Ma throws ‘status quo’ back in Tsai’s direction
President still does not know what the people want: Tsai
In a speech given at the Mainland Affairs Council yesterday, President Ma Ying- jeou reaffirmed the “1992 Consensus” ( ) as the pivotal i nstrument in maintaining stable ties with China while posing questions to Democratic Progressive Party ( DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing- wen ( ) with regard to her proposed stance on cross- strait relations.
Ma’s speech, commemorating the 22nd anniversary of t he watershed “Koo- Wang talks” between officials from Taipei and Beijing in Singapore in 1993, was scrutinized by political observers due to its proximate timing to a planned summit between Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu ( ) and China’s leader Xi Jinping ( ) in Beijing on May 4. The president emphasized the need to “cherish” the benefits from increased crossstrait contact, while avoiding “deviations” from the “1992 Consensus.” Ma pointed to the presidencies of Lee Teng- hui ( ) and Chen Shui- bian (
) as moments of heightened tensions with China due to policies that went contrary to the “1992 Consensus.” He cited policies such as Lee’s “special state- to- state relations” (
) and Chen’s “one country on each side” ( ) as examples.
While reaffirming the “1992 Consensus,” a tacit agreement between officials on both sides of the Taiwan Strait that there is “one China” though differing interpretations of it, Ma directed two questions at Tsai, who recently affirmed that she sought to maintain “the status quo” in relations between China.
Ma asked: “What is the ‘status quo’ in cross-strait relations to be maintained?” and “How would this status quo be maintained?” He also implied that Tsai’s policy formulations lacked content and a domestic and international consensus.
The president concluded by setting out three areas in which he would actively seek to make progress on before the end of his term in 2016. They included completing the cross-strait trade agreement on goods, participation in the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), and membership in the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank).
Tsai Hits Back
Tsai responded later in the afternoon, stating that the president was not aware of the real concerns of the people. She said issues of concern included rising social inequality and the uneven development between Taiwan’s northern and southern regions. She also accused the administration of conducting cross-strait relations as a “black box operation.”
She added that “actually, the president has it tough since he must stand in to ask the questions a candidate for president should be asking, until the KMT presents a presidential candidate.”
Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen ( ) in turn refuted Tsai, saying that the “special state-to-state relations” proposed by former President Lee was itself the greatest black box operation in cross-strait history and that Tsai had a large hand in it.
Agrees with Chu on Deepening
Fielding questions from the press after his speech, Ma said that he was in agreement with KMT Chairman Chu on the further “deepening and consolidation” of cross- strait relations under the “1992 Consensus.”
With regard to Chu’s using of the “Consensus” as a means of facilitating Taiwan’s participation in regional economic agreements, Ma said he was “in absolute agreement” with the party chairman.