President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that the controversial deportation of several Taiwanese nationals from Kenya to China earlier this month has no bearing on sovereignty, but is a problem stemming from division of labor.
In an interview with the Singaporean newspaper the Straits Time at his office in Taipei on Tuesday, Ma said his administration was not happy with Beijing’s opaque handling of the case and its failure to consult with Taipei prior to the deportation from Kenya to China of 45 Taiwanese accused of telecom fraud on April 8 and April 12.
“However, technically, this incident is not a matter of sovereignty, but rather a matter of division of labor,” Ma said, adding that, in his opinion, Taiwan and China share concurrent jurisdiction over the case.
Ma said that under the 2009 Cross-Strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement (海峽兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議), when facing cases such as the Kenyan incident, both Taipei and Beijing are required to negotiate with each other first before deciding which side should take over the case or if both sides should deal with it jointly.
If China did regard such cases as a matter of sovereignty, it would not have bothered to sign the agreement or negotiate with us, Ma said.
“Beijing can simply take all cases into its own hands,” he added.
Ma said such incidents should be handled with wisdom and patience, urging “certain Taiwanese” to refrain from treating the Kenyan incident as an issue of sovereignty and thus making wrong judgements.
Nevertheless, he said the chance was slim for the government to secure the return of the deported Taiwanese before May 20.
Ma also shrugged off speculation that the forced deportation of Taiwanese nationals was part of an attempt by Beijing to flex its muscles before president-elect Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inauguration next month.
“Many people seem to think so, but it is not the only reason. The primary reason may be that China has been displeased by the sentences our courts mete out in similar [fraud] cases... because it thinks they are lighter than those given in China,” Ma said.
Ma proposed that the government explore ways to increase the penalties for fraudsters, which he said could help establish a clear set of principles for both sides to follow in dealing with similar cases in the future.
As to the government’s difficulty in securing an invitation to this year’s World Health Assembly meeting — allegedly due to Chinese pressure — Ma said the reason Taiwan has been invited to attend the meeting every year as an observer since 2009, after 38 years of exclusion, was because of his adherence to the so-called “1992 consensus.”
Ma said as the “consensus” originated from the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution, “no president who is willing to abide by the ROC Constitution would find it difficult to accept the ‘1992 consensus.’”
“The ‘1992 consensus’ is part of the cross-strait status quo. There is no way the status quo can be maintained without the consensus,” Ma added.
The “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government that both sides of the Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
Asked how the KMT should reform itself amid growing Taiwanese identification, Ma said the inevitable trend should not conflict with cross-strait rapprochement and cooperation, given that independence is an unnecessary road that would only result in a dead-end.
“We can now choose our own president, elect our own parliament and govern our own affairs. How much more independence do you want? It is utterly unnecessary [to declare independence,]” Ma said.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.