No war in Taiwan Strait in next four years: president
ROC Central News Agency
By Y.F. Low
Taipei, Oct. 21 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou reassured the nation Tuesday of his strong commitment to preserving peace across the Taiwan Strait during his term, even as he pledged to beef up the country's defenses against mainland China's military threats.
"There will be no war between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait in the next four years. I put forth this vision during my presidential campaign and am more confident about it now," Ma said in an address to a group of top military leaders at National Defense University in Taoyuan County.
Ma, however, stressed that Taiwan must maintain a strong defense even if the country has no desire to go to war with the mainland.
He noted that developments taking place across the strait over the past several decades, such as the removal of a ban on China visits by Taiwanese, the inflows of Taiwanese investment into China, and the economic boom in China, have led to a structural change in relations between the two sides, while China's rapid military buildup and modernization has also posed a serious threat to Taiwan's security.
According to Ma, to Taiwan, China is both an opportunity and a threat. As the president, it is his responsibility to maximize the opportunity and minimize the threat, he said.
"And the military's responsibility is to deter any risky actions across the strait through strong preparedness," Ma said.
Renewing his promise to maintain Taiwan's status quo under the framework of the Republic of China Constitution, Ma said his administration is working toward that goal by following the strategy of "no unification, no independence and no use of force" to try to create a peaceful cross-strait environment.
The president said the work of the military is to protect the ROC Constitution, safeguard the ROC sovereignty and maintain the dignity and peaceful life of the country's 23 million people. In order to preserve cross-strait and regional peace, Taiwan needs to maintain a strong defense capability, he added.
Citing the famous quote "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate" by the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Ma argued that the stronger Taiwan becomes the more leverage it will enjoy in cross-strait negotiations, because maintaining a military balance is necessary to achieve peace.
The president pledged that to attain that goal, his administration will earmark sufficient funds over the next few years to meet the country's defense needs.
Ma has put forth a "modus vivendi" approach for dealing with China, which advocates a cross-strait "truce" in the diplomatic arena and the opening of cross-strait negotiations for the establishment of a peace accord.
Ma, however, has requested that China remove its more than 1,000 missiles targeting Taiwan as the precondition to such peace talks.
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