Liberty Times (LT): Many people believe that cross-strait relations will be the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] administration’s biggest challenge. The administration of Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) based its cross-strait policy on the so-called “1992 consensus” [the existence of which the DPP denies]. However, your policy is to “maintain the status quo.” How will you obtain China’s understanding while truly maintaining the “status quo”?
Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文): The results of this election demonstrate that maintaining the “status quo,” which is my policy, is the mainstream view of Taiwanese. Maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait and the stable development of the cross-strait relationship are the common wish of all groups concerned.
However, that responsibility is not unilateral. Both sides must work to build a consistent, predictable and sustainable cross-strait relationship.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
On the evening of the ballot count, I said in the news conference that I would use the Republic of China’s [ROC] constitutional institution, the results of bilateral negotiations, talks and exchanges, and the democratic will expressed through the democratic principle as the basis for developing cross-strait relations.
I reiterate as president-elect that, when the new administration is inaugurated on May 20, it will be based on the constitutional institution of the ROC; it will act from a vantage point that transcends partisanship; it will follow Taiwan’s most recent democratic will and the most commonly shared consensus; and pursuit of the perpetuation of a peaceful and stable “status quo” in cross-strait relations will be grounded on the common interest of the people.
In 1992, the two parties [the Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits] from the two sides communicated and negotiated through an approach of mutual understanding and “seeking common ground while shelving differences,” and I understand and respect this historical fact.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
I also believe that since 1992, there have been 20 years of bilateral exchanges and negotiations that accumulated [contributions to] the “status quo” and accomplishments, which both sides are to protect and maintain.
It is on this basic fact and established political basis that peace, stability and development in cross-strait relations will be promoted.
LT: You just mentioned “political basis.” What is this political basis comprised of? How is it different from that of the Ma administration’s?
Tsai: The “established political basis” I mentioned has several key components.
First, there was a bilateral summit in 1992 as a matter of historical fact and there was a mutual cognizance of “seeking common ground while shelving differences.”
Second, the ROC constitutional institution as it exists now.
Third, the results of 20 years of bilateral negotiations and exchanges.
Fourth, Taiwan’s democratic principle and democratic will.
Taiwan is a democratic society. The democratic will and democracy are the twin pillars of the government’s cross-strait policy.
If the government’s policy deviates from the democratic will and democracy, it would not be sustainable and might even lose the support of the people.
We insist on obeying the democratic will and the democratic principle and we insist on ensuring the freedom of Taiwanese in the right to choose their future. This is the most significant difference between the new administration and the Ma administration.
Translated by Jonathan Chin
BLUE WAVE: The KMT’s Chiang Wan-an defeated the DPP’s Chen Shih-chung and is to become Taipei mayor, while President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after many of the party’s candidates, handpicked by the leadership, performed poorly The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday flipped key mayoral seats in Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung, and won control of 13 out of 22 cities and counties in the nine-in-one local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last night resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson over a poor showing by the party’s candidates, who were handpicked by the DPP leadership rather than chosen through primaries. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won its first high-profile race with Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安) defeating Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) of the DPP with 45.02 percent of the vote to Shen’s 35.68 percent. Voters were choosing more than
CAUTION: Wearing a mask in crowded places and for people with chronic illnesses or allergies can help prevent COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, the CECC said The mask mandate for outdoor settings is to lifted on Thursday, and the weekly cap on international inbound travelers is to be removed on Dec. 10, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said at its regular news conference yesterday. The center also announced that starting from Friday, children aged five to 11 can receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster, and that rules for visiting hospital patients are to be partially eased from Dec. 10. While wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory outdoors, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝) reminded the public that it would still be required
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: China might impose a blockade, conduct limited force operations, use an air and missile campaign, or resort to an invasion, the report said The US Department of Defense has identified four possible military courses of action that China could take against Taiwan, but did not offer any guess on when Beijing might be ready to act. In an annual report to the US Congress released on Tuesday titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2022, the department gave a broad overview of China’s military capabilities, strategy, ambitions and intentions. The report devoted significant space to developments related to Taiwan, against which it said China had intensified diplomatic, economic, political and military pressure last year. For example, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)
ANALYSIS: The local elections showed that the KMT is a competitive player, but needs to work at changing its image regarding China, experts said The nine-in-one local election results would bolster the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but are unlikely to have a major effect on the 2024 presidential election, when cross-strait issues are back in focus, political commentators said. In Saturday’s elections, the KMT won 13 of the 21 cities and counties up for grabs, including four of the country’s six biggest metropolitan areas, where nearly 70 percent of the population lives. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost three of the seven cities and counties it held, although it gained Penghu County. Its poor results prompted President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to announce her resignation as party