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May 22, 2008

On Ma's inaugural speech

Here's Ma's speech in English and Chinese parallel versions at Toastmasters. I largely agree with all the analysis denouncing this sentence: "In resolving cross-strait issues, what matters is not sovereignty but core values and way of life." (英九堅信,兩岸問題最終解決的關鍵不在主權爭議,而在生活方式與核心價值。)

But keep in mind, for Ma, the dispute over sovereignty is the dispute over sovereignty for all of China between the ROC and PRC governments, not a dispute over who is sovereign over Taiwan. For him, Taiwan sovereignty is simply a false issue. And the rest of that paragraph makes this even more clear, as he goes on to call the Chinese people "Mainland compatriots," an odd echo of ancient ROC and modern PRC terminology.

So on one hand, this is a massive shift in tone from the campaign trail, but not so much in substance. He just knows China will never ascent to a sovereign ROC, since it would mean denying their own legitimacy. And he'd never ask for mutual recognition, as that would contradict his own sovereign ROC vision.

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