President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) proposal for a possible peace accord with China within a 10-year time frame could put Taiwan’s sovereignty and democratic values at risk and leave future generations with no freedom of choice, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.
Speaking as the head of her party, Tsai, the DPP’s presidential candidate in January’s election, told a press conference that Ma’s proposal was “irresponsible and impetuous” and that it amounted to the manipulation of a highly sensitive political issue to cover up his administration’s failures, as well as a bargaining chip that benefits his presidential campaign.
“It’s a pity that President Ma, as a national leader, has put the nation’s future at risk with this reckless initiative and pushed the future of Taiwanese into a political danger zone,” Tsai said.
Ma proposed on Tuesday that Taiwan could negotiate a peace accord with China within 10 years on the preconditions of strong domestic support, the needs of the country and legislative supervision.
A DPP Central Standing Committee resolution yesterday said the proposal exposed Taiwanese to four serious risks — the sacrifice of Taiwan’s sovereignty, a change in the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, the jeopardizing of Taiwan’s democratic values and damage to the nation’s strategic depth in bilateral negotiations — Tsai said.
The initiative could make the cross-strait situation a “domestic” issue by agreeing to the “one China” principle, she said, as well as going to the negotiating table without a public mandate and a national consensus.
Tsai cited the 1951 peace deal between Tibet and China as an example of Beijing’s lack of credibility as a signatory.
“China is not a democratic country to this day. We cannot afford to overlook the potential risks and instability [when signing a peace accord with China],” she said.
Tsai said that while her party was not opposed to “political talks, without political preconditions,” any political negotiation should safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty, democracy and peace.
Meanwhile, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption, wrote in an article published yesterday that Taiwanese should never accept “one China,” adding that even former US president Bill Clinton had doubts about a potential cross-strait peace agreement.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) made it clear in a Dec. 31, 2008, speech that all cross-strait negotiations — including those for a confidence-building mechanism, the small three links, trade agreements, Taiwan’s international participation, as well as cessation of hostilities — should be under a “one China” framework, Chen said.
Ma had discussed the issue of a peace accord with him in 2007 and on April 1, 2008, when he was president-elect, Chen wrote.
Chen said he opposed any talks with preconditions and that he had had a heated debate with Ma on the so-called “1992 consensus” and “one China, with different interpretations.”
Ma said at the time that he would not hold talks with China if Beijing did not accept “one China, with different interpretations” and that he would not negotiate a peace agreement if China did not dismantle the missiles it has aimed at Taiwan, Chen wrote.
Current estimates put the number of short and medium-range, and cruise missiles the People’s Liberation Army targets at Taiwan at about 1,500.
Chen said he had rejected a recommendation by Ken Lieberthal, who served in the US National Security Council during the Clinton administration, for a mid-term peace treaty, which the US official argued would maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait for another 30 to 50 years.
The reason he rejected the proposal, he said, was that he would not accept the “one China” framework.
Clinton ridiculed Lieberthal’s proposal during his visit to Taiwan in February 2007, saying nobody could guarantee peace and that “time is on Taiwan’s side,” Chen wrote.
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