No peace unless China removes missiles: Ma
The China Post news staff and CNATAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday said removing or dismantling Chinese missiles that target Taiwan is requisite for a cross-Taiwan Strait peace accord to take place.
April 7, 2010, 9:44 am TWN
Ma reaffirmed his policy of maintaining the status quo across the strait, saying the conditions are not yet ripe for unification during a video conference with Harvard University faculty and students in Massachusetts.
According to Ma, Taiwan is aware of China's ambition to annex the country, but it will try to temper cross-strait tensions.
“We also demand that the mainland should remove or actually dismantle all the missiles that are targeted against Taiwan, otherwise we won't be interested in making further steps to negotiate a peace agreement with them,” the president was quoted as saying in Taipei City.
He said Taiwan seeks a peaceful resolution with China, and hopes to strengthen economic and cultural exchanges to lower the risk of military conflict.
“I have always considered mainland China both a risk and an opportunity. My policy is to maximize the opportunity, and minimize the risk. And this is exactly what I have been doing,” he continued.
Ma added that the past 60 years have provided a rare opportunity for the two sides to engage in a political, economic and social experiment, resulting in “a very clear contrast” in terms of their respective development.
“We understand the time for unification at this stage is not ripe yet. The majority, the mainstream opinion in Taiwan, believes the status quo should be maintained,” Ma said.
The president said his administration has been working to build up Taiwan's “soft power.”
The policy of flexible diplomacy and the pursuit of a diplomatic truce with China has also helped end the vicious cycle of diplomatic warfare between the two sides, according to Ma.
During the conference, Ma was quizzed about his dipping popularity and he said he believes he can bolster his level of support by pushing through reforms.
Ma said his administration had made great efforts in economic, diplomatic and social welfare arenas, and suggested that his approval ratings may have suffered because the initiatives could have adversely affected some people's interests.
He needs to concentrate all of his energy on the job, regardless of how he is faring in opinion polls or whether he will be re-elected or not, Ma added.
Ma said he believes his popularity will rebound if he meets people's expectations by reviving the economy, carrying out reforms and exhibiting strong leadership.
Asked about the controversy of scrapping death penalty in Taiwan, Ma said he will sort through the different views of capital punishment through public discussion.
Before capital punishment is abolished, however, the government must still fulfill its duty to carry out the court's sentence, the president said.
The 90-minute web conference attracted a good crowd at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University.
Before a history professor at Harvard gave an introduction to the teleconference, a pre-taped welcoming address by Harvard President Drew Faust was played.