Hardtalk interview with Ma (part II)

Part II (7'10" ~ 15'30")
Anti-session Law and Lien-Soong Visit

Updated on 2006.02.26 19:40pm.
Thanks to ajen from socialforce forum and his friend Mr. Bob Mouncer for proofreading the transcript.

Host: In the spring of 2005, China passed an Anti-Secession Law, which clear commits China to using, and I quote, "non-peaceful means"...[Ma: That's right.] in any response to a Taiwanese declaration of independence. Now, do you regard China's passing of that Anti-Secession Law as a fundamental break with the status quo that has existed for decades across the straits of Taiwan?

Ma: I was the first one among Taiwan's political figures to come out to oppose that. Actually I start opposing that as early as December of 2004. I said, this move is entirely unnecessary and unwise. It will definitely provoke strong reactions in Taiwan. That is why, when it was passed on 14th March 2005, I, together with another 12 local government leaders, called a press conference and oppose that openly. I think they have misunderstood Taiwan's public opinion. Actually not the majority of Taiwanese people support a de jure independence. The majority supports maintaining the status quo.

Host: Yes, but let me stop you there, if I may, just for a moment. Can I take it from what you have just said, and your strong opposition to what Beijing did, that you therefore support President Chen, when he says, that Beijing has broken the status quo, and we in Taiwan, must therefore take certain political measures.

Ma: Well, I think the status quo, I think maybe different sides have different expectations, or what constitutes status quo ...

Host: Well for examples,,, Let's take two examples. The Unification Council and the Unification Guidelines, they have been in play in Taiwan for somewhat, 15 years. And they basically acknowledge that in the end, Taiwan, as a long-term goal, seeks reunification with a China, a different sort of China, but with China.

Ma: Yeah.

Host: Now President Chen wants to get rid of, dissolve, the Unification Council and the Unification Guidelines, do you?

Ma: Uh, actually, when he was inaugurated in 2001, he said that he will not do that because he believes this is what constitutes the status quo.

Host: Yes. The point is China has broken the status quo.

?Ma: Well, but uh, he did say that again in 2004. And that pledge was not only made to the people of Taiwan, but to the rest of the world as well.

Host: But precisely comes back to my point, which you agreed with, that the anti- Secession law passed by Beijing has changed everything?

Ma: Oh actually, I don't think that is anything new. Because the PRC has always said that it wants to use force against Taiwan, if Taiwan goes independent. They only put that into a form of law. This is what we oppose because, I don't think the PRC is that law-abiding to a point where they need a piece of law to give them the authorization to use force against Taiwan.

Host: I am confused now. So the Anti-Secession Law isn't that important?

Ma: No. I think the Anti-Secession Law is something they want to use as a criteria for using force against Taiwan. But we don't think that idea of using force against Taiwan is a reasonable one. That is why we oppose that because it's not a bilateral measure; it's a unilateral measure.

Host: You're saying you oppose President Chen's desire to end the Unification Council, end the Unification Guidelines? Doesn't it ... ?

Ma: Both moves, both moves, give people room to interpret the breaking of the status quo. That is why we oppose both.

Host: I'm a little bit, I'm a little bit uncomfortable because your position basically is Beijing's position.

Ma: No. We oppose the Anti-Secession Law, as I said very clear and I will ....

Host: ??? … the Anti-Secession Law isn't a big deal because it simply formalizes what we already knew with Beijing's position. What you really don't like is President Chen's reaction.

Ma: That is why I said it's unnecessary and unwise to do that. That when the status quo has been in place for such a long time, there is no need for Beijing to do that. Again, the Mainland Affairs Council, the mainland affairs uh, the Guidelines have been there for 15 years. There is no point to change that. So that's why both sides have changed the status quo to some extent. That is why we are opposed to that.

Host: Bottom line is, you oppose President Chen's position..

Ma: I oppose the use force against Taiwan also...

Host: ... which does put you, on this particular issue, on the side of China.

Ma: No.

Host: Why, why, why... if I may continue, why, (Ma interrupts: you ??? intrude my position) why did your two senior members, Lien Chan and James Soong, why did they go to Beijing, have all those talks with top officials in Bejing?

Ma: Well, it's very important, for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, to pursue peace, and not hostilities. But the current course of events in Taiwan worries many people, it's a stagnation. The people, particularly our business people, are not supposed to travel to the mainland directly from Taiwan. They have to go through Hong Kong. A normal trip takes only 1 hour and 20 minutes, now it's 6 or even 7 hours. It's not in the interest of Taiwan to do that way.

Host: But, but, why, but (Ma interrupts: We want…) ??? my head, we've got 780 missiles pointing directly at Taiwan, we've got military war games on the Chinese side of the straits which clearly are simulating attack on Taiwan, we've got what you call a very grave military threat, we've got the Anti-Secession Law, and after all of this, your senior party officials are going to glad hand Chinese leaders in Beijing?

Ma: Let me just tell you the, uh, how this move was received in Taiwan. 58% of the people welcome that move. When, uh, president Lien Chan was in China. And actually ...

Host: I, I, I, (Ma interrupts: you ask me.why.) ..??? cause your Taiwan Daily called (Ma interrupts: You're asking why and I am telling you what people react)

Ma: What people's reactions are... Actually the reputation, the approval rate of Mr. Lien Chan and of Kuomintang went up as a result. That shows, people are opposed to any move that will break the peace across the Taiwan Strait. But they support any move to pursue peace across the Taiwan Strait. That's a very clear mandate, very clear message.

Host: Hmm. The Taiwan Daily called the visit detestable and shameful, the Taipei Times wrote this in an editorial, "Today the nation's sovereignty," that is Taiwan's sovereignty, "is in the hands of the people. We have the right to decide Taiwan's future. If, under such circumstances, we allow Lien Chan to unite with the communists to sell out Taiwan, our descendants will laugh at our ignorance and naivety".

Ma: I don't think Mr. Lien is selling out Taiwan. He is only the opposition leader, he doesn't have that power. Only the people in power could sell out Taiwan. So I think they actually, uh, mistook Lien Chan for somebody in power.

Host: Well, let me ask you this...

Ma: All Lien Chan could do is to reach a verbal consensus with the mainland on things that we might be able to do when we come back to power. Well, to resume the talks, to sign a peace treaty, which include military mutual trust mechanism; and to reach an agreement on the establishment of a common market. In other words, we hope to use these mechanisms to bring peace to the Taiwan Strait, instead of an arms race or a confrontation, as the Chen administration has done.

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nosta said...

Hah, a great series of posts Claire. Ma first condemns (says he was the FIRST to condemn) but then defends the Lien-Soong visits to China, and winds up sounding like a schizophrenic without his medication! Man, I wish I'd seen this interview...

id_anomaly said...

you can download the video here