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Taiwan presidential election a choice between war, peace: Ex-President Ma

10/19/2023 08:57 PM
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Former President Ma Ying-jeou (right, in blue tie) listens to an attendee of an NCUSCR event in New York on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Ma's office Oct. 19, 2023
Former President Ma Ying-jeou (right, in blue tie) listens to an attendee of an NCUSCR event in New York on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Ma's office Oct. 19, 2023

Taipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said in New York on Wednesday that the Taiwan Strait is critical to global peace, and Taiwan's presidential election next year is a choice between war and peace.

During his remarks at the non-profit organization National Committee on U.S.-China Relations (NCUSCR), Ma reiterated how the Taiwan Strait could affect global peace, and urged Taiwan's leaders to follow the "1992 consensus," according to a statement released by Ma's office.

According to Ma's Kuomintang (KMT), the "1992 consensus," reached in 1992 between Taipei and Beijing when a KMT administration was in power, refers to a tacit understanding that both sides recognize there is only "one China," with each having its own interpretation of what China means.

Taiwan's current ruling Democratic Progressive Party does not accept the "1992 consensus," arguing that it implies Taiwan is part of China, something the party does not accept.

Also during the talk, Ma said that the United States should not encourage Taiwan's leaders to move toward independence, or even make Taiwan a second Ukraine, and should help facilitate peaceful cross-strait dialogue.

The former president added that he would spend the rest of his life promoting cross-strait peace, and keep on encouraging young people from both sides to communicate because "young people are the future of cross-strait relations."

Stephen A. Orlins, president of the NCUSCR, said during the eight years Ma was in power, cross-strait relations remained stable and peaceful, and the U.S. should consider Ma's advice.

Asked about his thoughts on Taiwan extending compulsory military service, Ma said it was not the best way to solve cross-strait issues by military force, adding that peace remains the only option.

Ma said all sides should work together to maintain cross-strait peace and gradually resolve the Taiwan Strait crisis.

Meanwhile, in response to whether the U.S. should stick to "strategic ambiguity" or switch to "strategic clarity," Ma said the U.S. should retain "strategic ambiguity" and help sustain cross-strait dialogue, which would be beneficial to the U.S., China and Taiwan.

The former president is currently leading a group of university students on a visit to the U.S., with highlights of his itinerary also including a speech at New York University and dialogues with scholars at the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., according to Ma's office.

(By Liu Kuan-ting and Evelyn Yang)

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