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May 20, 2009

Ma: Let the next generation decide the future of cross-strait relations

At today's international press conference, Ma called for Taiwan's future to be decided by Taiwanese.

Ma stated, "The future of cross strait relations out to be decided on the Taiwan side by the Taiwanese people, and even by the next generation. I believe the present is not a good time to make any decision."

He also promised no unification in his maximum potential 8 years of office but added that the cross-strait relationship could be different 30 years from now.


I like the sound of these statements more than his claim yesterday that Taiwan's sovereignty belongs to all Chinese (blogged on earlier this morning), though you'll see that reading between the lines, here he's saying the future of cross-strait relations is a decision for Chinese on both sides of the strait -- probably an inescapable reality even if a repulsive thought.

Now I really wish I could find this more reassuring. Most importantly, Ma still won't say that Taiwanese can decide their future by referendum (though he hasn't ruled it out. And several statements from both him and his staff about the ECFA economic agreement not requiring a referendum "because it doesn't deal with sovereignty issues" seem to hint that sovereignty issues do require a referendum; hopefully he is subtly endorsing that referendum right, but I think he is probably trying to placate the center by parroting the core of the DPP stance while leaving out that pesky referendum bit which most people forget anyway).

I would like to be in the camp that says, "Chen Shui-bian tried A for 8 years, that didn't really get us anywhere with China, maybe Ma's plan B will work while leaving Taiwan stronger and still de facto independent." I hope that is true, but don't think so.

At the end of the day it really comes down to this: do you believe that Ma is an advocate for the Taiwanese right to self-determination, cloaking his plans with words that are music to the ears of the CCP? Or do you believe Ma seeks to play a part in unifying Taiwan with/annexing Taiwan to China, and masks his intent with lip-service to the Taiwanese right to self-determination? I think the later is more likely.

I suppose there is a third option. You could say, "Black cat or white cat, just make me rich." In which case you probably find questions of sovereignty boring anyway.

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