Ex-president Ma envisions peaceful, democratic unification with China

2018/12/05 18:33:06 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九)

Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九)

Taipei, Dec. 5 (CNA) Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said Wednesday that any unification between Taiwan and China must be peaceful and democratic, and that his recent "three noes" proposal is in line with the terms of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Constitution.

"If Taiwan and China are to be united, it must be through a peaceful and democratic process and on a gradual basis," Ma said at a seminar hosted by Soochow University, warning that "haste makes waste."

Asked why he made the "three noes" proposal -- which marked a departure from his previous "no unification, no independence and no use of force" stance regarding cross-Taiwan Strait ties when he served as president between 2008 and 2016 -- Ma said the proposal was raised because of the changing relationship between the two sides.

Ma said he put forth the "three noes" proposal -- no ruling out the possibility of unification with China, no support for Taiwan independence and no use of force -- to allow Taiwan's people to "gain a deeper understanding of these issues and have a decisive say in our own future."

According to the former president, "no ruling out the possibility of Taiwan's unification with China" means that it could or could not happen and is a goal without a set timetable that is outlined in the Constitution, pending a host of conditions and timing.

"If unification does not take place via peaceful and democratic means, Taiwan's people will not accept it," he stressed.

Ma came out with his "three noes" proposal at a Nov. 9 seminar marking the three-year anniversary of his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore in 2015.

The question of whether it would be good for Taiwan to unite with China is open for discussion, he went on, adding that it would be best for Taiwan society to make a decision on the matter once it has forged a consensus following full and mature discussions.

Ma also suggested that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should revert to the "1992 consensus" to address the current stalemate in cross-strait ties, given that it has served as the political basis for the two sides to conduct engagements.

The so-called consensus reached by China and the administration led by the then-ruling Kuomintang (KMT) in 1992 was a tacit understanding that there is only "one China," with each side free to interpret what that means.

Tsai of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party has refused to recognize the existence of the consensus since coming to power in 2016, bringing cross-strait ties to a low ebb and prompting China to put the squeeze on Taiwan internationally.

(By Lee Shu-hua and Flor Wang)
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