Taiwan president Ma warns successor about relations with China authorities

Taiwan president Ma warns successor about relations with China authorities
Ma Ying-jeou

TAIPEI - President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday warned that the cross-strait relationship will destabilize unless Taiwan's next president upholds five principles including the "1992 Consensus."

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, a prohibitive favourite to win the presidential race in 2016, has said that she would maintain the status quo if elected.

In his final National Day speech at the Presidential Office, Ma defined the status quo as cross-strait political stability and economic co-operation, which together have allowed Taiwan to improve its relationship with the international community.

"But the current status quo didn't just drop out of the sky. It can't be taken for granted," said the president, who steps down next May due to term limits.

"To preserve that status quo, we have to uphold certain principles. If we stray from those principles, the status quo will change."

Winning Formula?

In the speech, Ma advocated for five principles that he said have enabled Taiwan to reach its current status quo.

The five are forming policies based on the "Three Nos"; the "1992 Consensus"; a Taiwan-first approach; a priority on economic issues over political ones; and an insistence that interactions with mainland China are based on equality, dignity and reciprocity.

The "Three Nos" is a pledge that the Taiwan president will not declare unification with China, will not declare independence from China and will not use force to resolve differences across the strait.

Backed by nearly 80 per cent of the Taiwanese public, the "Three Nos" have now become the "Taiwan Consensus," Ma said.

'1992 Consensus'

The president said that among the five principles, the "1992 Consensus" was most important to the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.

The "1992 Consensus" - which the DPP does not accept but Beijing has insisted upon as a precondition for talks - holds that there is only one China and that both sides of the Taiwan Strait are free to interpret what that means.

"It was Taiwan that proposed the '1992 Consensus,' which was accepted by mainland China," Ma said.

"The 23 years since the '1992 Consensus' was formulated have shown that if we abide by that consensus, cross-strait relations flourish."

He said that any pledge to maintain the status quo is only an "empty slogan" without the "1992 Consensus."

Earlier this year, Tsai announced that she favoured maintaining the status quo, after China's Taiwan Affairs Office demanded that she clarify her position on cross-strait relations.

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