Ma again calls on Tsai to explain cross-strait status quo
President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday again called on opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate and chairwoman Tsai Ing- wen to explain what she means by maintaining the status quo in crossstrait relations, stressing that Tsai’s failure to do so could make Taiwan a troublemaker in the international community again.
During his address at an international conference in Taipei, Ma said over the past seven years, his administration, adopting the “viable diplomacy policy,” has successfully forged a virtuous cycle in both foreign relations and crossstrait relations.
Prior to 2008, during the previous DPP administration, however, Taiwan’s relationship with mainland China was marked by tension and confrontation, with both sides competing for diplomatic allies, which also tarnished Taiwan’s international image, making Taiwan a “troublemaker,” Ma said.
The viable diplomacy allows Taiwan to promote cross-strait reconciliation based on the “1992 Consensus,” that is, “one China, respective interpretations,” and expand the R.O.C.’s international space.
Under this approach, Ma said the R.O.C.’s international image has gone from “troublemaker” to “peacemaker” over the past years.
However, the president noted that recently, the chairperson of Taiwan’s largest opposition party, namely the DPP’s Tsai, has stated that if she is elected president, she will “maintain the status quo.”
But Ma claimed that no one knows what the “status quo” Tsai talks about is.
“Is it the status quo of peace and stability that we’ve experienced for the past seven years, or is she talking about the status quo that preceded my administration, in which there was no cross-strait foundation of mutual trust, and the “status quo” consisted of a Taiwan that was perceived by the international community as a ‘troublemaker?’
“I certainly hope the status quo is the former rather than the latter,” he said.
The president made the comments during his opening address during the Taiwan-U.S.-Japan Trilateral Security Dialogue in Taipei.
Ma has been repeatedly pressing Tsai on the issue over the past months, asking her to make clear whether she will uphold the “1992 Consensus” to maintain the crossstrait status quo if she wins the election next year since the DPP does not accept the “1992 Consensus.”
Meanwhile, Ma yesterday praised better-than-ever Taiwan-U.S. and Taiwan-Japan relations during his past seven years in office, saying that the R.O.C. government will continue to promote closer three-way relations in years to come.
The R.O.C.-U.S.-Japan Trilateral Security Dialogue featured lawmakers and academics from the three countries. The one-day event was jointly organized by Taiwan’s Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, the U.S.-based think tank the Heritage Foundation and Japan’s Institute of International Affairs.
James Steinberg, a former U.S. deputy secretary of state, was also invited to give a keynote address during yesterday’s dialogue.
He is currently dean and professor of social science, international affairs and law at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.