TAIPEI–President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that cross-strait peace is an issue that must be faced and that the signing of a cross-strait peace accord would not represent negotiating unification with the mainland. Ma was responding to criticism of his statement on Monday that cautious consideration would be given to signing a cross-strait peace accord with China as long as it had strong public support, met the genuine needs of the nation and was monitored by the legislative branch. The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Monday characterized Ma’s vision of a cross-strait peace pact as a step toward unification, but the president rejected the link. Addressing public concerns, Ma said he wanted to explain that “this is not to negotiate unification with the mainland.” He reiterated that as part of his advocacy of the “three nos” —no independence, no unification and no use of force” — the “no unification” pledge meant not to talk about the issue with the mainland. “But we will be unable to ignore the peace issue and have to address it squarely,” the president said while meeting with a seven-member delegation in Taiwan to attend the Republic of China (Taiwan)-U.S.-Japan Trilateral Conference Security Dialogue that opened yesterday.
Ma had said on previous occasions that the government’s goal is to continue the peaceful atmosphere that has been created over the past three years. “This will require us to consider whether to institutionalize the process through the means of a peace accord,” the president said. Ma said the main legal and theoretical frameworks guiding cross-strait relations over the past three years have been the “three nos” principle and the cross-strait status quo under the Republic of China Constitution. Taiwan has also promoted peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait under a “1992 Consensus,” which the Ma administration sees as an agreement that there is only “one China,” with each side able to have different interpretations of what that means. On Monday, Ma said the proposed accord should meet the nation’s needs, meaning that Taiwan would be the focus, that it would be beneficial to the people, that there would be full cross-strait mutual trust, and that “our deeds will live up to the expectations of the region and the international community.”