Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) yesterday further distanced the government from former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) over a controversial statement delivered on his recent trip to China.
In his meeting with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Beijing on Monday, Lien said that cross-strait relations should be based on the principles of “the ‘one China’ framework, cross-strait peace, mutual interest and integration, and the revitalization of the Zhonghua minzu (中華民族) [Chinese ethnic group].”
Lien was not tasked by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) with any mission and his trip to China was a part of cross-strait people-to-people exchanges, Wang said yesterday in response to media queries.
Wang said he holds Lien in high esteem and so does Ma, but “there is no gray area when it comes to the country’s cross-strait policies.”
People have concerns over whether Lien had Ma’s mandate and whether Lien represented the government when he made the statement, Wang said.
“We have to be very clear that the statement was Lien’s personal views,” he said.
Separately, at a question-and-answer session in the legislature yesterday, Jiang said he had a chance to visit Lien to consult on his experiences of being a premier before Lien left for Beijing on Sunday and Lien did not mention the statement to him.
Jiang said he only knew about the statement by Lien when he read the newspapers.
In response to Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉), Jiang said he did not think Lien’s remarks would cause any fallout that would affect the government.
The Presidential Office and Lien’s office have become embroiled in a spat over whether Ma had prior knowledge of Lien’s statement. They met recently, first on Feb. 10 when Ma visited Lien to wish him a happy Lunar New Year, and then at the Presidential Office two days before Lien embarked on his trip.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday declined to comment on the spat between Ma and Lien as he said he did not know the real situation.
Ma and Lien shared the same goals to push for peace, and comprehensive exchanges and cooperation in cross-strait relations, Wang Jin-pyng said.
Meanwhile, while fielding questions from Lin, Jiang said he would not describe the cross-strait relationship as a “special state-to-state relationship,” a term coined by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).
Jiang said he disagreed with the description of the cross-strait relationship, because Taiwan and China “are not two different states.”
Under the nation’s Constitution and its additional articles, they are referred to as the free area and the mainland area respectively, Jiang said.
“However, that can’t be simplified as ‘one country, two areas,’” he said.