Premier Su won't sign independence referendum as 'Taiwan is already independent'

Su Tseng-chang made the statement during a Legislative Yuan question time Tuesday

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Premier Su Tseng-chang

Premier Su Tseng-chang (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said Tuesday during a Legislative Yuan question time that he would not sign a public referendum on Taiwan’s independence, because "Taiwan is already independent."

According to CNA, Su said Taiwan is already a country, and that his responsibility is “to work for the prosperity of the country and the happiness of the people, and protect [Taiwan’s] sovereignty.”

The Formosa Alliance, a pan-Green political coalition established in 2018, is urging the public to demand the government to hold an independence referendum in April this year, and apply for United Nations membership.

During Tuesday’s legislative session, Kuomintang legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) watched closely discussions on a high priority amendment bill that would subject peace agreements between Taiwan and China to a national referendum prior to ratification.

The amendment came with a push from the DPP following KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) saying his party could sign a peace treaty with Beijing if a KMT president is elected in 2020.

Ko said previous KMT party chairs who have discussed potential peace accords have always done so under Taiwan’s constitutional framework, legislative supervision and with the support of the public. “Is there any need for a referendum?” she questioned, stating that negotiating a peace agreement by the means used previously would be neither a betrayal of the country nor the people.

Mainland Affairs Committee Chairman Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) remarked that what has happened in the past should not determine future government action, and stressed, “We are just trying to build a system and seek the highest level of consensus from society.”

Ko then said she hopes people are not misled into believing the KMT intends to betray Taiwan: “That has absolutely never been the party’s intention.”

“When Ma Ying-jeou ran for president in 2012 he also said any peace agreement would first necessitate a public referendum,” Su later commented.

Ko said she believes the presidency and Executive Yuan were avoiding talks about the Formosa Alliance’s independence referendum, and did not want to make a direct statement. She asked if Su directly if he would sign the referendum, to which he replied, “No.”

In addition, KMT legislator Chen Yin-min (陳宜民) said during the question time that former premier William Lai claimed to be a pragmatic worker for Taiwan independence. He questioned Su’s dedication to the matter, to which he replied that Taiwan is already independent, and it is his job to protect its sovereignty.