Former government advisers pushing for Nobel Prize for Ma, Xi

A group of former national policy advisers in Taiwan said Friday that they plan to lobby lawmakers and local universities to nominate former President Ma Ying-jeou (???) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (???) for the Nobel Peace Prize.

A historic meeting between Ma and Xi last November in Singapore was the highlight of their efforts to create peaceful cross-strait exchanges, and also gave greater international visibility to the Republic of China, said Liu Shen-liang (???), head of an association of former national policy advisors.

The Singapore meeting marked the first time that the top political leaders from both sides of the Taiwan Strait came face to face since 1949, when the Republic of China government retreated to Taiwan after losing the Chinese civil war to the communists.

Ma's contribution to cross-Taiwan strait peace should be made known to people around the world, Liu said at a news conference.

Lin Shui-chi (???), deputy head of the association, said he and other members had called on Ma recently and talked about their plan to seek the Nobel Prize nomination.

In view of the fact that it required effort on both sides to achieve peaceful cross-strait exchanges, the association will push for both Ma and Xi to be nominated, Lin said.

The association said it plans to make the submission by the end of October, presumably for consideration for next year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Commenting on the issue, Ma's office said the move was "inappropriate," but it did not elaborate.

Ma is grateful to the former national policy advisors for their contribution during his time as president but he hopes they will respect his opinion on the issue of the Nobel nomination, the office said.

The office confirmed that Liu and Lin had paid a call on Ma after he stepped down as president on May 20, and had talked about their plan to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

At the time, Ma thanked them but said it was inappropriate and he discouraged them from making such a move, the office said.

It said Ma was not aware that the association was going to hold a press conference on the issue Friday.

Liu and Lin both served as national policy advisors to the president during the Ma administration (2008-2016).

The Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for selecting the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize may be submitted by any eligible person.

According to the Nobel Foundation, a valid nomination must be submitted by a person who falls within one of the following categories: members of national assemblies and governments of states; members of international courts; university rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes; Nobel Peace laureates; and board members of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee and former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee are also eligible to submit a nomination.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee usually accepts submissions from September to February next year.

A record high 376 candidates -- 228 individuals and 148 organizations -- are competing for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. The winner will be announced in October and the award ceremony will be held in December.

Source: Focus Taiwan