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

Cross-strait Ties

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.

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