TAIPEI — President Ma Ying-jeou said Saturday that peace is the foundation for Taiwan’s democratic system and stressed the importance of peace across the Taiwan Strait and in its democracy.
Peace is the foundation of the democratic system in today’s Taiwan, Ma said at a celebration of World Freedom Day, held by the World League for Freedom and Democracy.
Ma said that “if there’s no cross-strait peace, that will pose a threat to the development of freedom and democracy.”
Before the late 80s, Taiwan imposed martial law and experienced the “White Terror,” a period of suppression of political dissidents, which Ma described as the result of war between the Kuomintang and Chinese Communist forces.
Thus, cross-strait rapprochement and cooperation have been a top priority for his administration since he took office in May 2008, Ma said, adding that such an approach is helpful in the development of democracy and freedom.
Ma further noted that since he took office he has been making efforts to promote cross-strait peace based on the “1992 Consensus” and the principles of “no unification, no independence and no use of force.”
The “1992 Consensus” refers to the basic concept that both Taiwan and the mainland agree that there is only one China, with each side free to interpret what that means.
Since 2008, both sides of the strait have signed 23 agreements covering a wide range of issues, he said. Cross-strait relations are also at their best in 67 years, turning the Taiwan Strait from a flashpoint to “an avenue of peace,” he continued.
The mutual trust accumulated over the past few years has also led to the historic meeting between Ma and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in November in Singapore, which Ma said was symbolic and helped build the framework for sustainable cross-strait ties.
Ma expressed hope that such meetings between top leaders from Taiwan and China will be continued in the future, serving as an intangible bridge of peace across the strait.
He added that the improvement in cross-strait ties has also expanded Taiwan’s international space. As Taiwan acts as a peacemaker in the world, it can enjoy more respect and dignity, said Ma.