TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Former President Ma Ying-jeou recently drew backlash over proclaiming a "New Three Noes" policy - not against unification, no independence, and no use of force - and Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) spokesperson afterwards stressed that the future of Taiwan should be decided by people, and can't be determined by political trade-offs.
The controversial statement was presented at a seminar on Wednesday hosted by Ma's own cultural foundation to mark the third anniversary of the Ma-Xi Meeting in 2015. In the seminar, Ma emphasized the importance of the contentious "1992 Consensus," and claimed that the option of maintaining a peaceful status quo under the principle of "not against unification, no independence, and no use of force" would serve the best interest of Taiwan.
Ma first coined the term "Three Noes" - no unification, no independence, and no use of force - to outline his planned approach on cross-strait relations in 2008. However, his recent statement is a reversal of his former position with regards to the unification issue.
The MAC spokesperson Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said in a latest press briefing Thursday that the council had no comment on Ma's statement, but emphasized that the future of the country should be determined by its 23 million people, instead of making concessions to China as a political trade-off.
"The government of Taiwan will never succumb to political pressure," added Chiu.
Chiu also indicated that majority of the council's poll respondents disagree with the One China principle advocated by Beijing, and 80 percent of respondents support maintaining a status quo.
The contentious "New Three Noes" policy has quickly sparked criticism across the country, with six of Kuomintang (KMT) mayoral candidates shying away from comments and saying it's not a good time to talk about the independence/ unification issue. KMT Taipei City mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung said the issue of unification will never be seriously considered in absence of freedom, democracy, equality, and the rules of law that support them.