Former presidents also proposed peace pacts: Premier Wu

The China Post

By Joseph Yeh–Premier Wu Den-yih yesterday said the idea of signing a peace agreement with China was not new as similar frameworks were proposed by two previous presidents, Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian. Wu made the comments while he was under heavy fire from several opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators regarding the recent proposal when fielding questions in the Legislative Yuan yesterday. DPP’s Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) said previous history showed that signing any agreements with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) always ended in disasters for the Kuomintang (KMT). Yeh said she is worried that the proposed peace treaty could end in the same way for Taiwan. In response to the criticism, Wu said ex-President Lee, a spiritual leader for the pro-independence movement, also proposed that the two sides should sign a similar agreement to build a framework for cross-strait peace and stability as early as 1996. Former President Chen Shui-bian made a similar gesture in 2007 as well, he noted. But both former presidents all failed to sign the proposed deal as they failed to gain the trust needed from Taiwanese people to push through with such a pact, he noted. No Timetable for Peace Pact

The premier reiterated that there is no timetable for the agreement to be signed between Taiwan and China.

Beijing has to stop squeezing the country’s international space and show more “goodwill” to win the trust of Taiwanese, he added. Further mutual trust and good will from both sides and a high level of support domestically are other important indicators in determining whether the time was right for a peace accord, he said.

Wu went on to say that the CCP did outwit the KMT in the 1940s when the Republic of China government was still based on the Chinese mainland.

However, the KMT has built Taiwan into a democratic nation ruled by law and with equal shares of wealth among society, which demonstrates a much better governance ability than the CCP’s history of rule in the mainland, Wu noted. Wu also said there is no timetable for initiating a referendum on the possible peace pact.

It is “impossible” to initiate such a referendum to be held in conjunction with the Jan. 14, 2012 presidential election, when asked about it by ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lai Shih-bao at a legislative session.

Meanwhile, ex-President Chen, currently behind bars, was quoted yesterday by his son of accusing the peace deal as a way to surrender Taiwan to the Chinese government. Chen further called the KMT “half-hearted” in pushing for a referendum on the deal.

The ruling administration should first amend the Referendum Act (公民投票法) which is criticized as a “bird cage” law with “excessively high thresholds” for putting a referendum proposal on the ballot, Chen said.