Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

An editorial in the Taiwan News today which explains why there's cause for concern over KMT chairperson, Lien Chan's recent visit to China:

Hu-Lien deal hurts Taiwan's interests
Editorial, page 7
Staff Reporter
Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Clearly in need of a "win-win" accord to justify his visit to the People's Republic of China, Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan entered into a "five-point" consensus Friday with PRC State Chairman and ruling Chinese Commuinst Party General Secretary Hu Jintao which was thinly disguised as a "joint press communique."

Lien, a two-time loser in Taiwan's presidential elections in March 2000 and March 2004, is trying to maintain control over the KMT, while Hu is trying to deflect international pressure over the PRC's strategic error of enacting a belligerent "anti-separation law" directed against Taiwan in mid-March.

Under the rubric of "Common Aspirations for Peaceful Cross-strait Development," the KMT and CCP heads declared that their parties would uphold the "Consensus of 1992," oppose Taiwan independence, seek peace and stability across the Strait, promote interchange as well as protect the interests of the people on the two sides.

Hu praised the achievement as a sign that "Chinese on both sides of the strait have the capability and wisdom to solve mutual contradictions and problems and strive in common for the vision of peace and stable development of cross-strait relations and commonly create a great revival of the ethnic Chinese nation."

But the content of the communique, especially the agreement by the two party leaders to promote "five tasks," completely belies the claim that the revived KMT-CCP cooperation will actually lead to a feasible "vision" of peaceful and stable cross-strait relations, leaving aside the racialist appeal for a "revival" of an ethnic Chinese nation.

In brief, the stipulation that future cross-strait talks should be held "on the foundation of the 'Consensus of 1992,'" which contains the "one-China" principle constitutes an agreement by the KMT with the PRC's imposition of a precondition that the Taiwan government must first agree that Taiwan is part of "China" before talks can begin.

PRC officials yesterday reaffirmed Beijing's insistence that President Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party administration must accept "the 'Consensus of 1992' which manifests the one-China principle" before talks between the two sides can resume.

President Chen Shui-bian has said that talks can take place under the "spirit" of the October 1992 talks in Hong Kong between representatives of Taipei's semi-official Strait Exchange Foundation and Beijing's counterpart Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.

There is a decisive difference between citing this "spirit," which is seen by Chen as agreeing to disagree and setting aside the seemingly intractable issue of sovereignty in order to allow talks on "pragmatic" problems in the cross-strait relationship, and the historical issue of whether the two sides reached an actual "consensus" that "manifested" agreement by both sides that Taiwan was part of China, even if one accepts the KMT claim that the consensus could be characterized by the slogan "one China, separate verbal expressions."

Citing testimony from the late SEF Chairman C. F. Koo and SEF negotiators, Chen has denied that any such "consensus" was reached. Moreover, the president has repeatedly stated that "one China" can be a "topic" in cross-strait talks but absolutely cannot be a "precondition" to renew talks. Accepting such a precondition would be tantamount to denying the existence of the Republic of China on Taiwan as a sovereign state and negating the democratic principle that the sovereignty of Taiwan belongs to the 23 million Taiwan people.

Obviously, there could be no "parity" in talks held under such conditions.

In contrast to this anti-democratic demand of prior acceptance of the "one China" principle, President Chen, in his speech yesterday to the Marshall Islands Nitijela (parliament), stated that official cross-strait contacts or negotiations can begin at any time so long as they take place "under the principles of democracy, peace and parity."

Second, the proposal for the promotion of a "formal ending of the cross-strait state of hostilities" and reaching a peace accord, including the establishment of military mutual confidence building mechanisms would exclude the United States and Japan from having justifiable security concerns in the Taiwan Strait and negate any rationale for U.S. intervention to ensure the security of Taiwan from PRC attacks.

Third, the proposal to tighten economic and trade ties between the two sides under current conditions will make Taiwan even more dependent on the Chinese economic system and would place Taiwan in a disadvantage in discussions with Beijing on trade and economic issues in a "domestic" framework instead of the equal status enjoyed under the multilateral World Trade Organization platform. As can be seen in the case of Hong Kong, the result will only be the subordination of Taiwan's economic development interests to Beijing.

The fourth point includes an "offer" by Beijing to negotiate Taiwan's participation in the "activities of the World Health Organization" after cross-strait consultations are "resumed," naturally under the condition of acceptance of the "Consensus of 1992."

Agreeing to negotiate Taiwan's international space with Beijing would render Taiwan's participation in the WHO's "activities" (not even the WHO itself) and other international organizations a "domestic" matter to be decided by Beijing, thus negating Taiwan's sovereign and independent status and the right of its people to participate in the international community.

Fifth, the establishment of party-to-party communications aims to marginalize the DPP and since the CCP has imposed acceptance of the "one-China principle" and the "Consensus of 1992" as preconditions for party-to-party, which the DPP, unlike the KMT, is unwilling to accept.

It should also be noted that the formalization of channels for KMT-CCP "dialogue" establishes a direct channel for the CCP to attempt to influence Taiwan's domestic affairs through the KMT's position as the Legislative Yuan's largest opposition party.

To respond to the formation of a KMT-CCP alliance and this "five-point consensus," the DPP government has to take counter measures, including demanding that Beijing agree to negotiate directly as the PRC with Taiwan's Republic of China government, dismantle the over 700 tactical missiles aimed at Taiwan among the southern Chinese coast as evidence of good will to end cross-strait hostilities, cease opposition to Taiwan's participation in the WHO and other international organizations and require strictly that party-to-party contacts be monitored and regulated by Taiwan's law.

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