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Mainland Affairs Council

President Ma's Remarks

President Ma meets delegation from New York-based Council on Foreign Relations (excerpt: cross-strait relations)


In remarks, the president noted that the CFR is a well-known US think tank. Ever since its founding in New York in 1921, CFR-issued research reports and publications have had a sterling reputation in the international community, and Taiwan and the CFR have maintained close ties for many years. As mayor of Taipei in 2006, said the president, he once met with Professor Jerome Cohen, a senior fellow at the CFR. When the professor asked about cross-strait relations, then-Mayor Ma responded that "for cross-strait ties to improve, the two sides would have to return to their consensus regarding the 1992 Consensus," because mainland China back then was focusing on "one China" while Taiwan was zeroed in on the "respective interpretations" aspect. The two sides just kept drawing further apart, to the point where there really was no longer any 1992 Consensus. That is why he urged at the time that the two halves of the formulation would have to be put back together again to express the true sense of the 1992 Consensus.
President Ma stated that in the seven-plus years since he took office in 2008, he has consistently sought, under the framework of the ROC Constitution, to maintain the status quo of "no unification, no independence, and no use of force" in the Taiwan Strait, and to promote the peaceful development of cross-strait ties under the 1992 Consensus, whereby each side acknowledges the existence of "one China" but maintains its own interpretation of what that means. As a result, he said, cross-strait relations are now better than at any other time since the two sides came under separate rule 67 years ago. Over the past seven years the two sides have signed 23 agreements, and the ministers in charge of cross-strait affairs from each side have met seven times, addressing each other using their official titles. "These events are unprecedented," he said.
The president further pointed out that sufficient cross-strait trust had been built up to enable a meeting on November 7 of last year between himself and mainland Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore. Treating each other as equals and with dignity, the two leaders had an understanding that neither person would mention a country name or use his official title, and that each would refer to the other as "Mister." They discussed practical issues that the people of Taiwan are concerned about, such as the mainland's military deployment against Taiwan, in hopes of establishing a lasting and stable framework for cross-strait relations. Over the past seven-plus years, remarked the president, the government's pursuit of improved cross-strait relations has brought not just peace, but also peace dividends. In its relations with both mainland China and the international community, Taiwan has escaped the vicious cycle seen in the past, where the former conflicted with the latter, and vice-versa. Instead, a virtuous cycle has been established, where these two aspects of Taiwan's foreign relations are mutually complementary. "Our goal is peace," he said, "because without peace there can be no prosperity."
President Ma stressed that improved cross-strait ties have brought an improvement in Taiwan-US relations. For the US, Taiwan, and mainland China, said the president, his time in office represents the first time that each of the three sides has been able to interact well with either of the other two without worrying about affecting the third party. "Three-way relations are relatively tension-free and normal." This situation has elicited positive comments from US officials. In February of 2015, for example, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel said: "One of the things that has made that relationship [between Taiwan and the United States] productive has been the progress in cross-straits relations." In an address delivered last May, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton emphasized that "the US-Taiwan 'unofficial relationship' has never been better. …And it must be said that an important ingredient of the close cooperation in recent years has been the stable management of cross-Strait ties." She also referred to Taiwan as a "vital partner" of the US in East Asia. Former US Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy deLeon praised the 1992 Consensus in an article published this past February, saying that it "allows leaders on both sides of the Strait to engage and resolve topical issues through practical dialogue," and that Taiwan's "approach of 'no surprises' has allowed both Beijing and Washington to engage separately with Taiwan." This and other such commentary amply demonstrate the positive impact of cross-strait ties upon Taiwan-US relations, said the president, who expressed hope that the incoming administration will maintain Taiwan's positive relations with mainland China and the US.
【Source: Office of the President】