Taiwan pursues ‘mutual non-denial’ with China
CNATAIPEI, Taiwan -- Pursuing “mutual non-denial” between Taiwan and China remains a goal of President Ma Ying jeou’s administration, given that “mutual recognition” is unattainable, Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi said yesterday.
September 5, 2008, 12:00 am TWN
Wang was elaborating on a statement made by Ma during a recent interview with the leading Mexican daily Sol de Mexico, in which the president defined ties between Taiwan and China as a type of “special relations” and ruled out the possibility that they could be links “between two states.”
According to Ma, there cannot be “two Chinas” across the Taiwan Strait, because neither the Republic of China nor the People’s Republic of China allows, in either constitution, for the existence of another country on its territory.
He was referring to the fact that the territory of the ROC, as defined in the country’s Constitution, covers not only Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu where its jurisdiction reaches, but also the Chinese mainland, overlapping with the territorial area claimed by the PRC.
Under these circumstances, the ROC cannot recognize the PRC, and neither can the PRC recognize the ROC, Wang explained.
“Although the two sides have no way to achieve mutual recognition, they can at the very least attain mutual non-denial, “ Wang said.
Wang said the president’s statement is consistent with the ROC Constitution’s Additional Article 11, which refers to Taiwan and China as “the free area” and “the Chinese mainland area,” respectively.
Ma’s remarks are also consistent with the law governing cross-Taiwan Strait relations, which refers to the two sides as “the Taiwan Area” and “the mainland area.”
Wang stressed that it is an unquestionable fact that the ROC is an independent sovereign state. He argued that the references, which place Taiwan and the mainland on an equal footing, will help improve relations between the two sides.
According to Wang, to make way for progress in cross-strait relations, Taiwan and the mainland must put aside issues that are highly disputable and prioritize issues where there are consensus.
Such an approach has been proven successful by the launch of weekend cross-strait charter flights, the admission of Chinese tourists to Taiwan and the expansion of “mini three links” that ease travel between the two sides in July, he said.
Meanwhile, Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan noted that the policy of the new government is to seek to establish peaceful cross strait relations by following the principles of “no unification, no independence and no use of force.”
Lai agreed that putting aside differences surrounding the sovereignty issue and dealing only with economic and technical matters will facilitate progress in cross-strait relations, creating an environment favorable to Taiwan’s national development.
Ma’s statement,however,drew strong protest from the pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party,which believes the president has downgraded Taiwan’s status as a sovereign state.
According to DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong, Ma’s definition of cross strait relations will make Taiwan a “region” similar to Tibet and Xinjiang, which cannot forge diplomatic ties with other countries or gain membership in the United Nations.
“I wonder whether we should address President Ma as ‘Mr. Region’ or ‘Region Governor,’” Chai ridiculed.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang said Ma will be making a serious mistake if he thinks China will “grant Taiwan some small favors” only if Taiwan relinquishes its sovereignty.
“China has never shown any mercy in downgrading and suppressing Taiwan. President Ma’s statement is making Taiwanese extremely angry,” Tsai said.