Cross-strait relations are “special state-to-state relations” akin to the relations between West and East Germany, former grand justice Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) yesterday told lawmakers during a review of his nomination to be head of the Judicial Yuan.
Hsu’s comment was in response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang’s (王育敏) question on whether his opinions on cross-strait relations were similar to those of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), citing Hsu’s 1996 article, “How Laws Influenced the Changes in Cross-Strait Relations and the Latest Developments” (兩岸關係法律定為百年來的演變與最新發展) in the The Taiwan Law Review (月旦法學雜誌).
Lee’s “special state-to-state” model of cross-strait relations, announced on July 8, 1999, was aimed at countering China’s description of Taiwan as a “renegade province.”
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
“Taiwan is a distinct sovereign independent nation separate from the People’s Republic of China [PRC] in Mainland China; its name is the Republic of China [ROC],” Hsu wrote in his article, adding: “The ROC is factually and legally independent from all other nations in the world, including the PRC.”
Hsu said he has always claimed “special state-to-state relations” and never used the phrase “two-state theory.”
When asked how his opinion differed from former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “one China, with different interpretations” framework, Hsu said that Ma’s cross-strait model claimed sovereignty over China and outer Mongolia, or the Republic of Mongolia, but that his model did not.
Ma’s preferred model is also known as the so-called “1992 consensus,” a phrase that former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted to making up in 2000, which refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and Beijing that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
“Member of the Legislative Yuan, as well as the president, are elected by the 23 million people in Taiwan since 1991. We do not represent China. Therefore I think our sovereignty does not include mainland China,” Hsu said.
As for the distinction between the “Taiwan Area” and “Mainland Area” as stipulated in the Constitution, Hsu said that this was a political statement written into the Constitution and is not legally binding at the local government level, adding that were it legally binding, it would mean that Taiwanese would have to elect an “area administrator.”
New Power Party (NPP) Executive Director Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) asked Hsu about President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) executive initiatives.
Huang asked if Tsai’s High-Level Policy Coordination Meeting initiative — a body composed of the premier, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary-general, key members of the DPP caucus and think tanks — crosses a “red line” regarding constitutional limits on presidential powers.
“I believe it must operate under the constitutional framework and I agree that regulations will cause many difficulties for Tsai. I hope the legislature considers constitutional amendments,” Hsu said.
Huang expressed the concern that the High-Level Policy Coordination Meeting sessions might lead to “controversial constitutional disputes” and asked Hsu if he thought the sessions should proceed as planned.
“I believe it warrants further consideration,” Hsu said.
Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) later issued a statement saying that “Hsu was responding to the issue of how the president’s constitutional role and powers should correspond with political responsibility and the spirit of democratic politics, and he believes that certain constitutional requirements require further review and consideration.”
The spokesman dismissed claims that the High-Level Policy Coordination Meeting was an unconstitutional expansion of presidential powers, saying that the sessions would enhance the Cabinet’s policymaking and “should cause no concern with regard to the constitutional boundaries of the president.”
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