Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Beijing to respect the median line of the Taiwan Strait by immediately stopping its military intimidation of Taiwan, as such actions would only hurt the feelings of Taiwanese.
Beijing should immediately stop making military provocations against Taiwan, Ma wrote on Facebook after Chinese warplanes in the past week have made numerous forays across the median line that divides the Taiwan Strait.
Although it has never officially acknowledged the median line, Beijing used to respect it, Ma said in response to comments on Monday by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌), who said that the line does not exist, because “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.”
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
Ma cited the M503 commercial flight route that China implemented on Jan. 12, 2015, saying that it moved the path 6 nautical miles (11km) to the west after it prompted concern in Taiwan that it was too close to the nation’s airspace.
As part of the cross-strait “consensus” at the time, Beijing suspended another three east-west routes, as they ran the risk of interfering with services between Taiwan proper and Kinmen and Matsu, Ma said.
Beijing respected the median line and the feelings of Taiwanese, showing mutual trust and goodwill with the adjustments it made, he said.
Taiwan is now caught up in a US-China competition and the cross-strait tensions are a concern, Ma said, adding that as neither side wants war, it is important to exercise self-discipline and avoid provocative behavior.
Although Chinese state-owned media have said that the median line is a “psychological” construct that Beijing never recognized, crossing it would only drive the people on the both sides further apart, he said.
Respect for the median line is the most basic element for cross-strait peace, he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that China’s frequent military intimidation and remarks lately have generated only animosity among Taiwanese.
“China does not need to be this busy and should just focus on taking good care of its people and maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait,” Su said.
“In this manner, it would win more favor from Taiwanese,” he said.
Taiwan strives to preserve not only its own land, country and sovereignty, but also hopes to contribute to the world, he said.
“How nice it would be were the Chinese government to adopt the same mindset,” Su said.
In response to Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu’s (吳釗燮) remarks that Taiwan is not presently seeking formal ties with the US, but would continue to deepen bilateral cooperation in economy, trade, politics and security relations, Su said that Taiwan is willing to befriend countries that share the same fundamental values of freedom, democracy and human rights.
Taiwan-US relations are an important issue and the US has the capabilities to support Taiwan in the international arena, he said.
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