taiwan, but instead, Taiwan has signed 16 agreements with China and increased exports of Taiwanese products and fruit there.