President Ma undermined the sovereignty of Taiwan, also misrepresenting the aspirations of the Taiwanese people, when he stated that Taiwan is a part of the Chinese family. The occasion was his meeting with Chinese President Xi on Saturday November 7 in Singapore. Taiwanese do not want to be a part of the Chinese family. They want to choose their own future freely, which we in Taiwan Corner support. Moreover, the Taiwanese want Taiwan to be a normal country. President Ma’s statement risks isolating Taiwan further by making the world believe that Taiwan and China form a single family, and their disagreement a domestic squabble. President Ma’s statement works against the wishes and beliefs on the Taiwanese mainstream.
President Ma undermined the sovereignty of Taiwan, also misrepresenting the aspirations of the Taiwanese people, when he stated that Taiwan is a part of the Chinese family. The occasion was his meeting with Chinese President Xi on Saturday November 7 in Singapore. Taiwanese do not want to be a part of the Chinese family. They want to choose their own future freely, which we in Taiwan Corner support. Moreover, the Taiwanese want Taiwan to be a normal country.
President Ma’s statement risks isolating Taiwan further by making the world believe that Taiwan and China form a single family, and their disagreement a domestic squabble. President Ma’s statement works against the wishes and beliefs on the Taiwanese mainstream.
What did President Ma actually say? Over the past 7 years, trade negotiations between Taiwan and China have from the Taiwanese side been based on the concept of “One China”, but insisting on different interpretations of what this “One China” is. In Singapore, President Ma gave up his claim to “different interpretations”. Consequently, a dangerous view has been allowed to take root that negotiations can be based on a common view of there being “One China”. And according to President Ma, Taiwan is a mere part of this China.
Impact on the January Election – opposition parties will win in January
Since the Sunflower movement, Taiwanese society has taken an increasingly critical view of political developments and, consequently, the KMT suffered a humiliating defeat in the local elections in November last year. Recently, the KMT switched their presidential candidate Hung for the current one Chu, primarily because Hung was immensely unpopular due to her pro-China view, which closely resemble those of President Ma. The new presidential candidate Chu has not yet improved KMT’s standing in the polls significantly.
The meeting in Singapore will make even more likely that the opposition parties in Taiwan will achieve a majority in parliament after January and KMT will have to distance itself even more from the president. The presidential election, and thus the future government, continues to be safely in the hands of DPP and DPP’s female presidential candidate, Tsai Ing-wen.
Reactions in Taiwan – DPP and the New Power Party
On Facebook, DPP’s presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen wrote that our “democracy, freedom, and right to determine our future were nowhere to be found in [President Ma’s] words. He has attempted to limit Taiwan’s future options within a certain political framework – all for the advancement of his own political legacy”. Later Tsai Ing-wen stated that only “Taiwanese can determine the nation’s future and future cross-strait relations through the Jan. 16 elections”.
The New Power Party (NPP), a new political force, which is likely to go into parliament after the elections, states that President Ma “has no right to accept the ‘One China’ framework”. The NPP believes that establishing normal relations with the People’s Republic of China is the correct direction for a peaceful development of relations between both sides of the Taiwan Strait. “However, as far as this false meeting between Ma and Xi is concerned, the main problem arises from the fact that there has been no effective control over it by the Parliament and that it came about by a Ma Ying-jeou who didn’t care about the will of the people and who is only concerned with himself. We are determined to decisively change the structure of the Parliament and to establish a sound and democratic monitoring mechanism for contacts between both sides of the Taiwan Strait”, states the New Power Party (NPP).
One Taiwan – One China
Social movements in Taiwan are starting to give new life to the old statement “One Taiwan – One China”, which could even be called a new Taiwanese consensus. This consensus “One Taiwan – One China” is in harmony with the wishes of the Taiwanese: 79.7% support independence given a free choice, according to Emerson Niou from Duke University. In addition, more than 60% identify themselves as Taiwanese and only 3,5% consider themselves Chinese according surveys from National Chengchi University (NCCU) in Taiwan. Far from declining, these figures have increased during the latest period of the KMT government.
The Singapore meeting was extremely well covered in the media. In terms of quality in the Danish and German press, it was clear that those journalists with experience in Taiwan or those who interviewed real experts on Taiwan did well in getting the main points out. This was in contrast to those media relying on China experts or international news. The Danish public national radio and TV station, DR, relied on China experts who framed the meeting as on which would “get Taiwan out of isolation” and would send strong signals to the detriment of the DPP, showing that a DPP government would bring trade relations to a standstill. As we can see now, the result was very different.
Some good coverage from Germany can be found here…
Of course, we cannot end a newsletter without a new recipe. In this newsletter, the dish is Black pepper sauce chicken. I have personally tasted it and it is fully approved. Try it.
Chairman of Taiwan Corner